Well, you have now read about who my Aunt Maxine was and how the Alzheimer's took over her life. You know she died a little over one year ago too. Outside of just sharing memories that I have of her, you would think that there probably wasn't much else to tell. Think again.
In the wee hours of the morning on Dec. 4, 2010, Aunt Maxine died. Her two grown daughters, referred to as M and L, from here on out, called my mom and dad to let them know of her passing and that they were on their way to Burlington (four hour drive) to see to the arrangements. My parents were expecting M and L to eventually show up at the house to discuss those said arrangements; but they never showed up. They never called. They never came by. They left town. And that was that.
Aunt Maxine's body was cremated the afternoon of her passing, and the girls were home that night, without so much as a phone call to make the rest of the family aware of what was going on. The morning of the 5th, her obituary was in the newspaper...with survivors including two loving daughters. But, nobody else. So what about a funeral for a beloved member of her church and community? Nothing. No visitation, no funeral, no memorial service. NOTHING. In fact, her plot at the cemetery, next to her husband is EMPTY. She was to be buried, in her urn, between her husband and brother. That is also where my grandmother is buried and both of my parents will be. However, the grave is empty.
My second cousins have now gone and sold her house, and done Lord knows what with all of her possessions. The jewelry that we used to play "dress up" with that was promised to me is gone. The old family pictures that are only cherished by me are gone. All of the Christmas stuff that her and I decorated together with is gone. My mother said that while Aunt Maxine was alive, M and L would ask her to go through pictures and figure out who they were. However, she suffered from Alzheimer's and couldn't. SO...they threw the family pictures away and deemed them useless.
M and L didn't visit Aunt Max from May of 2009 on. They stopped calling too. Why? Because she wouldn't remember if they came or called anyway. And now, they have alienated the three remaining family members they have~ My mother, daddy, and myself. They have not called since that morning. M recently returned a call to me regarding the family pictures and said that my mother took them; which is a lie. And with that, I am done with them.
There comes a point in life when you have to cut out the toxic relationships for your own sanity. I can't live my whole life wondering why they didn't give my Aunt a proper farewell. There are thousands of people that loved her around Burlington. I loved her more than I ever loved anyone. I can't sit around and pine over the fact that I have nothing physical to remind me of her, except a card that I located recently with a handwritten note inside. I can't worry about all the lost family mementos and photographs, because there is nothing I can do about it now.
My cousins can't take away the years of memories that I have with Aunt Maxine.
In closing, I would encourage each of you to consider what I have shared with you in my last three posts, and take it to heart. Don't stop spending time with your family members that suffer from Alzheimer's. That is selfish of you!! Not to mention, there may be that one moment where they remember you, such as the one I experienced...you don't want to miss that! Somewhere deep down inside, they know who you are, and they love you. Who cares if they ask you 200 questions, all the same, in a row? And please, don't ever block your family from saying goodbye. I will never experience proper closure. I keep reliving the pain and hurt from her death because it never seemed "final" to me. I just want to be able to say goodbye. =* (