Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Road trip!

This past weekend my mom was on a complete warpath trying to start too many projects at once, get too many things done and nothing was really getting accomplished.  She was in a completely foul mood and being a total tyrant.  It was not a happy Saturday.  The only bright spot was that my sister brought my youngest nephew over for a visit.  That kid is a pistol!  He's making my sister very gray and I'm loving watching it happen!  After his visit my mom was right back on the crazy train.  This happens periodically.  We all try to cope the best we can and hope like hell she fizzles out soon.  My mom has never ever been able to control her temper.  It doesn't help when my dad gets pissed and pokes the bear.  Really dude?  Not the smartest move.  So that is kind of how Saturday played out.  As a result I didn't look at my phone at all.  I had actually silenced it since there's no point in trying to converse with anyone when there is a completely crazy woman screaming like a banshee.  Late afternoon my mom's cell phone rang and she decided to ignore it since in her mind no one calls it without calling the house first unless it's a volunteer group she works with.  She often forgets that is the first number my sister tries as well as family in Chicago.  She didn't check her phone.  An hour or so later I was in the basement switching laundry and frankly taking my own sweet time since it was quiet.  I grabbed my cell with the idea of playing a few rounds of Trivia Crack.  I see there's a missed call and it's from one of my Aunts.  My Aunt doesn't call me often.  If she wants to talk she'll text or facebook messenger me to call her when I have time.  All of a sudden I remember the phone call my mom blew off earlier and get a sinking feeling.  I came up from the basement (no trivia crack for me dammit!) and tell my mom that my Aunt called and that she needs to check her cell.  Sure enough my Aunt had called her too.  So there my dad and I sit waiting to see what is going  on as my mom calls my Aunt back. Now my dad comes from a very big family.  He's the oldest of 6 kids, 5 of whom are still alive, I'm the oldest of my grandmother's 16 grandchildren, there are 6 great grands at this point and my grandmother was one of 5 and my dad has a slew of cousins.  We're able to tell from the questions my mom is asking that it is about one of my great Aunts in a nursing home.  The report was that my Great Aunt Celia whom I was very close to before her dementia set in has leukemia.  Some of the Doctors are saying she has a couple of weeks to a month or so.  The hospice nurse on the other hand thought it is more likely a matter of days.  Wtf!  How does someone have leukemia so advanced that they might just have a few days to live without knowing it before that?  Without missing a beat I look at my mom and ask when we're going to Chicago to see Aunt Celia.  Now my dad doesn't deal with stuff like this well and he started getting funky.  My mom and I decided that we'd drive up with Princess Bear (PB) the next day.  My mom wouldn't have to take any time off of work and PB wouldn't miss school or I wouldn't have to find someone to watch her after school if just my mom and I went.  We did call my sister to let her know.  Both my sister and I lived with Aunt Celia at different points in time.  Me when I first moved to the Chicago area before my apartment was ready to move into.  My sister before she was leaving Chicago to return to Peoria after her lease was done but before her contract was up.  Coming from a big Catholic family it was quite scandalous that I was unmarried and remain so after having PB.  Aunt Celia was the driving force in getting the family in line.  I found out this weekend that she was very pregnant with her first daughter before she got married.  She knew what I needed and didn't need from the family and shit and guilt were on the don't need list.  My dad did get himself together enough to join us as did my sister.

Now the actual trip up there was enough to make me want to get out of the car and call any one of my aunts to come pick me up.  My sister had entered the nursing home address incorrectly in her GPS system.  Thank G-d for Audible!  My sister does not have the ability to gracefully deal with changes in plans.  As it turned out we only wound up losing 40 minutes of travel time.  Not bad all things considered.  Didn't matter my sister turned into the worse bitchy version of herself and I wanted to throat punch her.  She was being awful to my parents (thought that was my job....per them!) as if they had something to do with her entering the info incorrectly.   I could discuss the trip home but frankly I don't want to relive it!  My mom did let me know as soon as we got home that we were driving her car when we have to go in next month for a baby shower.  She didn't want to deal with my sister, her GPS or schedule.  Sounds good to me!

When we did get to the nursing home my dad's cousin was there with Aunt Celia.  Turns out that Aunt Celia had told another one of my dad's cousins that had come in from Wisconsin that we'd already been there and left.  So my dad was bummed about missing a cousin he doesn't get to see often.  My great Aunt was pretty out of it and very tired.  We went to a visiting room/ rec room to visit.  It was pretty empty.  Only a few other residents.  As soon as we all got settled at a table my great Aunt started taking off.  She's in a wheelchair but can use her feet to navigate pretty damn well.  Actually they have a little tracking bracelet on her ankle.  Turns out that Aunt Celia goes roaming with great regularity!  For most of the visit she seemed very out of it and almost like she was sleeping but every once in awhile she'd have the amazing moments of clarity.  Her daughter said it was much more than she'd had in months.   When PB started talking to her about our gardening plans for this summer Aunt Cel perked right up and started asking what we were planting and telling us about her garden.  In her last home within a mile or so of O'Hare she still maintained a garden until a few summers ago.  She used to grow the best tasting green beans!  It was hard seeing Aunt Cel in such a state.  She was such a smart, funny lady and to see her like this was sad.

We wound up staying for almost 2 hours.  It was so wonderful when she had the moments she was really with it.  It was also nice for PB to spend some time with an older family member and hear the rest of us sharing family stories.  With all of my dad's family being in the Chicago land area she doesn't have that very often.  Since my side of the family is all she'll ever know I'm always thankful when we get the chance for a good visit.  It's also always interesting to hear old family stories.  My grandmother turned down my grandfather's marriage proposal twice before she finally said yes.  She figured that he probably wasn't going to ask again so she better say yes if she wanted to start a family.  My grandmother told me that story several times.  It came up the other day and my sister had no idea.  Like I said I'd never heard that Aunt Celia was pregnant when she got married.   This would have been in the late 40's.  Very scandalous back then to be sure!  They lied to their oldest about their wedding date for years!  I'm just glad that we got to visit and share a few laughs.  It's always nice to have memories like that to hold on to.

 photo Aunt Celia_zpsfu9pevit.jpg

No comments: