Sunday, January 2, 2011


To all my blog readers, I'm sorry I didn't get a cheery Happy New Year posted last night. It's been a very hard 24 hours for me.

I like to stay home and safe on New Year's Eve, but I learned some very upsetting news yesterday afternoon.

We all age, but sometimes it's not graceful. In May 2009, I drove to Texas and spent two weeks with my aunt. She is my mother's sister, and the last of my maternal older relatives. She lived with us when I was very young, while my uncle was in the Korean War. Later my uncle was stationed in Texas, where she has lived for about 50 years. When she was physically able, she used to visit here every couple years, until about 10 years ago.

My mother died almost six years ago, so my aunt and I have stayed in touch often. When I was visiting her, she was doing fine. She got around fine, still drove her car, lived alone (but had a housekeeper twice a week to help her with chores), and cooked for herself. She microwaved most everything, but when I was there, I cooked for her. She enjoyed the home cooking for a change. We talked and talked family stuff for two weeks and when I left, she was fine. I have been writing letters or talking to her on the phone until November.

I had written two letters to her in the past six weeks, but never heard back from her. That was unusual. After several attempts to call her, when I didn't get an answer, I finally called her best lady friend. She had given me the number a few years ago in case of an emergency.

Her friend told me that she was in the hospital and not doing well. I found out what hospital she was in and called, but was unable to reach her. I worried all night long. Today, I finally reached her nurse and was told she could listen to me, but could not be understood in order to communicate back.

I decided to try and was able to say a few things to her and only heard a few sounds of recognition in return. After calling her friend back today, I found out why. My aunt has a very bad throat infection which they are treating with antibiotics. But the underlying cause of her problem was a recent diagnosis of cancer of the mouth. Needless to say, I was shocked, stunned, and shaken.

My aunt has always been a heavy smoker, and my many suggestions to lighten up or quit were spoken to deaf ears. She said it was her only pleasure at her age. Now she is 89 years old, dying of cancer of the mouth, and is over 1000 miles away. I want to go see her, but I realize how almost impossible that idea is, really. All I can do is pray, and call back tomorrow and check on her.

So when I began looking forward to a new year and things getting better, my hopes were badly dashed. I spent my New Year's day worrying, phone calling, and praying. This has hit me especially hard, because my mother was 89 when she died. Death is an inevitable fact of life, but I know this one will hit me hard when the time comes.

I hope my new year gets better, because with my aunt in the hospital dying and I can't visit her; a good friend upset with me and I really don't know why (and he won't talk about it); and just passing the two year anniversary of the estrangement between myself and a younger biological relative, I am not feeling very positive about things right now. I will keep praying for a better tomorrow. All I can do is leave it all in God's hands.

I hope you all had a better New Years and wish the best for all my readers, friend or stranger. Please keep me in your prayers. I thank you, one and all.

1 comment:

skymetalsmith said...

Gail. My thoughts are with you. Is there some sort of reason you can not go to your Aunt in Texas? If I can help in any way, I want to. My Grandmother died of pretty much the same thing. My mother died of lung cancer. Smoking has been the elephant in the room in my family for a long time. I have studied that is heinous. We should all be able to sue Philip Morris in behalf of those we have lost to this disease. Prayers to you Gail.