6 The Caretaker
Of the four siblings, only one had children. It was the wife of the eldest son who gave birth to a daughter. They were both already older than the age parents usually are when having their first-born. She was the only child and the only one to carry on the family genes to the next generation.
As the years went by, the siblings grew older. All four of them were born during a time span of ten years, and therefore everything happened to them almost at the same time.
One of the siblings, the younger brother, died of cancer in his seventies but the three others lived on.
Since they were from the same family, they also shared some of the same personality traits. One of these traits was utter stubbornness. And the other one was the willpower to survive on one’s own without the help of others. Especially when they all started having symptoms of dementia or even Alzheimer’s, these two sides became painfully obvious.
When they started having trouble getting to the grocery store, none of them wanted help from the outside. Not even when they started falling in their apartment, stumbling upon some thing or another and could not get up on their own. One of the sisters even claimed that an emergency phone would only be a way for the government to spy on her and refused to have one in her apartment.
So, the only one who could take care of these three siblings (and the wife of the eldest brother, because he was the only one who got married) and who was trusted enough not to release any information to the government, was the daughter of the eldest brother. Suddenly, in only a few years, the daughter had four elderly people with dementia to take care of.
It felt like a circus. It was a circus. Phone calls to different care-taking companies, and the same phone calls made again when the siblings declined to receive the help of the others. Visits to the homes of the siblings to make sure everything was okay and to keep them company, since they became more isolated as their condition deteriorated. And when someone would fall or become sick, it was the hospitals the daughter called to and visited.
It was crazy. But she was a person with a heart too big even for herself.
At the same time, as she made the phone calls and the visits, she secretly hoped for a relief. That even one of the siblings would leave this world and by that make her world somewhat lighter, easier to handle.
But since all of the three siblings shared the same stubbornness, they all lived on. Grinding their teeth and holding on to this world as both their memory and body deteriorated, making life hard for themselves – and for the daughter.
Luckily – if you can call it luck – the daughter had inherited the same stubbornness and even she held on. She would hold on, until one day all three of them would have died and she would be free to live her own life.
If there was one left for her to live.