Having a difficult time with my aunt and cousin

My cousin was born premature and nearly died and was left with some mild intellectual problems and also has bad vision and a blindspot. Then to make it even worse his dad died when he was 23 months old. As a result he was raised by his mother. While he does have problems with short term memory his biggest problem is his eyesight. He is now in his 40s.

Back in 2018 I needed a place to live and they also were having hardships so moved in with my aunt and cousin and it helped all three of us. Prior to my moving in my cousin would frequently have issues and was hospitalized in a mental hospital. Other than just after I moved in (this was caused by someone else) he has only had one hospitalization which I will get to shortly.

Back in October 2020 my aunt was hospitalized and nearly died with pneumonia. My cousin got into it with his uncle and wound up in the mental hospital. Honestly I did not expect my aunt to get out of the hospital yet the day before Thanksgiving she was able to come home. Since that time I have had the added pressure of dealing with my aunt and cousin. Also since then my aunt has been in and out of the hospital frequently always with pneumonia.

2021 it was once, last year it was three times. Saturday night I was at work and my cousin called and said that he had to call an ambulance for my aunt. Once again she is in the hospital with pneumonia but this time things are much worse. Her lungs are in terrible shape and yesterday she had a really bad day. I don’t know when she will be home and honestly I don’t know if she will come home. I would not be surprised to see her come home under Hospice care.

Right now I am having to deal with my cousin and also being concerned about my aunt. My cousin can at times seem like he is okay and other times not. I didn’t get much sleep last night due to having a lot on my mind and this morning we got out of the house for a bit. When we got home he decided to watch television and I wanted to be with him to offer support. However I decided that I wanted to take a nap and get some rest. I decided to post this as a way to clear my mind before getting some sleep.


Gosh that is a lot for someone to go through. It’s not easy seeing someone You love getting so unwell and having the uncertainty of their health, especially since she and You have been looking after your cousin.

You sound like someone who has an incredibly caring heart. I’d love to know how we can better support you in this time. I’m so grateful you’ve shared with us x

1 Like

Last night I got a big surprise, it was a phone call from my aunt and she had improved a lot. Today I got an even bigger surprise and that was them discharging her.

She is very weak but considering yesterday afternoon I doubted she would ever even come home. They are going to do home health which will help her build up strength.


That’s so wonderful to hear! I hope it helps her regain her strength! And I also hope it’s got You feeling a bit better about things too

1 Like

Several years ago I ended up on full life support from phenomena. It was so bad the doctor’s encouraged the decision makers to “pull the plug.” Luckily they didn’t and I made a nearly full recovery.

I still struggle with recurrent phenomena. My lungs are permanently scared it. To the point they can’t tell if I have it again without comparing chest x-rays.

My point is, keep your head up! Even when it looks bleak, keep your head up.

It’s ok to be scared. It’s ok to cry. It’s ok to question. Just keep your head up.

1 Like

From: Who.is

i can only imagine how stressed this has made you. You’re obviously taking care of your aunt and of your cousin which shows immense love and kindness. Have you been looking after you through this? How is your aunt since coming home? I hope you can find some support through this. We can only do so much for others until it burns us out.


From: djstarion

Hey Crash, thank you for sharing <3 It’s definitely a lot to take in especially with both your aunt and your cousin. It can be rough, but you also want to make sure that you’re taking care of yourself as well. People deal with situations, grief, anything really in different ways. I’m sending positive vibes to all of you and hopefully your aunt can get the best care possible during this difficult time. We’re here for you no matter what


Hi Crash,
thank you for reaching out. thank you for sharing.
that is a lot, that is really much. it is often that things add up to our own lives.
what you should never get out of your sight is that you matter most ! you need to take care of yourself too.
your mind and body is constantly under pressure, is constantly exhausted, how long can someone do that ?
all of that in going into your mind, and your mind is not managing that, from good to bad. you only have one mind.
it gets even more important, that in all of that, you need to be aware, that you give your heart for your family.
you give everything. you love and care for them.
besides that, do things that you love. hopefully you spend time with them also in enjoyment. for fun. for all of you.
clearing your mind here is good, get things out of it. shortly it is a relief for you, but at the long end things are
still waiting for you.
you are loved, and you matter most :purple_heart:
feel hugged


