Saying Goodbye

My Aunt died today. I’m too tired and worn out to tell you how precious she was to me in beautiful, heartfelt prose. So, instead, I’ll just list what I remember about her.

She liked to take me to “town” with her when I was little, and she bought me bags of peanut clusters, in a white paper bags from the JCPenny soda fountain

I have several Afghans she knitted — she was very precise and her eye for color was very good.

Out of all of my 12 or so Aunts and Uncles, she still brought me Christmas and Birthday presents, even after I was “too old” for them.

She had 3 children of her own. Her oldest daughter died when she was a senior in High School in a car crash. I was very small when Joyce died. I still have Joyce’s sweater — it’s a sage-green, the fuzzy wool from the 60s, that her Mom knitted for her. My Grandmother used to keep some of Joyce’s hair in an envelope on her dresser.

After that, she always used to say, “God never gives you more than you can handle.”

She stood up with me at traffic court. I got a speeding ticket before I was 18, and it was required by law that you appear in person to get a lecture from a judge. I was terrified to go; so she went with me.

I lived with her for a little while when I was putting myself through college. I used to get home around 11 at night. She always waited up for me, and my dinner plate was waiting. She would warm it up in the microwave, pull herself from the nightly news and sit with me while I ate.

She had diabetes, and was in very poor health most of her life. But never really complained about that.

Once, when I had the flu, and was “overwhelmed” (Ha!) with only two boys to take care of, my Aunt and Mom came over to help me. My aunt came down with the flu the next day.

When she was about 10 years old, she picked up the hurricane globe of their oil lamp. She didn’t realize it was hot. She was afraid to drop it, because they couldn’t afford to replace it. So she kept it in her hand until she walked over to the bed to drop it safely on the bed. She had a pretty bad burn.

Two years ago, when my Mom was in the hospital, my Aunt and her daughter came over to visit my Mom. They stopped on the way to pick me up to come along with them. (My Mom was 15 years younger than her.) When my Aunt climbed the steps of my patio, she fell, and gashed her head open. The EMS was called, and she was taken to the same hospital where my Mom was being treated. They kept my Aunt at the hospital overnight for observation — she thought she’d see my Mom in the morning. My Mom died that night in the hospital. I was by her side. I always liked the thought that her sister was under the same roof with her too.

Her “sugar” was not right, and her doctor wouldn’t release her from the hospital. So, she got up out of her bed and left on her own. How could she miss her sister’s funeral?

It’s not coming through here — maybe I’ll do better in another post — with a photo of her — but she was very, very funny. Very silly. And you couldn’t spend time with her for very long without laughing very, very hard — at absolutely nothing. I can remember several moments with her, her daughter, and my Mom — the four of us, laughing that contagious laugh, hoping we would not pee our pants.

I’m grateful that she died uneventfully, in her sleep.

If anyone from my home town is reading this, please save the Examiner for me, as I’d like to have a copy of her obituary. Her name was Helen. Thanks.

Read more: Processing
and Seasons

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12 comments on “Saying Goodbye
  1. I’m very sorry for your loss SusieJ…she sounds like she was a very special person, extra good at the Auntie gig. That’s great that she passed so peacefully, and that she is remembered so fondly by you, and I’m sure many others.

  2. It’s coming through just fine. What a perfect elegy for a loved one. Would we could all have such an impact in our loves. Sorry for you loss. Mike

  3. What a lovely tribute to someone you cared for very deeply. Sometimes it’s not necessary to form the perfect words. Your love for her is clear.

  4. I loved reading about your Aunt Helen. she sounded like a very special person. And it shows how much you cared for her.

  5. Pingback: Processing - susiej

  6. Susie, that was beautiful. What wonderful blessings you have from your Aunt Helen & your memories of her! Thank you for sharing.

  7. Pingback: Seasons - susiej

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