My Aunt Alice passed away last week.
She went into the hospital to have shoulder surgery and within seven days took her last breath.
It was shocking. Sad. And I am so sorry I couldn’t be by her side as her family struggled to let her go.
I don’t know if I am very different than most people. For me, death brings up…well, death.
All the death that is still swirling around in your insides. All the death that is, even in the smallest way, unresolved. All the death that you don’t want to face or deal with or you still pray never happened. Death does that to me. It reminds me of what was, what is, what could be.
My Aunt Alice passing is one more tie to my mother that is now severed.
No more tidbits about how my mother was with my father (and without him). No more stories of how I used to sing on the street corner. (Hey, watch it. I was only ten!) No more going upstairs to grab something of my mother’s she forgot she had.
On one trip out to the family farm, my Aunt Alice handed me a vase that my mother painted bright green and teal in pottery class (it has her initials on the bottom with a crack in the stand. Who cares about the crack? My mother made this! Touched this!)
On another trip, she pulled out the orange and brown triangle shaped plastered artwork that had those concaved birds in flight. You know the ones? Those birds hung in my parent’s living room as long as I can remember. Sure, they were from the 60’s but I proudly took them under my arm and shipped them back to California with me. I love those darn brown and orange birds.
Those two mother-infused objects are the only things I’ve been gifted with from any of my relatives and they mean the world to me. (Oh, my cousin Eva also gave me my mother’s letters that she wrote to her only sister. That’s for another time. Boy, the stories those letters tell….)
Aunt Alice, knowing I was scavenging for anything of my mother’s, handed them over with delight.
Thank you Aunt Alice for being such a gift in my life and giving me so many gifts.
The gift of friendship.
The gift of laughter.
The gift of connection.
The gift of family.
So many gifts.
So much love.
That love lives on in your five children and everyone you have ever touched.
I am grateful for you. I love you. Let me be worthy of your memory.