*** This was written November 16, 2009 after a very emotional visit with my Aunt Maxine, as most of you know, my Aunt Maxine passed away December 4, 2010. As the one year anniversary to her passing approaches, I feel the need to get some of these "notes" that I wrote on facebook moved over here. Anyway, this week will probably be mostly devoted to my memories of my beautiful Aunt ***
The role of a Great Aunt can be significant for some people. Myself included. This past weekend, we had an "all girls weekend" in my hometown, Burlington, Iowa. On that visit, as all the others, I went to visit my Great Aunt Maxine.
Unfortunately, She has no idea who I am anymore.
My Aunt Max used to be quite the life of any occasion. She could also be a bit, eccentric. She has worn a wig of curly red hair for at least 40 years, but usually can be found wearing purple clothing that totally clashes! Her favorite colors of course are purple, orange, and royal blue; everything she owns is in those three colors for the most part.
She is also quite the talker. Aunt Max would talk to anyone for as long as they would let her. lol. My Aunt, although quite smart and full of life experiences, came across as a naive ditz sometimes. I say that with all the love in my heart...because I know why she was like that. She was so old fashioned at times, BUT, knew enough about my life growing up that she seemed modern.
I will never, ever forget the many family gatherings spent at her house~ especially Christmas! Aunt Max loves Christmas decorating. I will never forget spending my birthdays with her as we played pretend...event hough I was old enough to not "pretend" she taught me that it was fun to make believe as well as all the many life lessons she taught me on those days when I thought it WAS just pretend. SO many things learned. SO many stories shared. SO much history that I will cherish forever.
Aunt Maxine has Alzheimer's now. She gets confused about where she is, how old she is, where she is going, etc. She forgets things and asks questions over and over again. But, what hurts the worst is that, as of the Summer of '08, she has no idea who I am anymore.
She hugs me, and says things like "I know I love you, even though I don't remember." When she hugs me, I feel that she knows there is a strong bond between us, but, then she asks who I am, or where I am from, etc. She met Alena for the first time yesterday at church. I told her that her name was Alena Mae, named for her mother and sister...and she said "Yes, Mae...Edith Mae and Wilma Mae." She has no idea that they are my grandmother and great- grandmother. She then asked if any of my children would be named for her. =* (
Alzheimer's is so hard. It is hard for her, I am sure...but, she doesn't remember, which makes it easier...but those of us that do remember, it is extra tough. I miss my Aunt.