I’ve written Aunt Sue a few times this year. She has lived at an assisted living center for nearly 18 months. She’s sad and bitter that her freedom has been stripped away. She no longer drives, cooks or calls people. I try to call her regularly, write her notes and make the eight-hour journey to visit her whenever I can.
I thought I would drop you a note to say hello. I talked to Ryan today and he said that he bought his airfare to come visit. I don’t think Jacqueline will be going with him in the end. I know you were looking forward to seeing her. I am checking with my work commitments to see if I might be able to join him for part or all of the time.
I love you and think about you often.
Looking forward to seeing you soon,
YKW (short for You Know Who – that’s how she used to sign her letters to me.)
Teaism, Dupont Circle
This morning I did some letter-writing over at Teaism in Dupont – I shared this on social media and invited folks to come out and write some letters with me. None of you showed up, but that’s ok. I wrote some letters over a delicious pot of assam tea. If you want to join me on a future date, stay tuned to the Meet Ups section of the blog.
Today’s letter is for my Aunt Sue. She turns 81 on Wednesday.
She is one of five siblings my mother had. Originally from Richlands, VA, she now lives in an assisted living residence in Tennessee. Even though she has her own apartment there, it’s sad as she just doesn’t have the freedom she used to have. She can’t drive, so spontaneous trips to visit friends and family or even just quick jaunts to the grocery store are now distant memories.
I love to see her, although she’s different now. After losing her husband, her only son, two siblings (one of them my mother), her best friend and many others, the quick wit and vibrance the former head of operating room nurse once had is now gone. Her health has diminished as well. “Don’t ever get old,” she tells me every time we speak. “Don’t do it.” She has this birthday card on her fridge that says something like, “The more you bitch and complain about getting old, the longer you live.” She smiles and says, “Isn’t that the truth” every time she reads it.
I love her very much and hope that she is smiling this Wednesday.
Dear Aunt Sue,
My aunt loved Akitas.
Happy birthday! I went out looking for a birthday card for you – but I got to be honest, there was nothing there that I thought you’d like as much as this card with the drawing of this gorgeous Akita. I love you very much and will call you on your birthday!
I sign my letters to my aunt “Y.K.W.” (You Know Who). She would always sign her letters to me that way, so I’ve started signing my letters to her in the same manner.