Dear Aunt A,
I know you’ve only been gone for a few days. But we miss you already. Somehow, I know that you will keep an eye on us from wherever you are. You probably already know that your brother-in-law will be joining you soon. He went to hospice on the day of your wake. And, as you know, your sister is very ill. Please, please look out for her.
And most of all, please look out for your brother, my dad. He misses you, and it’s not going to be easy for him to lose both of his sisters, plus his brother-in-law, all within a few months. His health is not good, and we worry about him.
You are all too young for this. Life is not fair.
. . .
Your funeral was beautiful. You would have loved it. I was sort of waiting for you to breeze in, poised and cheerful, always knowing the perfect things to say to everyone.
The monsignor is brilliant, and I can see why you liked him so much. Your “work family” is lovely – I have heard so much about them from you through the years, but I didn’t really know that they were such great people until the evening of your wake. You were so loyal to them, and they are so loyal to you. I’m not sure if these sorts of work relationships really exist very much anymore. It makes them even more special.
Your nieces and nephews were all there too. It struck me that my cousins are always the same good-natured people that I’ve known for most of my life, even though we’ve grown apart through the years. This week, they have a lot on their minds, and I saw the pressure in their eyes.
. . .
You are my role model for being strong and independent throughout and after this divorce. Even at the wake and funeral, I learned new things about you, and I have tucked them away to guide me as I move forward. I wish I heard these things directly from you, but as the Monsignor said, “A didn’t brag.”
Once you said we were both going through hell, but there was a silver lining for me. My hell would end eventually when my divorce was final. But you knew you wouldn’t have that kind of ending. And that is why you took things day by day.
As the Monsignor said, “A didn’t complain.”
A, I hope that wherever you are, you can plant tea roses and smell the sea, and that your body is light and strong and young again. This is the way I will always remember you, tan and glowing, on gentle little Sea Street Beach.