Mini Red and I were off to Scranton this past weekend to visit Aunt Dot. This year has been so crazy that we were unable to visit in the Spring so this was our first trip of the year.
It’s not easy to go on these visits. The drive is long but beautiful and we love Aunt Dot but she is almost 97 and can’t walk anymore, which has taken a toll on her especially mentally.
These women that live at this residence have given of themselves for most of their lives and I don’t think any of them are under 80 years old. At this point in their lives the little bit that they have is very important to them. What is even more important is to show off their families and what their families have done for them. For example last year I brought Aunt Dot a HUGE remote control for her TV. She loved showing it off and everyone wanted one. I try to do something special for Aunt Dot since Mini Red and I are her only family whereas most of the Sisters have a lot of family, often local, that come for visits.
This visit I knew would be tough since last week had been a rough week at work. It was a little more difficult than I had expected since Aunt Dot’s mind has deteriorated a lot more since the last visit. The first problem was a mix up in the days. She though we were coming Friday and the entire convent became aware of this situation as she refused to eat dinner Friday determined to wait for us. I felt so bad but Aunt Dot and I speak every day and every day I would remind her that it was Saturday the 26th that we were coming.
On this visit I can’t tell you how often she repeated herself and asked me the same question over and over. I tried giving different answers to see if one would satisfy her but it seemed to be a crap shoot. I felt like I was in the movie “Groundhog Day”. I also got yelled at a lot because she would tell me I was doing something wrong but really I wasn’t. It was almost comical but soon became tiring.
Then there were the chocolates. She has me bring three boxes of chocolates to give as a thank you with my thank you card. One goes to the head nuns, another to the staff at the residence and the last one to the Sisters on her floor. The last box she had me open because she wanted to count the chocolates in the box and divide them up to make sure each Sister got one. So I opened the box and she counted them by touching each of them. Then she ate one!!! She counted again by touching each one of them. I sat there just watching her and by the fifth time I had to turn away because it was making me crazy. We then went to the dining area on her floor which consists of two tables and seating for four at each table. She brought the chocolates and at the table she counted again then separated some out into the box top, hands all over each. She instructed Mini Red to deliver the box top of chocolates to the other table. It was tiring as she had us pass the chocolates around our own table. I wasn’t about to have one and the other Sister at our table is diabetic so she was limited as to how many she could have.
Then there was the cookie coveting issue. Our table had cookies and the other table had slices of pie. At our table we each took a cookie and then the Sisters at the other table got wind of it and wanted cookies. I asked Mini Red to take the plate of cookies over to them but Aunt Dot said, “No! They have their own!” I explained that they didn’t and she wasn’t having it. She grabbed the plate of cookies as we could hear the other Sisters whispering deciding who would go get the cookies from our table. Mini Red and I stayed out of it as Aunt Dot got hold of the plate of cookies. She rearranged the plate by touching each one and finally taking one and putting it on her plate. The Sister that was sent over seemed scared of Aunt Dot but the taller Sister wasn’t scared, she came over and picked up the plate and brought it to her table for the other Sisters. In the end Aunt Dot didn’t even eat the cookie she had put on her plate.
I know she has lived a long tough life giving of herself so Mini Red and I try to give back to her but I tell ya… It isn’t easy.
We are so glad to be home.