Sunday, September 7, 2014

A Sad Call From Mom Has Me Thinking About Aunt Mike

On Thursday my cousin Kurt, aka Freddy, emailed me because he'd lost my mom and dad's phone number. Kurt told me his mom, my Aunt Mike, my mom's little sister, was in the final stages of Alzheimer's, systems failing.

I emailed Kurt back with mom and dad's phone numbers and called mom.

And now, only a few days later mom just called me to tell me that Kurt had called while they were out and left a voice mail with the news that Aunt Mike had died.

The last time I saw Aunt Mike was August 11, 2001, at my mom and dad's 50th wedding anniversary party. No one but two of my nephews knew I was driving myself solo back to Washington for the party. This seems so recent, but it was over 13 years ago.

I knew I took pictures at the anniversary party. I did not remember if I took a picture of Aunt Mike. I also did not remember that I'd made a webpage of the pictures I took that day. There was only one picture in which Aunt Mike sort of showed up. Above, that is Aunt Mike sitting on the couch. As you can see Aunt Mike was a blonde.

I was sort of shocked a few years back when mom called to tell me they'd had a relative visit who had stopped to see Aunt Mike at her home location in Bend, Oregon, to be surprised to learn Aunt Mike was in an assisted care type place due to Alzheimer's.

Aunt Mike was always in good shape. She ran marathons. At mom and dad's 50th Aunt Mike was firing on all cylinders and was as amusing as she'd always been. I recollect Aunt Mike asking me about the move to Texas. I recollect saying the thing I found that I liked the best was the buffer from relatives. Aunt Mike laughed and said something like why do you think I lived all those years up in Alaska?

After learning Aunt Mike had Alzheimer's mom tasked me with getting in contact with cousin Kurt. On the way up to Washington the summer of 2013 mom and dad visited Aunt Mike in Bend. Aunt Mike did not recognize them.

It was just a couple months ago I got a text message from mom and dad telling me mom's oldest brother had died. A short while after that I called mom to ask if anyone had sent her Uncle Willard's obituary. No one had. I asked mom if she wanted me to read it to her. She did.

Reading Uncle Willard's obituary to my mom was one of those scenarios one could not have imagined 25 years ago. As in, 25 years ago the idea that 25 years hence I'd be living in Texas, walking distance from Lee Harvey Oswald's grave site, using this thing called the Internet to read Uncle Willard's obituary to my mom in Arizona, well, nothing about that scenario would have made any sense 25 years ago.

Looking at the pictures I took at mom and dad's 50th I was a bit surprised how many of those in the pictures are no longer with us. My mom's mom, Grandma Vera, my dad's brother, Uncle Mel, Aunt Mike, Glen & Katie. All gone.


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