I got a call from my Aunt today, telling me that my Uncle had passed away on Tuesday and the services were this weekend. I asked her how she was and how he had passed. She was a bit shaky, but went through the story about how he had undergone surgery to remove a nasty polyp and while he did well with the surgery, the stress on his body kicked his dementia up a notch. He had been a bit difficult and was having troubles eating so they were going to give him a feeding tube, but his heart gave out before they could get to it. The polyp was diagnosed as cancerous and so my Aunt and Uncle had been faced with the consequence of going through the advancing stages of cancer or trying to remove the portion of intestine and effectively “nipping it in the bud”. Tough call when you are 92. The worst part of the story is that my Aunt was so very sad and hurt that he didn’t pass away at home, and I can’t be sure she was even with him. That thought just tears me up inside. To have been married and sharing my life with this person for so long and then not being able to say goodbye or more importantly, being there for the person who is passing.
My Uncle John and Aunt Dot have been married for years and years. More than 50 for sure. In many ways they reminded me of myself and Frank. Uncle John was calm and tall and always smiling with apple cheeks and sparkly eyes. Aunt Dot was the manager, you could tell. Aunt Dot is my grandmother’s sister and the only family I have left on my mother’s side. I have one Aunt on my father’s side left as well.
I talked to my sister earlier to discuss plans and who would be attending what and who might want to chip in for flowers, and while we were talking about it, the issue of our brother, John, came up. Ever since my mother passed away, my brother has had nothing good or nice to say about any of his sisters. We can’t really figure out where all this vituperous spewing is coming from, but he’s made sure he’s alienated himself for sure. I designated my older sister to calling him. They had been the closest all those years ago, so maybe the two of them will be able to talk to one another.
So there are my Two Johns, one I remember with fondest thoughts and the other that I find confusing and a bit disturbing with the blatant malevolence he exudes.
2 thoughts on “The Two Johns”
I'm sorry to hear about your Uncle. I can understand why your Aunt would be sad that she wasn't with him. Sometimes when people are close, it is too painful for the one dying to have the loved one present when they leave. Its like they can't go, if they're there. Nobody dies alone. Even when there aren't any visible people with them, they have lots of help and support in the passing.
Thank you for your kind thoughts. I have no doubt there is help in passing. My mom was talking to her best friend for days before she died. My grandfather kept talking about a white dog in his room. But what I meant was more that Aunt Dot wasn't there, and for her, that closure, that chance to say farewell, was lost. I dealt much better with my father's death having been at his bedside than my mothers, even though I knew both of them were coming.