This will appear in print this month.
The greatest gift I have is my mind. One of my worst fears is to be trapped in my own mind with no way to communicate my thoughts to the world. That would literally be hell on earth for me.
I cannot describe the horror, and then rage, I felt when I discovered my uncle living like this.
When I first found him I was under the mistaken impression that he was terminally ill, and on his last days. I have since found out that he suffered a stroke at some point. He’s mobile and feeds himself but they tell me that he can’t communicate. He has been in a palliative care centre right here in Cambridge for at least a year with no-one knowing.
It’s not as if Uncle Robby, better known as John Ferguson, is a newcomer to Cambridge. A lifelong resident of Galt, he retired from Sheldon Engineering when they closed. A bachelor who always lived alone he moved to a retirement centre in Kitchener several years ago, but still came home to visit when he could.
His father, Jack, was a war hero, having been awarded the Military Cross. His Grandfather, Archie, sat on Galt City Council in 1918. Our family has been here since 1850. Although my brother and I are his closest blood relatives he is also related more remotely to well established local families such as the Bennetts and the Frasers. People in this city know who he is.
When I hired Susan Bridges as our Golden Years columnist it was because of the large number of people I know with aging parents, not because of anything I anticipated needing personally. I can’t thank Susan enough for her help through this nightmare, and for what is to come.
We’re going to find out what happened with Uncle Robby so hopefully we can help prevent it in the future. If someone who is this established in the city can slip through the cracks I have to wonder how many more people like him are out there. While Susan attempts to untangle what is certain to be a huge bureaucratic Gordian knot, I have something more important to do.
They tell me that Uncle Robby can’t communicate. I’m going to prove them wrong
If you have an eldery relative you haven’t heard from in awhile it might be a good time to give them a call.