Uncle Ern

11 09 2012

Sometimes when I write a blog post, I wonder if I’ve written the same story before, perhaps I have, but perhaps it’s also a kind of therapy, and I might get to say something I haven’t said before, so I’ll let it be.

This is about my Aunty Marion and her Husband, My Uncle Ern.

When I was a boy, Mum and Dad would drive out to Dandenong to visit My Aunt and Uncle now and then, it was a fair drive from Yarraville, so I didn’t get to see them all that often.

My Aunt was into everything, if there was a church do, or a social function, she was involved. There was often a photo of her in the paper of her doing something like that.

And My Aunt, as Mum used to say, “had been immunised with a gramophone needle” because she could rabbit on forever and nobody could get a word in, she would also go off on tangents and never arrive at the end of the story… a phone call from her would often last over two hours, but then Mum was at least partly to blame, they both got on really well.

My Uncle though, as I saw him at the time, was a grey old man who fumbled and mumbled and frequently spilt his tea on the table.

Uncle Ern had Parkinsons, and was very shaky.

He had once been in the Australian Army, and had been a Japanese prisoner of war, at Changi.

My Uncle was loved by my Aunt, My Mother (Sister to Ern) and My Sister, Jan.

But to be honest, He sort of worried me, I didn’t know how to deal with him, all he was, to me, was Uncle Ern, The Man who shook a lot… and I could never understand anything he said either.

Once I saw him weeping at the table as my Aunt told a long winded story, and then saw Mum and my Aunt fuss over him because he had “the tears again”.

Many years later, and I was almost grown up, and My Uncle had passed on.

A day came when we had visitors, it was My Uncles Son, Who is a Headmaster at a very nice Australian school, We had a chat out in the garden, just about random things.

He looked just like my Uncle, in every detail, but the shaking.

And you know what, He was brilliant, I really liked him… He was smart, jovial, quietly spoken… and it wasn’t until later that I realised that was probably who My Uncle was before he had Parkinsons.

This awful disease had robbed me of someone wonderful.

Please don’t get the impression that I was so callous as to not see the person, yes, I saw a person… but I never saw My Uncle, The disease had hidden him well away from me.

I’m unable to describe the feeling I’m left with, Bitterness? Perhaps.

I remember his tears, those weren’t just tears, they were the anxiety he felt when he spoke, but his mouth wouldn’t move right, so people just pretended to hear and would nod or smile, he couldn’t interact with the rest of us, I don’t think I could have coped with it… did he?

I’m sure I’ve told this story before, but it worries me deeply.
it’s not always in my mind, but now and then I get a reminder, and I think about it all over again.

There are others going through this, and I’d like you to consider the person underneath the shakes, you can’t always see them, but they’re there.

I am deeply bothered by people who willingly hold back stem cell treatments, by the nutters who raise a hand and say “Gods Law clearly says” oh for gods sake, fuck off, you people have no idea.

Let the doctors do their work, please.

Wolfie!

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2 responses

11 09 2012
730reportland

You`re right Wolfie .. the god bother`ers should just shut-up and fuck-off. They are also big opposer`s of medical marajana. It may have helped your uncle Ern with the shakiness if he could have had a puff on a joint.

Unfortunately the embedded media keep giving the god bother`ers the ability to megaphone their bullshit. Jim Wallace has been making an arse of himself this week, so of course QandaLand gave Peter Jensen a seat on the panel to defend Wallace`s anti-gay/cigarette bullshit. No mention of `pedo`priests being hidden by church management from the Laws of the Land that apply to the rest of us. GrrrrWoof.

11 09 2012
Wolfie Rankin

I could have added that my Aunt was very religious, but I think it was more of a sign of the times than anything else. You see, she was bought up in a very religious family, and was prevented from doing anything “normal” unless it was somehow connected to the church. Mum had a bit of that too.. very difficult to go to a dance, a show or the cinema… So everything my Aunt could grab, she took, if only to get out of the house,

But although she had this background, I think she would have swallowed down her personal feelings to see Ern put back in good order.

The other thing was that only a few of us were smokers, Ern wasn’t.

But again, perhaps if it did some good, he may have tried it.

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