Friday, November 04, 2005

Aunt Shirley

My father-in-law is one of 8 children. His dad died years and years ago, and his mom (Kev's Gramma T.) is in her mid-90's and lives in a nursing home. She has health problems, and her mind is gone. Or rather, her memory. Gramma T. doesn't know anyone anymore. One of her daughters died this week, and I wonder if she knows or understands. Sad.

Aunt Shirley was a great woman. Her grandson and Sam were baseball teammates, and Aunt Shirley was at every game. Her husband died about 10 years ago, so it's been just her. She had rheumatoid arthritis, and suffered from it badly. I didn't know it affected major organs, but it does & Aunt Shirley had been dependent upon dialysis for a quite some time. After her dialysis treatments, she always felt funny. She shouldn't have been driving herself to and from them, but she was. My mother-in-law told me that Aunt Shirley had just been talking about how it's probably time she quit that. There's a senior citizen service in town that will arrange for rides for things like that, with volunteers that drive folks and deliver things for people.

This past Saturday, on her way home from dialysis, Aunt Shirley made a left-hand turn off from a busy highway to her driveway, right in the path of oncoming traffic. Her car was hit by a pickup truck, and as it happens, that driver was a young man she knew. He was uninjured, thankfully. Aunt Shirley would have hated it if he had been hurt. She was taken to the hospital, where she died Tuesday morning from her injuries and complications due to kidney failure and heart failure.

Aunt Shirley's funeral was today. No one was prepared for it; she was the first of the 8 kids to die and she died so unexpectedly. It was very difficult to say goodbye to her.

At the funeral, the pastor told some stories and tidbits he had heard from her family over the past couple of days. Aunt Shirley's fingers had gotten very crooked and bent because of the arthritis, and her left hand's fingers were all bent like she was starting to make a fist, except for her middle finger, which was ramrod straight and she couldn't bend it. Once, while driving with Aunt Carolyn, they came to a bridge in town that only one car can cross at a time. They met an oncoming car, and that car stopped and let them go. Aunt Shirley waved her thanks to the man... with her left hand. He waved back at her with his middle finger ramrod straight, too! Confused the heck out of him, I'm sure, since he let them cross first and then to see 2 old, gray-haired ladies in the car with one flipping him off. (Aunt Carolyn got a hoot out of it, I'm sure, but I bet Aunt Shirley felt kinda bad about it.) Too funny!

Aunt Shirley was a geniunely sweet person, and we will miss her so much.

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