Sunday, September 27, 2009

No Photographs Please

Recently I found out that my Uncle had a stroke and had fallen breaking his hip. After that he came down with pneumonia. Very sick in ICU they apparently moved him to a regular room so that the family could spend time with him as he wouldn't be with them much longer. Well that tough guy I remembered went to that regular room and improved enough to have the hip surgery. So we drove to Jackson this weekend so that I could spend a little time with him and let him know I love him. I brought my camera - no shock there- and gave Todd instructions to take lots of pictures. I told him not to worry what they looked like but just to take a lot and that I could edit them later. We found the hospital no problem. Finding the room was another story. We went in one part and went up to the 4th floor but it was all doctors offices, no hospital rooms. So we went over to another part of the hospital and there was no fourth floor. So we drove around to another part but no four floors over there either. So we went back to the entrance and got on the phone at the reception desk (where there was no receptionist) and asked directions. Apparently we had been in the right place in the beginning but had taken the wrong elevator. Once we found the right elevator we got to the right place. We walked in the door and to my surprise my Aunt Sara was there on the couch. I didn't expect that, because she has alzheimers and I expected that she would be in the assisted living place where they live. But to my delight she was sitting there with my Uncle J. My sweet Uncle J looked so different than I have ever seen him before. He looked so very old. He is 88 years old. (I think) As soon as I laid eyes on him, I put down my camera. (Shock, gasp) I put it beside the table and there it sat. I have too many good memories of my Uncle J and I did not want to photograph him like this. I want my memories of him to be of a happier healthier time. So the camera stayed in the black case by the table. I was so glad we went to see them. What I saw made me think of a line in my favorite movie. "Little Women". When Jo comes home because her sister Beth is sick. As she is walking up to the house she asks Meg, how Beth is doing, and Meg answers "You will find her much altered." Yes well, I found my Uncle J much altered. I am thankful though that we were able to have a conversation and talk about a few memories. We talked of the summers I spent with them when I was a kid. Those are good memories. He is the closest thing I ever had to a Granpa, I guess that is how I feel about him. We didnt stay too long so that we wouldnt tire him out too bad. I hope we get to go back and see him improved. I was really glad that my Aunt Sara was there and was having a good day. She seemed to know me. If she didnt she did a really good job of covering it up. She looked as good as ever. Funny, for some reason I thought she would be the one I would find much altered. But she was sitting there smiling and pretty as a picture. Uncle J said they had switched places. He had been taking care of her and now here she was caring for him. Thats a sweet story of a couple that have been married for what Uncle J told me was 69 years! When I asked how many, Aunt Sara said "Good Lord, I dont know." Uncle J claims the 69 years. I dont know for sure, but it could be. 88-69=19 It's possible. I think it may be a little less though but even so, thats a lot of years to still be sitting there with one another. I asked Todd if he thought we would be married for 69 years. He smiled and shrugged his shoulders. I dont know either but if so, I know that we will be beside one another right to the end, one taking care of the other, maybe taking turns like Uncle J and Aunt Sara.


Rachel said...

How beautiful.

Aging is so bittersweet when the challenges are hard... but it makes it beautiful to have someone you love beside you.

Thanks for sharing such a heartfelt post.

The Glenn Gang said...

You must have been at UMC. That place is so confusing!

What a sweet story of faithfulness and committment!

Penny said...

Awww. Alzheimer's is so hard on the family. I remember that from working at The Terrace. Sweet story. I'm glad you went.

Avery's Mommy said...

Glad you got to see them both. That was a sweet post. Wow, can you imagine being married so long you can't remember how long? That is so sweet!

brtty stella said...

You will be glad you didn't take pictures. I don't like even seeing the ones of mother at the end. Don't look like her and makes me sad!!

Theresa Lamb; Philip Lamb said...

Thanks for going and for posting this story. Most of the vacations I remember as a kid were at Uncle J and Aunt Sarah's. She has looked the same always - I never understood how she never seemed to age. Hope Uncle J continues to improve and Sarah can enjoy him as long as possible.
Love to you.