I still remember her house vividly;
It was always messy, clothes and toys littering the floor
While the cats wandered by whenever they pleased.
There was a beautiful doll's house that she cherished so much
That she let me play with as she spoke to my parents in the kitchen.
Guitar-playing was a passion of hers,
And I'd sit, transfixed, as she sang along to the songs she played,
With a wide grin on her face, that was her home.
Now it's not.
It's never going to be her home again,
Because now she lives in a home for old people with health problems.
She had a breakdown after the death of her sister
And no-one could give her the help she needed, so she went away
Where her loved ones thought she'd be well looked after.
There the staff kept her locked in her room,
Mind atrophied from the solitude they forced upon her
Except for the times they shoved antipsychotics that she didn't need down her throat.
No-one visited her. How could they?
Her son insisted she stay in her home city
Even though everyone in the family lived in another.
My mother couldn't see her own sister, busy being a carer for me and her mother,
Not for years, and by then it was too late.
She'd fallen over, broken her hip and banged her head,
And she suffered through the agony for three days,
Until my mother found out and demanded they take her to hospital.
Then the home was shut down and she lives somewhere else,
Only five minutes away where she's visited often.
But it's all too late.
Once lively, outgoing, big booming laughter that filled the hallways,
She's now timid and frail, she's aged twenty years in only six.
There are no passions, only forced smiles
Dotted here and there, on rare occasions, with genuine glimpses of happiness.
And I'd love to tell you that I'm writing this for her,
Because I love and miss her and want to document the downfall of a woman so wonderful.
But I'd be a liar, because this write is as much about me as it is about her.
Every time I look at her, I can't help but wonder how long I have left
Until I'm in the same place as her.
A brief summary of my auntie's breakdown, and my own selfish reflections on the subject.