Saturday, July 31, 2010

Visiting relatives from the past

I received a card back in June from my aunt, J. She was telling me she would be in this area at the end of July and would love to see me. I had meant to e-mail her, but my schedule got really crazy in June and July, so I had forgotten until my mom called me last week, wanting to know if I had talked to J.

I haven't talked about J. must here except for in this post awhile back talking about older women wait eating disorders. If you do not feel like reading that post, here's a basic recap on J.: J. is my mom's younger sister. I've known her since I was very young, however, I have not seen her in at least 15 years or so. We have corresponded here and there through cards and letters, but that's about it. J. is now retired, volunteers at a thrift shop and does therapy dog work, agility, and rally with her shelties. Before this, she was a schoolteacher and very unhappy, mostly due to dealing with administration.

When I was in the throes of my eating disorder, I had suspected J. had anorexia. We had one conversation about it, but that's all that has even been mentioned of it. She never admitted to having anorexia, saying that she did not fit the textbook definition. Of course, I retorted back with that just because someone did not fit a definition did not mean someone did not have the disorder. I don't remember much after that, but we were both teary. I asked my mom after that conversation her thoughts on J. All she said was that they always thought of J. as rigid--that she had always been like that her entire life. Then, I asked why no one ever sought help for her or why not at this point. Why was I somehow more deserving of help than J.? This never really made sense to me, though I know my mom and others probably thought that since I was younger, it would be easier for me to turn around than J. who most likely already had ingrained thoughts and feelings.

J. and my uncle D. will be stopping by tomorrow morning on their way back to VA. This won't be a lengthy visit, but still, there is a bit of awkwardness. Will J. still be how I remembered her--thin, gaunt, aged? Or will she look healthier? What will her thoughts be of me? (she never saw me at my worst, so it will be hard to gauge from any pre-existing appearance other than from when I was a young girl)

Of course, this is just one thought that has run through my head, and it's not my main focus, just curious to see I guess. I plan on showing J and D. the house, letting them meet my dogs + G (Cammy's dog--still away on her trip), and the facility where I work.

In the meantime, I have a lot to do by tomorrow--cleaning, vacuuming, laundry, organizing, dog stuff, etc. I'll keep everyone posted how it goes.

2 comments:

The_Timekeeper said...

I hope that the anticipation of your aunt's visit is worse than you imagine. She may have evolved, as you have, or she may be as entrenched and rigid as you remember. Since she *is* older, Aunt J. likely *will* look older beyond whatever toll nutritional status may have taken. If you can keep compassion for her close, either way, it might be easier to spend time with her and avoid feeling triggered or uncomfortable. At least you have dogs and family to talk about, and she will be on her way soon. I hope all goes as well as it possibly can and that you feel OK after she has left.

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