It’s always a sad time when a family member passes. It’s also a time for reflection on memories and realizations. You realize life isn’t forever and you need to make something out of yours.
Friday my great aunt Betty – my grandma’s sister – passed away after a short stay in the hospital. She was 81.
I know a lot of people never have the chance to know or be around their great aunts (uncles). I was one of the lucky ones who had the chance to grow up in a rather large extended family. My grandma was basically a second mom to me. Her two sisters (my great aunt Betty & Nancy) were always around. They would come for cookouts in the summer, random visits, and events.
Every year – until my grandma got bad – they would come and take my grandma out for the day around her birthday. It wasn’t much. Since my grandma was in a wheelchair they went to our mall for the day. Always ending the trip with getting pretzels at the pretzel shop.
Christmas Eve we were allowed to open one gift, it was always the gift my great aunt (Betty) & Uncle (Fred) bought us. It was never anything huge, but it was always something great. One year she made me a patchwork stuffed pony. I still have it, it’s in storage with the rest of my stuffed animals from childhood.
At the calling hours I realized how everyone has aged.
Her husband is now walking with a cane. As he sat, alone, by her casket he looked so lost and lonely. I hope within the next few months he’s able to find things to keep him busy and get out of the house. I’m honestly worried for him. They were married for 60 years – something a lot of people never get close to sharing with someone.
My other great uncle is now in a wheelchair and has memory issues. It honestly made me sad to see him like that. He was always my favorite and someone of very few words.
My family is a bit weird. We always find things to laugh at during things like this. Calling hours was basically a family reunion. A lot of catching up, and a lot of stories. Stories that end in laughter. Laughter keeps us from crying, which we know she wouldn’t want us to do.
Saturday morning when I found out of her passing, I noticed two small white butterflies outside my bedroom window. I’ve never seen these little guys before. To me it was an odd kind of sign, it was her and my grandma. They were fighting over the same flower.