(Diego Rivera, 1914)
When completing the papers for my mother's admission to the nursing home four years ago I did not include details of her sister from whom she had been estranged for nearly thirty years and whose circumstances and whereabouts, along with her children, had been unknown to us all that time. It seemed that we might never hear from or see them again.
I sometimes wondered whether my Aunt might pop up in the home herself but never really expected that to actually happen. Well that is exactly what happened yesterday. I was doing my volunteering in Day Care at the home yesterday when the senior Social Worker approached me to advise that a recent admission was talking about her sister and nephew and mentioning my mother and I by name.
My Aunt is a new resident in the low care Dementia section - my mother is in the high care section - and has no-one to care for her welfare. It turns out my Aunt has also been estranged from and disowned by her own children.
It's a pretty sad situation. I'm told that my Aunt has a cocktail of conditions including delusions, bipolar disorder, paranoia and manic depression. Despite that I found her extremely lively on meeting her again and was surprised by her memory for such things as family birth dates and her mother's address from over forty years ago.
I spent an hour talking with her yesterday and look like being her only family support now. Suddenly I find myself with the care concerns for two relatives.
I felt very drained last night and it will be a while before I come to grips with this unexpected development.