Monday, March 22, 2010

Sadness, relief, and awareness

My great-aunt, Auntie Edith, died this weekend.  She had Parkinsons and had not been doing well for some time.  She lived in a care home for the last numerous years and every day was a struggle for her.

The family was called last Sunday to say she would not last the night.  When I talked to Grandma that Wednesday, she told me that Auntie was still hanging on though there seemed no reason for it.  Actually, Grandma's words were "She just won't die!

I talked to Grandma again today after Auntie passed away. There was relief that Auntie wouldn't suffer any longer, and there was sadness because she was Grandma's sister.  As much as sickness and old age make death a more reasonable and expected affair, there is still that relationship that makes time disappear.

They were sisters.  Sharing a room, playing outside, gossiping and giggling sisters.  There were 5 sisters in the family -- the four youngest were close as can be.  Now one of that tight group is gone and there is a knowledge that the rest are not far behind. 

 Bea (Grandma), Jean, Philby, Edith, & Margarette -- 1976

Someday, that will be us.  Someday, we will call our children and grandchildren to say our sister is gone.  Then, we'll forget we told anyone and call 15 minutes later to share the news for the second first time.  Someday, our childhood closeness will be separated by sickness and death.  We will be thankful for our time together and sad for our loss, but there will be more than that.  The special relationship that is between sisters will be lost.  And, because we're old, our grief will be lessened than if it were now.

Someday, I hope to be able to say of my sisters, "They just won't die!"


  1. That was beautifully said. I appreciate your insight; made me cry just a little. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Sorry to hear about your aunt.
    You made me cry too.

  3. You kinda made me cry. And by kinda I mean... yes. Conversations with my grandma make me realize this more often than I'd like. An old lady at church dies and I, knowing she had been sick, take it in stride. Then my grandma pulls out the photo albums and talks about that same old lady worked in the restaurant with her, and used to win all the three-legged-races. Next thing I know, I'm accidentally mourning my friends and siblings.

  4. Beautifully said! It's sad to have lost another one of our dear Aunties.

  5. I love how you snuck in the humour with Grandma calling 15 minutes later to tell you again.

    When she called to tell me, three times she said, "Now, why did I call you again?"

  6. Oh, what a beautiful post. You really hit a nerve. I'm close with my sisters and this made me want to cry. I want to freeze time and never get older!

    I'm sorry about your auntie.

  7. Everyone: It's a sad subject for sure. I felt bad for Grandma.

    Ky: And then guess who called moments later to "make sure I'd heard the news"? MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS, OLD WOMAN.

  8. You'll be all "They JUST won't die" and then you'll talk about your puppy's new haircut because, really, what could be more important?

  9. I'm sorry your great-aunt died. :(
    I am also impressed that you managed to make me sadder and sadder about the whole shebang until that last sentence when I may or may not have whooped in laughter.

  10. Thank you. I wanted to write something but you did it better. She was my Aunt Edith long before I even met your mother and I was 8 when that happened. I was named after Uncle Allen. Mark and I got into as much or more trouble together as your Uncle Lorne and I. Aunt Edith was a wonderful person. Now she is at peace after the past few years which were so hard.


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