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mad cow between us

Posted April 10th, 2014 at 01:08 PM by Sylvano the Wasabus
My aunt was one of the most gentle people I’ve ever met. She was not related to me, except by marriage. She married my uncle right out of high school. They’d been high school sweethearts.

It all sounds very nice but there was some darkness there. Isn’t there always? My uncle was wild. He was full of energy and he drank and went on terrible benders. He neglected his family. He was screwing up his life. But then an angel appeared to him and he changed his ways- but that is a different story. He became a minister and they did a lot of missionary work on Indian reservations. Whatever my uncle did- for he still had a lot of wild energy- my aunt was there beside him. She always exuded an aura of calm peace.

When my uncle died that part of the family sagged. He had been a tremendous spirit, almost like a motor that had powered that entire part of the family. I remember at his funeral- the people there really had faith- for the funeral was a happy affair, with singing and joy. My aunt was beaming, saying “he’s with God now.” She was serene. She comforted all the rest of us.

One of my favourite memories of my aunt was during one of my straggly times. She usually hosted a family get together in the summer. I attended, but I had a beard and longer hair and I admit my clothes were a bit tattered. My very proper parents were horrified, and they made a big deal out of it at the family gathering.

“Can you believe him?” They said, pointing at me time and again. “He looks like a hobo.”

My aunt turned and looked at me when my parents pointed. She stared at me for a long time and then she smiled.

“He looks like one of the apostles.” She said.

It is one of the kindest things anyone has ever said to me. My parents, people who hopefully would have supported me were instead attacking and criticizing me. I know they didn’t approve- they’d certainly made that clear- but all they were really doing by harping on it was driving us apart. Criticism doesn’t help someone in rough times. My aunt looked at me, really looked, and saw the kind gentle person I have always been.

Fast forward now ten years. Time tosses people to and fro, changing things, situations, slowly turning everything around and upside down.

My aunt is in hospital. She’s been in hospital for several months and I am told she is not coming out, except in a box. Don’t visit her, I am warned. Her immediate family wants no visitors. No one will tell me why.

I am again in a straggly time. They come and go, you know. A week’s scraggly beard, worn clothes, I take the bus to the hospital. I sit on a bench outside, trying to prepare myself for what I might possibly encounter within.

Will they even let me in? Have instructions been left to keep her isolated? Was she that terribly ill? Was it something horrible- her filled with tubes, rotting tissue, slowly dying bit by bit? The thought made me want to see her all the more. A person in such circumstances is still a person. Even if she was unconscious they say that a person can still hear, can still understand in their mind. She’d given me peace once. I wanted to return the favour

The hospital staff were friendly. Her room was just down the hall. She was alone, they said. She was alone most of the time. I was a relative, I said. A friendly nurse told me a bit about my aunt’s case.

It was very strange. She’d had a stroke two years before, but had recovered. They thought she’d had another, but when they examined her they found that this latest stroke had struck the exact same place in every way that the last one had. Apparently that doesn’t happen. They were mystified. Then she began to act out and her personality changes defined her affliction.

I went in to see my aunt. She was bedridden, and did have an IV and monitor. Her head turned sharply to me and she began speaking almost at once.

What the @%!& did I want? I should go $#@$ myself. Or maybe did I want to have sex with her? She began to describe sexual acts, laced with profanity. She seemed to notice my scraggly appearance then. Was I selling drugs? She wanted cocaine and heroin. And a gun. She would shoot the place up. She would dismember the nurses. She really was saying the most outrageous and shocking things.

I found I had little to say to her. I told her that I loved her. I quickly had my fill of abuse, insults and profanity. I told her I was leaving now, and she cursed at me all the way to the door.

My aunt has Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, commonly known as mad cow disease. She has the variant, which is actually caused by eating infected meat. The incubation period may have been 20 -50 years. The disease is always fatal, with death coming less than a year after the onset of symptoms.

In changed my aunt from a peaceful devoted Christian to a swearing lascivious bully. At first I thought perhaps she was releasing a lifetime’s worth of swearing and smut, feelings which she’d internalized for her entire life. But I don’t believe that anymore.

She was still as devoted and heartfelt as she had always been; it was just that somehow the dial in her had been reset from “nice” to “naughty”. No one knows how to deal with it. I’m sure everyone will be relieved when she dies.
Total Comments 7

Comments

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Arch-vile's Avatar
My prayers are with you and your aunt.
Posted April 11th, 2014 at 02:47 PM by Arch-vile Arch-vile is offline
Old
flameslayer93's Avatar
Im so sorry, Sylvano. I hope she can at least pass away in peace...
Posted April 11th, 2014 at 05:33 PM by flameslayer93 flameslayer93 is offline
Old
Tornado's Avatar
My thoughts and prayers are with you and your aunt tonight. Touching tale.
Posted April 11th, 2014 at 09:02 PM by Tornado Tornado is offline
Old
Joseph Sweeney's Avatar
My deepest sympathy.

And the thoughts prayers of me and my family are with you and your aunt.
Posted April 12th, 2014 at 02:45 PM by Joseph Sweeney Joseph Sweeney is offline
Old
chas's Avatar
What a terrible thing to have happened. Of course, we are who we really are, only when we have the free will to decide who we will be. And you remember who she was then. That was who she really was. In effect, she's possessed now. But that's not the real her. I hope you meet the real her again some day, in a different place.
Posted April 12th, 2014 at 05:15 PM by chas chas is offline
Old
Sherman Davies's Avatar
I'm sorry, Sylvano. I hope you can hold onto the good memories of her in spite of what has happened to her.
Posted April 13th, 2014 at 10:02 AM by Sherman Davies Sherman Davies is offline
Old
Taeblewalker's Avatar
I'm sure that somewhere deep inside she still loves you. Just don't stop loving her back.
Posted April 13th, 2014 at 08:01 PM by Taeblewalker Taeblewalker is online now
 
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