“Aunt” Frances…101

“Aunt” Frances is 101 today.  A beautiful Spring day as lovely as she is.  I was at her place on Tuesday and the minute I got into the door, she said, “the light in my hallway is out…you need to replace it!”  And with that, she grabs her walker to get a lightbulb from another lamp(60 w) and tells me where the step stool is.

She presently lives in a trailer home with her cat(she lived all her life in the family farm).  It is complete with her bedroom at the one end, bathroom next to it, hallway(the unlit one) with washer and dryer plus cat’s litter box.  Then comes her kitchen and living room area…which has a small kitchen table, her living room area has sofa, tv, coffee table, chair…the outside door is here as well(talk about the blast of cold air in the winter hitting you when the door opens!), and lastly, a small room she uses as her storage of sorts…her sewing machine, ironing board, keyboard, books, fabric and yarn.  She has a small out building for her items of storage as well.

This past winter was difficult for her…of her 3 offspring, two had gone down to Florida…one from October to April, the other permanently.  They offered for her to move down with them, which she refused, then they told her she would have to go to a nursing home.  She refused with that as well.  The only thing she would go along with was to get one of those systems that if you need help, they automatically know.  The one son who moved down there permanently originally lived just two streets away from her and was the one she really depended on.  The one who is still up here, takes her grocery shopping every Thursday and to occasional doctor visits.  Church friends take her to church as well as to other needs.

She was hospitalized twice this winter which weakened her a bit so that she now uses a walker.  She was agitated that she had to give up her several area rugs and that her cat likes to be underfoot when she is walking.

She was waiting for her physical therapist to arrive “between 10-12″…so I was there by 9 and worked on the livingroom area first.  She dozed off at that point so I was able to work on the kitchen and wash her dishes.  The trailer park had major water issues this past winter(all of the underground pipes froze) plus “Aunt” Frances had hot water issues to begin with.  She apparently needs a new hot water heater but because of her age and the expense, no one is willing to foot the bill(don’t even get me started on this subject!).

So, I heated the water in her kettle in order to wash the dishes(she HATES when I wash her dishes…I fully realize it’s a big part of her independence at stake here…but I’m not there every day)…As I was leaving, she said, “I see you did my dishes again…”  “That’s what I do.”  “I fully know that’s what you do, I appreciate it but I still don’t like it!”

At the end of this visit(I come once a month), I told her I had a proposition for her…to come every week for an hour instead of just coming once a month.  She looked at me intently and said, “that’s a better idea than mine…I was going to ask you to come twice a month.”

So, this Tuesday, I’ll start going to “Aunt” Frances every week…so instead of “Tuesdays with Morrie”, it’ll be “Tuesdays with “Aunt Frances”!

til next time…Eva

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