Agent Orange, perhaps?

We drove over to Concord on Wednesday and took my Aunt Miki to lunch.  I really wanted to get her out of the house and be able to talk to her without both of her daughters there.  I knew she would be more open without her grown children around.  Her two daughters still live with her and that she (my aunt) is taking care of one of them and her six year old grand-daughter.

It was a lovely visit.  We got to re-connect and she got to admit that she had a little break down realizing she was going to be saddled with her youngest daughter Julie for the rest of her life.

My cousin is a dear girl, but in her forties she has never supported herself.  She has only worked for a few short bursts in her life and spends most of her time in bed because she is depressed or in pain or asleep because of the drugs the doctors have her on for the depression and fiberomyalgia, not to mention the methadone to combat the vicodin addiction because of the pain on this merry go round of maladies.  Except when her sons were young and she briefly (6 months maybe) lived with their father, she has lived with her mother her entire life.  Julie was very excited to see us, but her social anxiety wouldn’t allow it.  She spent most of the day sitting on her bed trying to breathe.  Before we left for the day her niece took her to the ER.

My other cousin Suzy isn’t bad but still lives there.  She is on a low-income housing list, and is on disability.  She was caring for her own grandkids but her health isn’t really allowing that right now.  Besides that my aunt needs the money so now she is watching her great-grandkids four days a week.

Miki’s husband Tom died earlier this year and her income dropped almost 5 thousand dollars a month.  Because of all the health issues he had and both girls have there is no savings.

It’s just so sad to see my aunt who is 68 years old caring for her daughter, granddaughter and great-grandchildren and trying to keep the house.  Running little Joe to school then Julie to the doctor.

The bank is working on a loan modification for her.  Both daughters had to write certified letters that they would pay her 500 each a month for rent.  Novembers mortgage was paid at the new rate and if they make it for the next four months it will be set at about 1,100 a month.

But what I wanted to communicate to her during this lunch was that if she looses the house she can come live with me.  It gave her piece of mind, knowing that option was there.  She loves her kids, grandkids and great grandkids but said she would take me up on it if she needed to.  But that Emma (Julies 6-year-old) would have to come with her.

The look in her eyes when she says that her daughter is a horrible mother was just heart breaking.  But all in all it actually was a very fun visit.  We went back to the house and both of Suzy’s daughters came by and Sarah (eldest) brought her two kids.  I hadn’t seen the baby since before her cleft palate surgery and she really isn’t a baby any more. Three years old and running around.

We visited and reminisced about Tom and my dad, seeing pictures of my clean-cut dad in the very early 60’s.  They were friends long before my mom met my dad.  We also talked about my grandmother.  I like to quote her.  She was outspoken and opinionated but always had good advise (to me.)  It was so funny when my Aunt Miki did the same thing and she told us a little after Tom died she could actually hear her mom say “quit feeling sorry for yourself now”  Chari was beside herself telling Miki that I quote Grandma all the time and comparing our stories on the family matriarch.

As Chari and I drove home we were talking about the illnesses that all three of my cousins have and those that inflicted my uncle Tom, including mental illness.  I always thought so much of his mental disease was due to being a POW in the Vietnam war.  Chari brought up agent orange and I actually do not know how much he was exposed to and the timing involved with his tours.  But it would make sense that if he was exposed that Julie the youngest would be most affected.

It sure does make me think.

One Response to “Agent Orange, perhaps?”

  1. Della Says:

    I wish I could have come 😦

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