Auntie Julie: Murdered? Part II

In November, 1998 – the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, to be exact – we were called to the hospital by my Aunt Mim’s husband’s second wife. Her name was Jozia.

Jozia called my mom, my mom’s sister, and my siblings and cousins to the hospital late that afteroon. We were told Auntie Julie was dying, and wasn’t expected to live through the night. Considering that Auntie Julie had had a pacemaker installed in June of that year and she was 89 years old, it wasn’t that outwardly unlikely that this could be true. Only, because my mom and my aunt were the ones who usually took Auntie to her doctors’ appointments and helped her out in general, it did seem a bit odd that Jozia would be the one taking Auntie to the hospital.

Then again, Jozia had been kind enough to hire a Polish-speaking caregiver for Auntie Julie, and none of us besides Jozia spoke Polish. That must’ve been why the caregiver called Jozia instead of my mom or my aunt. (Remember, we were still unaware of the financial shenanigans at this point.)

We all rushed to the hospital as soon as we could; since Auntie Julie hadn’t married or had children, she treated us as the grandchildren she never had and appeared at all family functions. This was not a distant relative we hardly knew.

My brother (still sane, at this point) was the first to appear because he worked nearby. He arrived just as Auntie’s doctor was exiting her room. My brother pulled him aside and asked him how bad she was, if she was suffering, etc.

The doctor looked at him quizzically and said, “Well, she fainted because her high blood pressure medicine was too strong, and she seems to have a sinus infection that moved into her ears, but she should be fine in a couple of days.”


As we all arrived, it became clear that Auntie Julie was not only not dying, but in good spirits. We were all laughing and joking and Auntie even slapped my uncle’s hand when he tried to take the crocheted turkey my cousin’s daughter had made in school, snapping, “Don’t touch my turkey!”

My sister arrived last because she had been at the dentist getting some sort of oral surgery. She arrived, the right side of her face puffed up like a blowfish, only to be laughingly told that it was a false alarm; Auntie Julie was going to be fine! Go up and see her; she’s laughing and joking! We had a little mini party in Auntie Julie’s room that night.

After a warm chorus of “See you tomorrow’s!” And “Don’t touch my turkey’s!”, we departed the hospital.

Jozia stayed behind.

Imagine our shock as we arrived at my mom’s house the next morning, to be told, “Auntie Julie died last night.”

We were utterly stunned.

It turns out we were all thinking of the fact, yet nobody dared speak it, that Jozia had been a nurse until retirement, and that she was an insulin-dependent diabetic. And that she was the last person in the room that night.

It gets even more interesting at the funeral.
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