Thursday, August 10, 2006

Life is tenuous

My wife Carol was an only child. Her mother, though, was one of four children. The oldest was Harold; then in 1923 came the two twin girls, Dorris and Dorothy; and the last, quite a bit younger than the others, was Dale.

Dorothy is Carol’s mom. When all four of the children were younger Harold became known as Brother, Dorris was Sis, and Dorothy was Sassy. Brother, Sis and Sassy gave baby Dale the nickname of Niggy. That’s a story in itself, but not for today.

The first to die was younger brother Niggy, who went off to fight the war in Korea and never came home. Many years later Carol’s uncle Harold passed away, leaving just the two sisters.

Carol’s mom and dad came to live near their daughter and me in Victoria in 1998. They moved into an “independent living” retirement community about a mile from our house. A few years later her dad’s health declined, and symptoms of dementia forced his move into a nursing home where he died in 2002. Her mother Dorothy has remained in the retirement community nearby.

Dorothy’s twin sister Dorris has lived for most of her life in and around Corpus Christi, Texas. Her husband retired from a Reynolds Aluminum plant in Ingleside on the north shore of Corpus Christi Bay, and the two of them currently live in the small nearby town of Aransas Pass.

Two days ago, Carol and her mother made the one-hour drive to Aransas Pass and spent the afternoon with Aunt Dorris. She said the trip went well. Dorris has also been showing some signs of the onset of dementia, but was lucid and seemed in pretty good spirits on Tuesday. However her general health has not been good; she has difficulty getting up and moving around. Dorothy has been concerned that a nursing home, or at least an assisted living arrangement, was in her sister’s near future.

Today Carol got a phone call that her Aunt Dorris has suffered an apparent severe stroke or cerebral aneurism. Comatose, she was rushed to a hospital. The last we heard she’d been placed on life support. The outlook is not good.

In a way, this may be a blessing if indeed it is her time to go and she doesn’t linger. Dorothy is obviously upset, but somewhat consoled that she just visited her sister two days ago. She agrees that, given Dorris declining health and mental condition, this sudden loss of consciousness and possible terminal condition may be for the best.

I mentioned to Carol that this is the reason I don’t want to pass up any opportunity I have to visit my 90 year old mother in Maryland. She will probably reach 120 and outlive me, but you just never know. We’ll see her next month on a vacation trip.

Tenuous indeed.


Candace said...

Our thoughts are with you and Carol and family, John. You're so right; make every moment count.

Badabing said...

Sorry to hear about Aunt Dorris, John. Life is so precious. Like Candace said, one should make every moment count.

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