Angie’s sad news did not come as a surprise, for I knew that her Aunt Lou had been receiving hospice care for about a month. I knew about her Aunt Lou’s struggles with cancer and dementia. I knew about her Aunt Lou’s love of poker and television programs about wrestling. I knew about her Aunt Lou’s fondness for chocolate ice cream. I knew about her Aunt Lou’s desire to sit on the sofa with their new dog Roxie at her side. But what I did not know was her Aunt Lou’s legal name, so this morning I asked Angie. Aunt Lou’s legal name, Angie told me, is Louise Marie Daniels, but as far as I am concerned her real name is Aunt Lou.
Five years ago Angie opened her home to her Aunt Lou. At the time, Angie was already caring for her mother, who was in declining health. However, Angie knew that her Aunt Lou needed help, so Angie stepped up as Angie always does. Angie and her brother Pat took turns looking after their Aunt Lou. They included her in their family activities and celebrations. They played poker with her. They listened to her stories about growing up in the coal-mining country of West Virginia. Angie wrote about her Aunt Lou’s colorful stories in a recent blog post. Here is the link to this posting: https://pages.charlotte.edu/angie-williams/blog/2017/05/16/tell-me-about-the-good-ole-days/
Angie often refers to herself as a caregiver when she talks about her relationship with her Aunt Lou, but I don’t think that this word fully captures this side of Angie. It is true that Angie provided her Aunt Lou with the care that she needed, but she also provided her with acceptance, love, and a place to call home.
For most Americans, Memorial Day is a paid holiday, but not for the staff at UNC Charlotte. If staff members want to stay home and observe Memorial Day, they need to deduct the hours from their vacation time. I objected to this practice in the Monday Missive that I wrote last year at this time, and I still object to it. For many staff members, Memorial Day has a deep, personal meaning. UNC Charlotte should recognize the significance of this special day by making it a paid holiday for the staff.
Quirky Quiz Question — Angie’s Aunt Lou grew up in West Virginia, and she will be buried in Montgomery, West Virginia. One of the major cities in West Virginia has the same name as a major city in South Carolina. In this tale of two cities, what is the name that these cities have in common?