From: Lisalovesfeathers

Hi Friend, Thank you for your post, My goodness you are having to manage an awful lot right now arent you? I am so sorry that your Aunt is so very unwell and that your cousin is also having his problems dues to being born prematurely, that is incredibly sad and makes things even more difficult for you right now im sure. I think what you are doing for your family is so good and so kind and clearly if it wasnt for you now both of them would not be where they are as they would not be able to take care of themselves. Saying that, you too have to take care of yourself also. It is vital that your mental and physical health is cared for as you have to be well to be able to help them, you are no good for anyone if you are sick, not only that, you deserve a rest now and again. This is your life for the time being so start as you mean to go on, take time out to rest as often as you can. We are all here for you friend. Much Love Lisa. x

1 Like

Thank you everyone for your words of encouragement. My aunt currently is super weak yesterday evening she had to get my cousin to fix her a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. She also told me that right now she is not going to be able to cook but I enjoy cooking and have been wanting to bring back some things I used to cook and also wanting to try some new things as well.

As far as taking care of myself that is one area that I will admit hadn’t been doing. Saturday morning I realized I was dehydrated I have made it a point to drink more Gatorade and Powerade.

This evening I decided to go out to eat at a buffet. I didn’t know if I would get my money’s worth as I really haven’t had much of an appetite but I just needed some me time. I wound up eating the most I have eaten in quite a few days. I did not gorge myself though. I wound up leaving the most at ease I have felt since this mess started.

The biggest problem I have though is I am exhausted. Since Wednesday afternoon I have had maybe 24 hours of sleep. This morning when I got off work I had a ton of errands to run for my aunt. When I finally got home I still didn’t get much sleep. I am hoping that now I am much more relaxed I can finally get sleep.


All right. So my aunt is improving a bit. She is still needing help here and there, thankfully my cousin is able to help her a lot. Her lung problems have been caused by Pulmonary Fibrosis. Unfortunately it is one of those types of conditions where you treat the effects and not the actual problem. The average lifespan for people with it is 5 years and my aunt’s started in 2020. The earliest she could get an appointment with the pulmonologist was early April.

My cousin seems to be doing okay. He is aware of what is going on with his mom. Thankfully as I mentioned earlier he is able to help her. That being said there have been a few moments here and there that makes me wonder if he is going to need to go to a mental hospital again. Usually he is okay but occasionally a moment will happen that causes me to wonder.

As for me. I have gotten some much needed rest but still feel drained and really doubt I am getting the proper sleep. Yesterday I got angry with at the cashier at Arby’s simply because I thought he mistook me for a woman (I have a long beard and was wondering was he not even paying attention to me) but he was talking about an employee who was female. Thankfully I didn’t say anything. Then there was a second time where he told me they wasn’t doing a special at that location. Both were rather insignificant things but it concerns me that what is going on is taking more of a toil on me than I realize.

The last few evenings I have had moments where I felt like I was going to fly apart. Honestly I suspect the time change may be one factor but there are others as well. Several things relate to my aunt’s health and my cousin. Tonight was the worst fly apart moment yet.


Well yesterday I had a day from hell and today is setting up to be a sequel. About 7 this morning my cousin came to my door saying he needed to go to the emergency room because his chest was hurting. We went and they said his heart was okay and discharged him. I got home and everything was okay. Yesterday evening I went to church and decided to go to my favorite place to get train videos to post on YouTube.

I had not been able to go there for several months due to it being closed because of a major derailment back in December. Once I got done and started heading home I got to feeling bad. While some was physically a lot was mentally. I just wanted to get home and lie down.

After I did get home I did settle down and got to feeling better. Eventually I was winding down about to go to bed for the night. Once again my cousin was having chest pain. After a few minutes he decided he needed to go back to the emergency room.

