Thursday, 8 October 2009


(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.


  1. Well Victor, you did say you might like to have a more extended family. Careful what you wish for.

  2. Wow Victor, that is pretty big. Do you think your mother and aunt will meet? It would be interesting to see what it may evoke for your mother.

  3. Andrew - I had siblings in mind :-)

    Campbell - I will arrange for them to meet but I suspect my mother, whether or not she recalls history, will not react well. My Aunt is extremely talkative and my mother doesn't respond well to talkative people nowadays.

  4. That is a lot to deal with. Make sure you take care of yourself!

  5. What a small world! Victor, it's a good thing you're doing by looking after them both now. Plenty of good karma coming your way. Andrew and I often what's going to happen to his sister, who has slowly offended and cut herself off from family and friends, and live a reclusive life.

  6. A small world indeed. Aside from your readers, I do hope you have a good support base to help you deal with it all.