2002-10-29 11:16:51 (UTC)

A Visit and Thinking Ahead

John and I went to see Aunt Janet and John's cousins this
afternoon. First we went to John's parents' house (we know
which retirement home Aunt Janet is in but not the
apartment number) and spent about an hour there. Then they
said we could follow them in but they had to stop to
pick up water for a water test first. When they finished
with the water test they told us the room number and to go
on ahead because they wanted to drop the sample off first.
This whole episode took more two hours. Frustrating.

We did get to visit with Aunt Janet and the cousins but
with everyone trying to move her in it was too hectic and
crowded with all the boxes. John and I are both concerned
that his mother and sister are only seeing what they want
to see about Aunt Janet and are getting a little pushy
about it. They were told by others that she "was losing
it" but John and I don't see what they're claiming
to see. The woman is 82 years old, she's packed all her
stuff, stayed with relatives she hasn't seen in years in
Chicago, flew across the country with two neices in tow and
is now trying to get settled into a new life.

She's a single woman, very independent and used to being
alone. The confusion and frustration would be hard for me
to put up with and I'm 30 years younger. Yet even though
she was obviously exhausted (and who wouldn't be after all
that?) there was no outward indication of stress. She was
quite calm, serene in fact. The one who appeared agitated
in fact, was my mother-in-law!

Still, I keep hearing that Aunt Janet is losing it. John's
sister said that her driving was erratic when they'd seen
her six years ago but when we saw her four years ago her
driving was just fine.I don't think Nancy, who's lived in a
small town her entire life, knows what it's like to drive
in a very large metropolitan area. Aunt Janet was an
assertive but not aggressive driver, confident and
sure about where she wanted to go and how to go there.
True, I haven't seen her drive since then but she has been
driving in the Washington, D.C./Beltway area for years and
she's never had a ticket or accident so I think she's doing
darn good. I am concerned about John's sister and
mother being on a campaign to have her give up her driver's
license. I told John I thought they were being over-
protective. He said he thought they were being intrusive.

I've also heard about how Aunt Janet forgets things and
repeats herself but again, I haven't seen that. On the
other hand, we have seen that with my MIL and FIL. They'll
repeat the same story to us four or five times in the space
of an hour, seemingly forgetting they've told us the first
time. The difference is that we don't point it out to them.
The thinking ahead has to do with Christmas gifts. We
exchange gifts in our immediate family but the only other
family member we gift is John's parents. (My family no
longer exchanges gifts and John's sister and her family has
as well.) John found an old and fancy sad iron for his
parents and I have an embroidered towel showing bees
ironing which we'll give them. Now, of course, we
need to add Aunt Janet and finding an appropriate gift for
an 82-year old could be difficult. John had the idea of
giving her a beautiful and bright umbrella (the harder to
lose it or forget it plus it can cheer one up) with a
note "Welcome to Oregon!" That's one good idea. I'll try
to come up with others.