Every family has a “Crazy Aunt.” You know what I’m talking about, the one that seems to come from a different stock.
Well, I claimed my 72-year-old crazy aunt at 3 am on a train with everything she owned one morning.
Aunt Susie was the middle child of five born into a hardworking Irish/Swedish Chicago family in 1943. Her parents (my grandparents) held high standards and had high expectations for their children. Work hard, go to school, and have a steady job. Aunt Susie accomplished none of these goals.
Mind you – I loved her. She was my Godmother and as a child always made me feel special. Aunt Susie would send notes or write poems for special occasions instead of sending gifts. Every birthday she would call and sing “happy birthday” to me. I only saw the good in her. However, there was a dark side. She was easy to like, but hard to love.
Married and divorced three times (that we know of) she did not provide a stable upbringing for her children.
She stole, lied, and pretty much disregarded the ten commandments. As she grew older, she lived alone off a stipend from her last husband. Her health declined and she shunned family and friends. Aunt Susie became a hoarder.
Her younger brother, Brian, found her. He is the one that put her on that train to Arkansas. I was her last stop. We placed Aunt Susie into assisted living. I had no health records for her, but later discovered she had COPD, bipolar schizophrenia, and alcoholism. She did not like her oxygen tank and only used it “when she needed it.” She hid cigarettes and did not take her medications.
Over the next few months, I saw firsthand the dark side of this once glowing woman.
As her health quickly declined, she became bound to a wheelchair, incontinent, and downright mean. Then she had a big fall.
In the intensive care unit, the staff had to secure her to the bed. The trauma to her head did not help her already fragile mental state. She screamed and shouted obscenities while pulling on her restraints. This went on for what seemed hours. My mother, Aunt Susie’s older sister, could not handle the noise and left to go to the hospital’s chapel.
I stayed and prayed the Divine Mercy chaplet for her at 3 pm.
Upon completing the prayer Aunt Susie’s demeanor changed. Her face, glowing with a joy I hadn’t seen in years, looked up. She turned to me and stated, “I feel so much love here! I’m so happy!” Then she dropped her head for the last time.
This experience taught me that Jesus Christ truly loves us. We are all children of God and live varied lives. Our paths to heaven look very different. We must remember that Christ Jesus is the victorious one and wants to share His victory with us.
1 Cor 15:57
“But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”