Friday, September 16, 2011

The Pawtucket Cure

I am in the middle of moving back to Pawtucket. I was born in Pawtucket, but I have not lived there since I  left in 1966.  I lived in Providence from 1969 to 1984, and then I moved to Ohio where I lived until 2009. I have returned  to Rhode Island after a long time away. But I have always intended to return.  It is  my native place, and I miss it when I am away.
I  bought a summer  house in South County in 1999. and I have  spent my summers  here since then . In 2009 my life was  interrupted  by the sudden  fall and severe heart attack of my maternal aunt Anna.
She was living still in the house in Pawtucket that she and my mother and my sister had shared together  since 1968. Death decimated that happy arrangement when my mother died in 1997 and my sister soon followed her in 1998. That left my aunt alone, living in a tiny bungalow in Darlingon all by herself at the age of 79.  In fact, those years after 1998 were the first ones tin which Anna had lived alone. She had always lived with my mother--her older sister.  Although she was fearful of the change, she was determined to make it on her own and was fiercely independent. As her closest relative and my mother's only living child, I felt  responsible for her, called  almost daily, and visited from Ohio as often as my job and finances would allow.

2009 brought enormous changes-- when Anna was discovered on the floor of the house where she had fallen and suffered undetected for two days. When she was taken to Pawtucket Memorial Hospital, she was diagnosed with a severe heart attack that had destroyed most of her heart muscle. She  only had 15% of her muscle intact and pumping. I heard these details over the phone from a nurse in the Intensive Care Unit. Within hours I had left Ohio and was  on my way to Pawtucket. That was  April Fool's Day 2009. Little did I know that I would  never return to my job and that--ready or not --I had retired from  my  position that I had held for 25 years.

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