In the end, all the happenings and goings on in the household of my great aunt Carol and Hj made me very depressed and upset and I had a major panic attack one night and I was unable to sleep. I purchased my ticket to fly home just in time for my 27th birthday. This left me 2 weeks to tie up all the loose ends that I’d left hanging all over the place. I spent the day with my friend I’d made that summer and attempted to stay in her home until my flight time arrived. I was not able to secure a place to stay through her, but I was able to find a place through one of Hj’s friends whom had taken me out to Bingo a few times. I spent the night with her and she flipped out the next day and decided she was going to try to buy me another flight home to leave the next day. She was telling me that I needed to go home and show my mother that I was alright.
This was upsetting mostly because I’d been away from my mother all summer and she knew all of my plans the entire time and knew I wouldn’t make any rash decisions before letting her know. I had my reasons for remaining in Florida for that span of time and I had plans for it all. This woman was not about to ruin shit for me and so I took matters into my own hands and attempted to get help from my family in Tampa so that I could spend time there and be ready to fly home when the time came.
My last little stop before I left the town of Port Charlotte was to say my goodbyes to Hj and Carol before leaving. And of course to take all of my belongings I’d acquired over the summer and ship them home (I had purchased many souvenirs as well as items of clothing among other things). I made my way to the house over on Easy Street to face the music.
Hj was sitting outside in the sun when her friend and I arrived at the house. I told her I was leaving and she informed me that she was not surprised. I’d been discussing leaving with her for a time because I’d been pushing her to arranging a caregiver for her with all of her dementia issues and her stomach illnesses and I had done all I could I felt to help her. She told me she figured I was bored enough spending my days with a couple of old ladies and helping them out had drained me. I talked with her about how I’d panicked and would be going home shortly. I went into the house to gather my belongings.
I peaked into the Florida Room where the ladies spent their time watching television and looking out onto the canal just off their backyard where the small swimming spa was just outside the sliding glass doors in the room. My great aunt was lying on the small loveseat she tended to doze in most mornings after spending her nights awake due to her restless legs. She lay there now quite asleep. I made my way to the guest room which I’d made my home-away-from-home during my stay and began packing up my things as quickly and soundlessly as I could and taking them outside into the car.
Once I’d packed everything away, Hj and her friend told me I had to have a talk with Carol and say goodbye properly. I walked back into the house and woke Carol and told her I was leaving the house. She reacted defensively and began saying that she’d disappointed me. I told her that no, in fact she had not and that I felt that I had failed her. If I was truly the grown woman I thought I was, I would have come here and helped her as I’d promised from the start to do, rather than being an aid to Hj the entire time. Yes, I had assisted Carol in sorting through some of her papers and such, but I had been unable to help her sort through all her hoarded belongings and had been unable to sell anything. I had failed her completely and I felt it all the previous night when I had been unable to sleep. I told her that I’d been depressed all summer and had done the best I could to try to help her and Hj out as far as trying to convince them that they’d needed caregiving of some sort from a professional, but that all of this had been beyond me. I’d barely known these women for a mere 4 months. Who was I to them? A stranger. I had not felt like family to these women prior to my visit. I had short memories of my great aunt from the last time I’d seen her when I was about 6 years of age. This was the first time I’d met Hj and gotten to know her and basically the first time I’d had the chance to get to know my great aunt Carol.
I can happily say though, through all of the drama and heartache I’d felt over this summer of 2015, that I learned a great deal about these two wonderful, strong, women of this world. College graduates, feminists, and God knows just wonderful people in this world… I love them both. With all of my heart. I am so very happy to know them and have them in my life. Though they have always been far away from me, I know in my heart they are my family. I always will. They are there for me if I need them, and I am here for them just the same. I let them both know this upon my leaving. Yes, it was an upsetting end to the summer, but I honestly know that I left at a moment when I knew I had to remove myself from their home. I had spent time with them, learned about their lives, their struggles, their achievements… I was content in all this. I love them. I always will. One can only hope that family knows this. This is my hope. I love you Hj. I love you Carol. Know this. ❤