Right now I am sitting in the waiting room. This television is getting on my last nerve. But that is not where the story ends. Today I have to take my aunt to two separate doctors appointment. My reward when I get done with that is to drive my cousin to Chattanooga during afternoon rush hour to a doctor’s appointment. Furthermore I have no clue what kind of appointments his repeated chest pain is going to lead to.


My cousin was put in the hospital and they found a tumor on his sternum. They did a biopsy and we won’t know the results until Thursday. He did get to come home a couple of days later.

Last week I had a rough start to the week but everything was settling down and I had started to have bit of optimism and then 30 minutes ago it happened.

I am at work and just got a text from my other cousin and my aunt had to go back to the emergency room this evening and once again it is the same thing it is every other time. As of right now I am about to lose it. I really feel like I want to right now just run up and down the road screaming.


The last three weeks have been hell for me. Two weeks ago my cousin had to have surgery to get the cancer out of his chest. In total it was about 6 hours long. The cancer was massive and they had to also remove some of his lung, the sac around the heart, and then since they had to go in the same way they would for open heart surgery they needed to reconstruct his chest. The next day my aunt got to come home. My cousin got to come home four days after the surgery.

The night before my cousin got out of the hospital I sliced my finger open and had to get stitches. Last week they wanted to do a biopsy of my aunt’s lungs to see why she was constantly getting pneumonia. So for the second week in a row I had to sit in the surgery waiting area of one of the local hospitals.

Also I had been getting a cough and last Wednesday I had to go to urgent care and they diagnosed me with bronchitis. When I got home that night my aunt was coughing a lot and wound up calling an ambulance. Thankfully my other cousin was able to go to the emergency room and I got to stay home.

Friday and Saturday nights I was miserable. Monday I had to take my cousin to do a follow-up from his surgery and he got a great report and will need no further treatment. Yesterday evening I felt like getting out and decided to get a crawfish boil. Everything was going great when my aunt knocked on my door and said she needed to go to the emergency room.

I sat in the waiting room all night long. They had a television blasting on HGTV that got on my nerves so bad. Then after all that they did nothing for her and sent her home. I got home , didn’t sleep much and then it was time for me to go to my doctor appointment. Thankfully this is quick and is basically getting medicine refills and getting the stitches in my finger removed.

Later today I have to take my aunt to a doctor in Chattanooga during morning rush hour to get her biopsy results. Then I found out Friday they want to see my cousin at his regular doctor. Next week he has another appointment with the same doctor.

Right now I am sick and tired of going to doctors. I am sick of waiting rooms. I am sick of having to drive to the big hospital in Chattanooga. I am sick of going to the rinky dink hospital nearby. If I never see HGTV again it will be too soon.

What I really want right now is just to get away. I am not talking about anything serious. I mean getting away from this mess for a few days. I don’t gamble but I have thought about going to Memphis for a day or two and staying at one of the casinos in Tunica. Right now though I would be content with a cave for a day or so.


As if things were not bad enough there was one thing I always had that would make me feel better and that was my cat. Anytime I was down I could pet her and it made me feel a lot better. Truth be told sometimes I felt like she was the only thing in this world that actually cared about me. Yes I know people do but still.

Two weeks ago she started getting to where she had little to no appetite. The earliest her vet could get to her was the following Thursday. Friday and Saturday she was doing somewhat better and I thought she was going to be okay.

Sunday she was in bad shape and when I got home from work Monday morning I expected her to be dead. She wasn’t and it being a holiday I struggled to find a vet open but did find an emergency one. She had fluid in her chest and they had to drain it. I got her home and I thought she was getting to be okay. She had ate more food than she had ate the previous few days combined and was acting more like her old self.

Tuesday evening she was back to not eating and was not even able to stand. I went to talk to my aunt and tell her what was going on and by the time I got back to my room she had died.

Now, I no longer have something that truly helped me. Plus I spent a bunch of money all for pretty much nothing. Right now I am physically, mentally, and emotionally broken. Plus I have guilt that I did not do everything I could for my cat.


