Wednesday, January 13, 2016

A Letter

A somewhat unusual event occurred yesterday.

I got a letter in the mail--a handwritten letter.

I still get handwritten notes from time to time, even the occasional letter from a particular friend who does not own a computer, tablet, cell phone. (Can you imagine? Perhaps I should have said peculiar friend.)  I suppose that is all quite telling about my age.  This letter was from a younger cousin, though.

His mom, my aunt, is the last of my known extended family's "parental generation."  It also is alarmingly telling of my age that now I am being too often informed of the death or serious illness of someone who is part of my generation. This is requiring a bit of adjustment on my part.  The letter was not about his mom who is 91 years old.  It was about his older sister, the cousin I was closest to growing up.

My cousin was exactly a year older than I, but in the early dementia mind of my own mother, Mom was convinced that J. was my daughter.  That speaks to a link between us that somehow survived, however faultily, as my mom's neural connections unraveled.

My cousin is completely deaf from birth.  There were other organ anomalies only hinted at amongst the adults, never shared with "the kids."  Still, my cousin was well supported by her family.  She was able to get an education, hold down a job, live independently until neuropathy limited her mobility several years ago.  The decline has progressed.  She will be going into a nursing home and the outlook is not good.

I am so very saddened by this news.  And my cousin who wrote to me, being the one who lives nearby, bears a huge burden.  My heart is wrenched.

13 comments:

  1. That is so sad. I hope she is comfortable in her new home.

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  2. I think these things wrench our hearts more these days because we think of how we'd feel if it were us, therefore more empathy for the person involved. We also don't enjoy being reminded these kind of situations still happen. We spend so much of our time working to remain healthy it is a painful reminder that in spite of our best efforts sometimes bad things happen.

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  3. It sounds like your cousin is doing okay all things considered. But it's sad to think that the older we get, the more we lose, so it's important we hang onto the good things.

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  4. I know somewhat how you feel. My sister-in-law just had to put her husband in a nursing home because his alzheimer's progressed too far for her to continue caring for him at home. They are both younger than Bob and I. Also, the cost for long-term care is extremely prohibitive. Life as we know it can change in an instant.

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  5. This is the very hardest part of aging I think. The inevitability of having to say goodbye more often than we dare handle.

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  6. I can barely begin to imagine how you feel. My cousins are dear to me. We have lost one of us one of the youngest of us. So far none have needed nursing care but it's bound to be close. Blessings to you and your dear cousin

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  7. I can barely begin to imagine how you feel. My cousins are dear to me. We have lost one of us one of the youngest of us. So far none have needed nursing care but it's bound to be close. Blessings to you and your dear cousin

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  8. I hope your cousin's health improves, and if that is not to be, her quality of life is maintained as long as possible.

    Sorry, too, for the pain I know you must be feeling.

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  9. And so it begins for those of us who are now the oldest generation in our families. Like Linda above said, we struggle to stay healthy, knowing that it is just a matter of time before we or someone we love succombs to the ravages of time.
    I'm sorry for the pain this is bringing to you and your family.

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  10. The jetter that bears sad news. Really I am sorry and sense you are saddened.
    Lately I seem very much occupied with worries about Buddy's future.

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  11. Linda R makes a good point. With out realizing it, we have become the older members of our family. I feel so sad for your cousin but also for you and her family members who only want her to be well and happy. Watching decline and being unable to stop it just hurts so bad.

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  12. Every birthday we get closer to the end. I wonder about those people who I used to hear about that died in their sleep. I am hoping for that. LOL I know but it's like the lottery. Someone gets the right number.

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  13. I am so sorry for your pain. My Aunt Phyllis who is now 94 is the only one who "writes" to me and I cherish those letters. I also worry every time the phone rings and it is her son. I don't want those letters to ever stop.

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