Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Tribute to my Aunt Eileen

Aunt Eileen with Hailey

My mom's sister, Eileen, is 88 years old and has been living independently since my uncle passed away fifteen years ago. Eileen is my last living elder relative. I remember when my dad's last sibling passed away and how weird it was to think that he had outlived them all (5 brothers and 1 sister.) Since my only sibling, Bob, passed away 14 years ago I guess I have been in the same situation! Except that I still have Aunt Eileen! But I digress.

Eileen called me three weeks ago and said "I can't do this anymore. Find me an assisted living home." So I did. I am so proud of my aunt!! She didn't wait until someone told her that she needed to move and she didn't go kicking and screaming. I hope I will be as gracious should I live to an age where I need help. She gave away most of her "stuff." She was living in an apartment, so she put on the table in the public area all of her food, kitchen items and all sorts of things that she wouldn't need in her new small room. They got snatched up in no time at all.

Last Saturday was moving day. Dave, Jason & Pete were in charge of moving her things to her new home. Dave rented a U-Haul and we began at 9:00 am and she was settling in by 11:00! I stayed for several hours and helped her get organized. We hung lots of pictures so it looks like her space. They allowed me to eat lunch with her in the cafeteria and I was pleased to find that the food was tasty.

It has been 4 days now and Eileen has told me more than once that she is very happy that she made this decision. She is meeting all sorts of people and if she wants, she can find lots of ways to fill her days. They have church services, dominoes, bingo, trips to the store and bank, craft time, etc. etc. etc. I don't know why some people are so reluctant to make this decision. Why do we hold on to our way of life so tightly?? Like I said, I am very proud of my Aunt Eileen. She has a good attitude and has accepted the fact that as a diabetic, with neuropathy in her legs which makes it difficult to walk, she needed more care than she could give herself. She wanted to make this move while she could still get around because she knew the day would come when she would be forced to move.

She is selling her car, never to drive again. Life is full of changes and difficulties. I hope to remember the lessons that my Aunt has taught me. Have the courage to change. She made the decision to sell her home in Lyman, WA, and move to Renton to be near her only sister, my mom, after my uncle passed away. I know she was sad to leave, but with each change she has had to make, she has done it with dignity and a sense of calm.

I wish everyone had Eileen's attitude about change. A house is a house is a house. (or apartment) But a home. A home is what you make of whatever space you are living in. I know that all of this life is temporary and should be of little concern. My real home is still to come. I will find that perfect home situation after my death here on earth and I am living in my new eternal home with my Savior!

Thank you, Aunt Eileen, for reminding me of what is truly important!

1 comment:

Shar said...

She is remarkable. Not many people make these changes so graciously.