Aunt Livia and Uncle Joe
Married for 66 years and still together after 68 years… My uncle was born in 1931 and my aunt in 1935.
That’s an amazing accomplishment. Not many people will get to post such stats in the coming future that’s for sure. However, this is not about the stats. It is more about how this couple has experienced living during the pandemic.
My aunt and uncle have been fortunate enough to have an exciting and adventurous life. They escaped from Hungary in 1956 during the revolution. They have managed to stay pretty healthy minus a couple of setbacks. Once more that is not the story. The story is that while COVID has yet to kill them or hurt them through the virus itself it is slowly killing them in other ways.
Both my aunt and uncle were “healthy” before COVID. Sure, the usual setbacks that happen as we age are inevitable. My uncle was an avid golfer and would at the age of 86-87 go and walk 9 holes at the golf course nearly every weekday.
My aunt, not so much. She used to leave the house and enjoy life with friends. During the lockdown, both my aunt and uncle suffered setbacks due to the inability to be active. My uncle was an engineer, teacher, businessman and a published author who was now in lockdown. This pandemic frustrated him more than he is willing to admit.
At first, this was alright. Do not go out because you are the number one target for COVID. Stay in, stay healthy. Unfortunately, the inability to continue their lives only deteriorated their health and has not kept them safe from the ravages of time and boredom.
Recently my aunt was in the hospital with various complications. We were not sure if she would make it. Then as soon as she got out, my uncle was admitted to the hospital, and he had some liquid around his heart but mostly it’s his state of mind that we are worried about.
What turned out to be a panic or an anxiety attack led to deeper mental health issues. He expressed that he does not want to live a life like “this.” I stress that… “like” this.
By a life like this, he means this life, this boredom, and this insanity we live in. All the precautions that keep him and his wife alive are killing them.
“This is not living, and it is not life,” he stated. I must agree with him knowing the type of man that he is. I can see how this is killing him slowly and causing mental and physical deterioration.
We can argue COVID, we can argue the right to life and to live. He does not want to take his own life or end it. He does not want to commit suicide, nor does he want to die. My uncle just does not like this life that has become his prison. If he were to die of COVID he would understand. Living in this state he does not.
My aunt and uncle were snowbirds and when they had to give that up it was a big blow. They came to terms with it. They understood, they were and are both intelligent older people.
Breakfast is done, and the rest of the day is pure boredom in a nice posh old age home. Yes, luckily, they are well off and can afford a place that has nurses and great staff, but it isn’t living. My aunt’s physical state has been reduced to a chair for 90 percent of the day. My uncle is more mobile, but he cannot go anywhere either because of the “fear” of COVID. Damned if you do. Damned if you don’t.
Die quickly or die of a slow death due to the pandemic?
Growing old sucks… we will all get there… but the process of death in this case if a slow torturous one that my uncle has not come to terms with. He worries about my aunt and now my aunt worries about him. Visitations and outings are at a minimum but at this point, my uncle has pretty much given up.
My brother visits the most and while we hope that with some change in medication and a change of mind my aunt and uncle will get better.
This is meant to be an alert of sorts. Do what you can to engage the elderly in some way, so their mind does not rot in this pandemic.
Show them they have something to live for.
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