Monday, February 1, 2016

Auntie Julie's Silent Suffering

     Please read my relevant letter published at the following link:  It's a letter to my Auntie Julie that mentions our missing her at her eldest sister's (my Auntie Bea's) funeral and my well wishes for her speedy recovery from a hip injury and other ailments.
     My main purpose for writing was the same as my final visit to Maui Grandpa (my Dad's dad) just before he succumbed to stomach cancer: to say Thank you and Goodbye. I'm not certain about Auntie Julie's health—just what I've been told—but she's obviously and justifiably been suffering since the recent death of her beloved husband (my Uncle Tani). Not accepting visitors or phone calls (or letters, I assume) from anyone and not attending her sister's funeral (all the Aunties are close) were highly unexpected for such a social, lively lady and because she was utterly charming, warm, and gracious as usual at Uncle Tani's funeral. When I later learned of her “I just want to join him” comment and her weight loss (she was already slight of build), it concerned me even more so that I eventually felt compelled to do something...just in case.
     So after my letter's publication (some stuff got edited out), I sent a copy of the published and original versions to her eldest son and wife (and kids) for them to decide whether or not to share either or both with her. I suspect they will offer them but that she'll decline. Which is okay. At least I tried while still respecting her wishes. I also know in my heart that she knows my thoughts and feelings toward her, so full of love and appreciation.
     It's been tough seeing elders from “The Greatest Generation” go. That's an apt description as they really were and are great, such that I doubt we'll measure up (ours will probably be referred to as The Good Enough or Okay or So-so Generation by comparison). And I really don't want to see her go. And I'd love to see and visit her, preferably with my family, but alone if necessary, to try to comfort her and make her smile and feel glad to be alive and to hear her voice and stories or whatever she desires. I miss such talking and socializing with her and my other elders, we so rarely get together these days except for sad occasions.
     I've found this to be one of the most difficult trials of aging—seeing my elders suffer, deteriorate, and go. It's true what they say about honoring and enjoying them while they are still hale and present. Though most were in their eighties when they went, it still seemed far too soon.

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