Gosh things have been rough haven’t they? My word, my heart goes out to you.
Losing a friend is so so hard. And some people may say they are just pets, but they are so much more. They bring so much joy and friendship to our lives.

I can totally empathise with you, and those feelings of guilt are hard to navigate with the feelings of loss. This grief is very real and very very heavy.

I have the feeling you would do all you could to help your sweet cat. One thing that I hope helps you while you heal is to know that you have her the most loved life she could have asked for. They leave their prints on our hearts and fill them with love.

How is your cousin doing? It’s been a devastating period of time and I’m sure this recent loss has been scarring to an already very tough year

1 Like

My cousin is improving every day. He is still weak and his chest is still sore and it is going to take a couple of months for all of it to heal. Like I said they had to go in the same way they would for open heart surgery.

He is having swelling in his feet and Tuesday morning they did several ultrasounds on his heart and legs. That being said he has had this problem before and in the end they just put him on a water pill and I suspect that will be the case again. While I am concerned I am not really worried.

As for my cat I know I did all I could for her. I am still having a difficult time about the whole situation. Like I told my aunt losing her was not a punch in the stomach, it was a kick to the groin.


I’m glad he’s doing okay at the moment, I hope he continues to improve! It sounds like a very rough procedure to undergo! Hopefully he’s not in too much pain from it all.

Oh gosh, 100% you absolutely nailed it! Something I read recently is that the Hawaiians use the word kahu for a pet owner, but it means protector/caregiver.
And there is something so beautiful that we have been given a chance to protect this soul. It shows how deep the bind can be between man and animal.

1 Like

It has been a while since I have posted. After things seemed to be settling down all hell has broken loose. Every three years I have to do this certification test for my job. There are two parts a written part and a skills part. The written part I didn’t worry about as I usually do good on it the skills part is what terrifies me. The written part I got a 100 on but the skills they don’t tell you whether or not you pass. You have to wait until the company tells you. As a result last Wednesday afternoon I was super anxious because I knew a mistake I made. About 5 I got an email from my employer saying I had passed.

While it did settle me down all the anxiety took its toll on me and I wound up having an anxiety attack on the way to church that night and this was after I found out I passed.

This afternoon I was feeling good. One of my favorite streamers was going to be live for the first time in months. After church I had planned on getting boiled crawfish and then watching said stream. I like watching railcams which are webcams next to railroads and tomorrow they had two new locations they were debuting. Then of course.

This afternoon my aunt and cousin went to Cracker Barrel for an early supper. When my aunt got home she wasn’t feeling good. I tried to talk her into letting me take her to the emergency room but she wouldn’t go. She got to feeling better then this evening. I wound up staying home from church because I was concerned about her. Because it was raining I decided to just get a fish sandwich at Burger King. I did get to watch the stream but about 11 my aunt got to feeling bad and once again she didn’t want to go to the emergency room.

About an hour ago my cousin knocked on my door telling me my aunt fell into the bathtub. I tried to get her up but wasn’t able to. As a result I called an ambulance. To make matters worse it really got to my cousin. Thankfully I was able to settle him down. My aunt was complaining of neck pain. Right now I am once again sitting in the waiting room and am on the verge of an anxiety attack. I am anticipating them admitting her.

Update:My aunt doesn’t remember getting out of bed but she is doing better. They are going to admit her it seems. My cousin also is doing better.


Once again my aunt has pneumonia and right now I am at my breaking point. Thursday evening my cousin thought he was having appendicitis so I had to take him to the ER. What was on my mind though was someone I knew was having appendicitis-like symptoms and it turned out to be colon cancer. So Thursday night I got to sit in the emergency room for hours. Thankfully though it wasn’t anything serious.

When I got home I could not find my key to the truck and I went into a super panic because a replacement key is over $100. Thankfully I did find it. My aunt isn’t doing good right now and I just am beat in every way. Even before all hell broke loose I had originally thought about having a me day. Maybe riding a heritage railroad as I like trains and haven’t ridden one since 1994 when I was 9. Unfortunately my cousin doesn’t want to and my aunt being in the hospital means he will want to go with me nearly anywhere.