My aunt is dead. She was 54, though that doesn’t seem possible to me. She seems so much younger in my mind.
I remember meeting her, my uncle bringing her around. She was the cool aunt, because she was younger than my others. I stood up in their wedding. She lived one block behind our house, so when I learned to ride my bike, I’d go over and say hello. At least until I was old enough to realize that dropping in like that isn’t polite.
She didn’t have her own children. My uncle has two boys they didn’t see much of, and I always wondered if she regretted being childless. I never asked her. She spent time with my mom, my sister and I, lots of girls day outs. In fact, my last trip home, my mother and my aunt and I all went to lunch. I’m devastated I didn’t get to say goodbye, but I’m glad I saw her fairly recently.
She was the adult I went to with issues I didn’t want to talk to my mom about. She was kinda ditzy, my uncle always made blond jokes about her, but she was smart in a lot of ways. Very neat, warm, friendly. She was the kindness that tempered my uncle’s anger, truly his other half. They would have celebrated their 25th anniversary just a few months from now.
The youngest of my aunts and uncles, I did not expect this call. It was very unexpected. Arm pain, shortness of breath, she fell just steps in the hospital and it was over. No suffering, which in my family, is indeed a blessing. My mother delivered the news, but I spoke with my uncle as well. Always the tough guy, he’s trying so hard to hold everything together.
I will never forget her laugh.