I’m Dreading Tomorrow

Tomorrow I have to do something that I am dreading.

My aunt, who I’ve mentioned briefly here, is my mother’s sister, and is one of her few surviving relatives (I have a few cousins, the children of her brother, that I haven’t seen for years). Aunt Lois was in an automobile accident about 25 years ago, where she was t-boned by an uninsured driver, which left her with a devastating brain injury.

Without going into detail about her life since her accident, her injury affected an area of her brain which controls emotions, self control, and anger. Since the accident, and most especially since my mother died 20 years ago, my aunt has driven all of her friends away, even the most loyal, with her behavior. She yells at them, she calls them names, she won’t answer their calls.

She does that to my sister and me too.

My lovely, wonderful sister, Lisa, has tried so hard over the years, to help Aunt Lois with her life, her living situation, her finances, and more. Lisa is so much more patient than I am and has spent so much time, effort, and even money trying to help. Several years ago, because Lois was so miserable in her apartment in Los Angeles, Lisa, with Lois’ approval, arranged to move her to San Diego.

She hated it. And decided she hated Lisa. When I visited Lois, she would call my sister the most horrible names, accusing her of awful things, and screaming about how miserable her life was.

A moment here about my aunt. Before her accident, she was a funny, edgy, kind of neurotic woman, who loved animals and was not fond of men (she was straight as far as I know, she just didn’t have a high opinion of the male gender). She was an actress, a singer, who’d had some success in Hollywood. She was in a singing and dancing group called The Establishment, which had some success in the 60s and 70s. She was witty and bright, and I always thought of her as the “cool” aunt.


That’s my Aunt Lois in the lower left, with the hat.

Now, in spite of her condition, she can still be witty and bright, funny and intelligent. She can also be rude, nasty, and mean. She loved animals before. Now she is militantly vegan, donating any extra money to animal causes (over the years I have come to share many of her opinions is this area). The smell of meat being cooked by her neighbors can drive her crazy. She yells.

I know it is not her fault.

Several years ago, she cut off all contact. She wouldn’t answer the phone or the door. She didn’t return calls. I am not proud to say that after a few tries, I stopped trying. I lived my life. I felt guilty, but I did nothing to improve our relationship. My sister got married and moved to Texas, so I was the only nearby relative, but I avoided the conflict.

Several weeks ago, Lois fell in her bathtub. She is 76 now, physically healthy because of her diet. Apparently, though, she had a urinary tract infection, became weak, and fell. She was there for over a day because, when they heard her yelling, her neighbors thought that it was just Lois being Lois.

Fortunately, she will be okay. She is very weak and is in a rehab center to get some physical and occupational therapy. I haven’t talked to her. Lisa and I have only spoken to the nurses in order to monitor her recovery.

Now, here is the deal. The owner of the apartment where Lois lives spoke to my sister the other day. She is a problem. She has taken to waking up in the middle of the night, wandering through the apartment complex, talking and yelling to herself. Her neighbors are not happy. Something is going to have to be done.

Tomorrow I will be driving to San Diego to meet my sister, who flew in from Texas (about the only bright light in my day!) We will go to the rehab center, try to meet with my aunt, and talk to her about what her options are. We have every expectation that we will be thrown out of the room. Lisa and I have no legal right to intervene. We are just trying to do the right thing by my mother’s sister.

I am dreading tomorrow. I could us some physic support.

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  1. says

    I’ve worked in a rehab hospital and dealt with many traumatic brain injury patients. Yes, it’s true it’s not their fault but I would see how family members would be worn down. It sounds like tomorrow will end up the way you envision it but I pray you have the strength to endure.
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    • says

      Thank you for your kind words. I’m really afraid it will be much harder on my sister, but she is the brave one, ready to head in there to do what needs to be done. I admire her so much for that.
      Debbie recently posted…I’m Dreading TomorrowMy Profile

  2. says

    Wow, you really have no good options no matter how you look at this. What a reminder how devastating brain injuries are and what a toll uninsured drivers take. I am so glad you have your sister to go through this with. I will think of you tomorrow and wish all of you well.
    KymberlyFunFit recently posted…3 Stealth Saboteurs of Your Weight LossMy Profile

    • says

      Thank you. I appreciate your support. Yes I’m glad my sis will be with me (she’s so brave she would have done it alone!)
      Debbie recently posted…I’m Dreading TomorrowMy Profile

  3. says

    Thinking of you! It’s always a hard situation, and really, it sounds like you have done, and are doing, everything you can. You can’t live a fulfilling life of your own if you always look back to Lois.

    Good luck, and remember that you can’t do more than that. xx
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  4. Charlene Ragsdale says

    Sorry to hear about this, but you can do something legally. Given her current state of health situation, I would recommend to you and/or your sister seek to be her Guardian. This way, you can take control over her well-being. You want to do what is best for her and she might be incapable of doing so. Not judging, but with brain injuries – it won’t get any easier, but it might get worse.

    Hang in there and keep us posted.

  5. says

    Oh this is so hard. Have you contacted a social services agency where she lives? They may have resources for you. It sounds like she may not be mentally competent so someone else needs to be making her legal decisions– you or a state guardian. Hang in there!
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