Is this not the meaning of Love?
Sorry that I have been away for several months. My focus has been divided between my normal studio work schedule and taking care of some personal family issues. The blog became just one more thing on a list of items to do, so I felt you would forgive me if I let it go for a short time.
I’m back now and want to get back on track bring you thoughts on some of the many things that pass my way. Let me start this entry by sharing with you some things that have been going on in my personal life over the last two years.
I have been taking care of an Aunt and Uncle, who many would define as being the equivalent of my Godparents. They had no children and being like a son to both of them they approached me about being their Power of Attorney and the Executor of their Estate. I was unsure of what my duties would ultimately be, but I loved these two people. It was the least I could do to look after their personal interests in the event they could not do it for themselves.
The thing about responsibility is that you are never as prepared as you think. In just a few months, my Aunt took a bad fall and broke her hip. She was in the Hospital a few weeks while they monitored her progress. After being transferred to a NursingCenter for recovery, she was diagnosed with the early stages of dementia.
You know how sometimes your brain registers something, like an odd action or behavior? I think most of us that were close to her knew that something had been happening for the last few years, but just did not want to see it.
When it came time to discharge her, the NursingCenter would not release her to return home due to her condition. I had no idea that what would happen next would only be the first of many hard decisions that I would have to make on her behalf for the next two years. I signed papers to discharge her and she was taken to an Assisted Living facility.
I still remember that day. She was ready to return home to her husband and more familiar surroundings. I gently told her that the Nursing Center would not allow her to return home. As she was being loaded on the transport, she was crying. I had just broken her heart and that hurt me deeply.
My Uncle remained at home. He had suffered from degenerative arthritis in his back which kept him mostly bed ridden. With his primary care taker no longer returning home, someone else had to step up to take over those duties. My Mother, being the angel that she is, took over the day to day care of my Uncle. (For general reference, my Aunt and Mother are siblings.)
My Aunt and Uncle had what I like to call an “Old Fashioned” relationship. Kind of like the movies – they eloped on Christmas Eve, and when to the Justice of the Piece and got married. Their household structure consisted of my Uncle bringing home the paycheck, while my Aunt paid the bills and took care of the home.
It was always obvious that they had a very special partnership based on love. When I would take my Uncle for a visit to the Assisted Living Facility, he would always come back taking about how beautiful she looked. He loved her, loved their home, but it was very obvious that he missed seeing her daily.
During my time in overseeing their personal affairs, my Uncle ran into some financial troubles. My Aunt’s care was very expensive and we had used most of his savings. His house would soon have to be put up for sale if we could not find an answer. The solution came through other family members, who offered personal loans to help pay for my Aunt’s care.
In May of this year, my Uncle passed suddenly. He had been complaining of tightness in his Chest for about two weeks. His Primary Care Physician was unable to find a problem and my Uncle had been scheduled with a Heart Specialist the same week he died.
As the Executor of my uncle’s Will, I started the hard process of sorting through the contents of his home. I discovered that my Uncle had been using credit cards to help pay the monthly bills and realized that liquidating his remaining assets was my only option. I called the family together and allowed them to take one item from the estate as a keepsake. An estate sale was held to generate cash to pay some of the immediate bills. The house was listed and I made plans to help try and stabilize my Aunt’s remaining assets.
Selling family heirlooms and a home you have grown up associating with a loved one is a tough job. Seeing some stranger carry off items that have a personal meaning is one of the saddest things I have experienced. Knowing that you have little choice makes it that much harder. As a friend said to me during the estate sale, it was like watching someone’s life being sold off piece by piece.
Over the next three months, I took steps to close out my Uncle’s estate. Besides the estate sale, this was not very hard to do. My Aunt was the only beneficiary so it was simply a matter of waiting the required time set by the probate court.
It was now the first of September and my Aunt’s health had been slowly getting worst. On September 16th, God called my Aunt to come home. She went to be with my Uncle and I was left missing two people that I loved very dearly.
You hear stories of older couples that pass within weeks or months of each other. I remember delivering the news of my Uncle’s passing to my Aunt. Thinking back, it did seem that her health had started to become worse just a month later. I realize that two years apart, for two people who loved each other so much, was long enough.
There is no possible way to tell you all of the various hardships we all endured over the last two years. There were a number of family and friends that helped me along the way. People have asked how I was to take on the amount of responsibility required and still maintain my normal duties as a business owner.
I simply tell them this:
My life was always richer due to the love and support of my Uncle and Aunt. The family members and friends that came to their aid in their time of need felt that as well. How could any of us not do for them, like they did for us? Is this not the meaning of love?”
I believe that it is.
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