Friday, October 29

Sad endings

The past two weeks have been an emotional roller coaster to say the least. Not much in the way of knitting or crocheting has been happening either.

On Oct. 18, I heard that one of my uncles was in the hospital. He was comatose and not expected to survive. My uncle Gene suffered from Alzheimers. He was married to my mom's sister, who was caring for her husband at home. That's a difficult thing to take on with an Alzheimer patient. My uncle recently developed shingles in his mouth and throat. (I've never heard of anyone having them develop there before!) It certainly sounds painful. :( He was taken to the hospital when he could no longer eat or drink. I suspect he was having trouble breathing too.

Meanwhile, by Thursday of that week, I was all packed and ready to leave town at a moments notice with my parents for his funeral. That was the night my husband received a phone call that changed everything. My BIL called with the news that their eldest brother had been found dead in his apartment. Neighbors had noticed when newspapers began piling up and no one had seen him for days. Worried, they called the police. The police broke into his apartment when no one answered the door. They found my BIL dead on the floor of his apartment. The coroner's report set his time of death as Oct. 18 from natural causes.

Chris kept to himself. My husband tells me that at the age of 12, his brother developed a very high fever for a couple of days (maybe measles?). This would have been about 1960.

I am old enough to remember measles running through all the kids in our neighborhood about that time. We have vaccines for childhood diseases like this now. Then we didn't. We forget that measles and other childhood diseases were/are very dangerous diseases. They can kill or cause harm to whoever has them. I have memories of our doctor making a house call when my brother's and I got the measles. And yes, doctors did make house calls back in the day.

I digress. After that fever, Chris was never the same. I met him a few times when I was first dating my husband. I can't say that I really knew him. We had dinner at his parent's house every week. Chris was always there. (He had moved back in with them and was living in their basement.) Chris wouldn't look at me or talk to me even after we had been introduced. I had forgotten until my husband reminded me, that when Chris wanted to ask me something, he would ask someone else to do it for him. Odd. He was a skinny little guy but I've never seen anyone able to eat as much as he could. He ate his dinner and then, once everyone else was finished, he polished off all the leftovers. I don't know where he put it all!

The sudden, unexpectedness of his death has really thrown everyone for a loop.

On Saturday, my uncle passed away.

On Sunday, hubby, I and other family members cleaned out Chris's 3rd floor walkup apartment. It was a very sobering and somewhat disturbing experience that has haunted me for days. It was hard to see the reclusive way he chose to live--apart from any contact with his family or anyone else. We still have the daunting task of sorting through all of his papers to discover what still needs to be dealt with or people notified.

My uncle's funeral was on Tuesday in southern Illinois. I feel guilty for not going with my folks to his funeral. Unfortunately, I can't be in two places at once. And going with them would have meant leaving my husband to deal with his loss alone. Sigh...a no-win situation no matter what I did.

The wild, windy, and unsettling, weather we've had most of the week provided an appropriate counterpoint to the events that have been unfolding.

Chris's funeral was yesterday. It was a difficult day. :( My husband, FIL, and my BIL's are having a rough time dealing with this sudden and unexpected loss. At the service, I cried for both my uncle and Chris--both men living with mental impairments whose lives had been cut short. Hug your loved ones while you still can.

Today, I am sad and tired. I'm hoping for a restful and uneventful weekend. We all could use it.

I'm slated to teach two lace knitting classes next weekend at a local yarn shop. These were scheduled months ago. Only one person has enrolled so far and tomorrow is the deadline to register. At this point, I'm hoping the classes are cancelled. I really could use a break.


Anonymous said...

Oh, I am so sorry for your losses. My brother died under similar circumstances to your BIL, so I grieve for all of you having to deal with such a complicated and ugly death of a loved one. Adding another death in your own family is certainly another whole level - I'm sorry that you couldn't attend the funeral - maybe schedule a time later to connect with family for your own sake.

Sending hugs your way.{{}}

Kathy said...

My sympathies to you. Sometimes it is as difficult to watch our loved ones mourn their losses as it is to lose someone ourselves. I'm sure your love is comforting to them.

Mary Ann said...

My heart goes out to you and your family. Loss is so difficult to understand sometimes. May you all find peace with the circumstances.

adriene said...

What a difficult time for you and your family. My condolences to all of you. Please do take a rest and spend time recovering yourself. Maybe later on you can make some time to be with your own family to make up for not being able to make your uncle's funeral. I'm sure they all understood.

Many hugs.

MUDNYC said...

I'm so sorry for your family's losses, Vicki. You are in my thoughts.