My aunt died last night, my mother’s older sister. She was 83 and had lived a full life – nearly 20 years more than my mother. I will miss knowing she is “here”. Since my mother’s death, I have not seen my aunt as often as before, but I always knew she was there, there at the top of the familial lineage. She knew the answers to so many questions about long ago, about my mother, about their mother, about the contents of times past; that and she are gone.My mom would tell me how she was a teenager during WWII and how that was very difficult to spend those years of youth in wartime – she remembers her singing in the front bedroom of their tiny house, singing songs from sheet music and wishing things were different. I can remember so much about her life , the wonderful way she cooked fresh fish and baked sweet pies (tarts), and spoke French, and drank coffee in demitasse cups, and was my mom’s big sister, and mother to her four children, but one thing I remember most was her coming to my rescue when I was 39 and expecting a baby. I will not go into the story, but I hope she knows I still remember and am still thankful for her.
We all have our turn to die, just as we all have our time to live – it’s the living that is important and sometimes difficult, dying will come in its own time. Funny, but just today I read a quote by Emerson posted on the wall above the microwave in the building I work in, it said:
“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and to endure the betrayal of false friends. To appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” ( Ralph Waldo Emerson)
…my aunt succeeded.