I honestly thought Uncle John was dead when we walked in-he had no expression (Parkinson's) and his eyes were fixed and unfocused. My first thought was "how am I going to explain this to Mom without upsetting her?" and then he blinked.
I told Mom later and she laughed and said "did you think I wouldn't notice if my brother were dead?" but I think she understood the impulse to protect.
Another bizarre event occurred while we were there. Mom was lecturing John on eating, and she began poking him in his ribs..."look, look at those ribs" but it was like she was talking to a baby...."they stick out further than my boobies"...."MOM" I wailed, to snap her out of it....and she said "oh, what, John knows about boobies" and I just said "I can't sit here and talk about your boobies with my Uncle". Unspoken, was the thought that someone who spent 20 years alone might not want his ribs poked, or maybe he did.
Now it's all kind of funny now, but at the time my brain just overloaded for a moment. It's kind of like shock therapy though, because I've felt better since, of course, it may have something to do with the bowl of ice cream I ate.
Yes, lap band and all, I still eat ice cream. But honestly, I don't justify it when I do-it's a treat, it's comfort food, I'm very intentional about it.
I had the ice cream after I got the call that Uncle John had fallen again. I worked out with the nurse a plan to at least make a wheelchair available even if he won't use it. Then I went down, told Mom about the fall and my odd reaction and we had a lovely discussion of dead bodies in the dining room in the olden days and a good natured row about my not wanting to be viewed when I'm gone.
We joke about it, sometimes crudely, but we all agree that now is the time to hold hands and poke ribs, not later.