Aunt Dee lives far away from home, in Texas, and I am the only relative who still speaks to her. She was the youngest of the four sisters and she is the only one with more than a high school education–Bachelors, Masters, and PhD.
Aunt Dee received dance lessons, music lessons, new clothes rather than hand-me-downs from the boy next door. There was money to pay for these things for her because relatives would send money especially for that purpose. Her father, my grandfather, who had always been self-employed, was old enough to be on Social Security. This meant that for the first time there was reliably steady income, and that the house was paid-off, having been purchased a couple decades before her birth.
Aunt Dee was the only sister still at home when Aunt Brenda was dying of cancer. Dee had a bird’s eye view of the ugly side of mortality at the age of fourteen. And no one actually told her what was going on. She found out what the deal was when, one Sunday in church, the minister asked everyone to pray for Brenda who was dying. Aunt Dee had gone to church by herself that Sunday because her parents were home caring for her sister. She was surrounded by friends, neighbors, and strangers, but no family, when the worst news of her entire life was suddenly announced from the pulpit. No one knew this had happened to her until recently. In my opinion, this event was a critical turning point in her development as a human being.
My mother often talked about the inequality between Dee and the rest of them. She loved her baby sister, but resented their parents for the differing ways they were raised. Now, though, Dee herself is resented due to her own adult flaws and foibles.
Aunt Dee has always been a remarkably cavalier person when it comes to the feelings and spaces of other people. For example, she has this thing she does with bathrooms. When I was younger she stayed with us a couple times during her years of world travels. She somehow managed to flood our bathroom during her shower every single day of her visit. My mother had a carpet in there which became soaked with each flooding and it created a ton of clean up work for my mother. No work for Aunt Dee, though, who would laugh and leave the house rather than help mop up the mess she made.
For several years she rented a very nice apartment in town. She disliked the landlords and would create floods in her bathroom that leaked downstairs into their home. She would just stopper-up the tub, turn on the shower full-blast, and leave for the day. This was funny to her.
She would regularly stay with friends when she moved to other parts of the country. They all ended up kicking her out and banning her from their homes.
Aunt Dee had a dog for several years that she allowed to piss on other people’s beds and couches. She would laugh and say, “They’re rich, they can buy a new one!”
She borrows money, never intending to pay it back.
She accuses other people of things that she actually does.
Since I am the only one in the family who will still speak to her, it has become my responsibility to alert everyone if I think she may have gone off the rails and become a danger to the rest of the family.
Aunt Dee was the sister with charm and charisma. She had opportunities the others lacked. She often received or just took what she wanted. I doubt she will change at this stage of the game because the things she does give her the results she desires. Even if her desires alienate every single person she has ever met or loved, I think it is likely she will live this way until she dies.