Saturday, August 11, 2007

Family Woes

My Auntie, Uncle and Mom came down to visit and stay the night. They had such a good time that they stayed an extra night! They all live in the city/suburbs and the temperature where they live is in the high 90s/100s. They figured it would be cooler up here in the mountains (it is) and wanted to get away for a change of pace for a day. We had a good time entertaining them and the girls just ate up all the extra attention they got from having 3 extra people around.

Auntie and Uncle got into a very bad motorcycle accident a year ago and spent the better part of 6 months going to therapy and trying to heal on top of the insurance and medical bill nightmares after such an accident. Auntie broke her legs and sustained a concussion along with bumps, bruises and "road rash". Uncle broke his pelvis and his hand was nearly severed as a passing car drove over his hand. His wrist is shattered and attempts to reconstruct his hand, failed. He now has a rod in his arm to his hand that prevents him from bending it and is permanent. Auntie and Uncle both have enough metal rods and screws inside them to set off the metal detectors at the airports!

They had recently retired in the beginning of the year and Auntie was just beginning to enjoy her retirement. She was highly stressed from her job and it took her several months to wind down and get work out of her system. She had plans to organize her long-neglected house and spend her leisure time working on her craft kits and projects that she had bought over the years. Uncle had 2 motorcycles that he looked forward to riding more often and planned day trips, weekend trips and long distance trips. All those plans went down the drain with the accident.

To make a long story short, Uncle had someone come into the house to make room for a possible wheelchair lift and a makeshift bedroom in the living room with rented hospital beds. The people that came into the house ended up throwing away more than half the contents in the house. Some of those things were not in the way but got thrown out anyway. Much of it was irreplaceable-- my Grandmother's belongings from the house Mom and Auntie grew up in; dolls from when they were little 50+ years ago; genealogy research papers; deed to the house; financial paperwork; their wedding album and photos; bottom halves of Tupperware containers but not top halves- thereby making what is left, useless; all food: spices, pantry items, freezer items; and so much more. Auntie discovers daily something else gone and gets upset all over again. They were told to "pretend they lost their items in Katrina". WTF?? They were told "the stuff in the basement was moldy and wet from a leaky pipe". There was no leaky pipe AND half the stuff that got tossed was on the upper floors, in the bedrooms, in the living room, the kitchen.

Poor Auntie and Uncle now have to drag their poor, barely healed, broken bodies to the stores to replace some of the items they need. On top of all the physical pain from the accident, they now have the emotional pain of being betrayed and losing valuable items. They were told the stuff that was tossed was "really not worth very much", but I can go to the antique stores and find blue ball jars for $15 apiece, I can find similar antique sideboards that matched the claw foot dining table selling for $1500 and up, I can find antique porcelain dolls for $100 and up... the list can go on and on... Auntie feels disgusted and violated and wants to move and start over again. She cocoons herself in her bedroom for most of the day because going into the living room or the kitchen depresses her. One day she finally felt like making some spaghetti for dinner, only to find that her pots and pans have been thrown out too. She bought some brand new towels and had not yet taken the tags off them before the accident happened. The towels are gone. Her favorite brand of perfume that was discontinued and she spent weeks hunting down the last few bottles she could find, gone. They were told that they were "hoarders" because they had more than 2 bars of soap. What's wrong with buying a 10-pack of soap that's on sale? What's wrong with stocking up a little on sale items, especially now that they are retired and living on a limited budget?

My heart aches for Auntie and Uncle. My heart weeps for all the anguish they are going through. And yes, I am just a little disappointed that I don't get the fun of going through all those things that were in the basement from my Grandmother's house. My mother doesn't get to pass on her dolls to her granddaughters. My Auntie and Uncle don't get to enjoy their retirement because all her craft projects and quilting fabrics were tossed, the expensive sewing machine she just bought and still in the box was taken out of the box, but the box, attachments and instruction book was tossed. Most of his books and movies were tossed.

So, Uncle thought a day in the country was just what Auntie might need. She was not surrounded with constant reminders of what is missing and instead focused on playing with her great-nieces. She melted from a tired, unhappy Auntie into a happy little girl, giggling and laughing with my girls. They stayed another night because they were enjoying themselves and because Hubby and I said,"please please stay another night. Don't go." They left late this morning and we told them they were always welcome to come back and stay again. We enjoy having them here and it was no bother at all to make extra food or feeling put out because there was company here. Mom was tempted to stay another day, but she will be here again for a week at the end of August. It was sad to see them go, but I was happy to see Auntie and Uncle laugh, to see them eat well, and to play with the little ones. I hope they come back again, soon.


DJ Kirkby said...

Shocking story! So glad they find solace at yours. I am going to mail your interview questions today.

DJ Kirkby said...

I need your email address, can you email me so I have it please? Or would you prefer that I post your questions in a comment box?

Karen said...

How sad that those caregivers took advantage of your aunt and uncle. :(

Lisa C. said...

Made me sick! How could the caregivers do that?

Elsie Button said...

what an awful and sad story - but wonderful that they smiled with you and your girls!

Lisa C. said...

And glad to hear that you made their hearts smile.

jenny said...

Dj, Karen, Lisa and Elsie-- Yes, Mom and I were both shocked at what happened. None of us have talked with the people that did it since and I don't ever plan to. I was told that it didnt happen to me so I should not get involved, but they forget that this is my AUNT and she is sister to my MOM and when Auntie is upset, Mom gets upset and then I get upset. Not only that, they told me that I was going to be a hoarder too because I had more than 2 cats. Oh puh-leeze! There was lots of finger-pointing going on and instead of continuing it, I shut them out and focused on Auntie, Mom and Uncle. It is truly sad when this happens, but I like to think that we are moving on and getting better. Just harder for Auntie.

They will all be back in 2 weeks so it looks like they had fun if they are coming back! :o)

Sparx said...

I can't believe that... can you not prosecute for theft? Or negligence? That's AWFUL!!!