My aunt is in the process of dying. I heard the doctor said she may have a few days. Cancer. She is only 73 and the youngest of my aunts.
I remember her wedding day. I was eleven. She had a beautiful ball gown wedding dress that made her look like a Disney princess. It took four of my aunts to bustle the train so she could dance and sit down. At nineteen she was an exquisite bride, youthful and full of joy.
I was jealous of her. Not just because she was beautiful but because she had stolen my uncle’s attention. He was the youngest of seven children and he was a favorite among the grandchildren. He snuck us candy and let us read his “Mad Magazines” that he kept hidden in the closet.
She was the perfect foil to my goof ball Uncle and they had a comedic repertoire that made us laugh.
She was unable to get pregnant.
They adopted one son and then a few years later another son. Our kids are similar in age. She devoted herself to raising her children. They are on their way to her bedside as I write.
My aunt is a devote Catholic. She volunteered her time at her church and her faith has never wavered. She converted to Catholicism when she decided to marry my uncle. She found her spiritual home in the liturgy and practices of the faith. Her mother-in-law, my grandmother, was a devote Catholic and we both loved her. My aunt gave me my grandmother’s china a few years ago. She knew I would treasure it.
My heart is breaking for her and for my uncle. The death of a long time spouse is onerous.
I will always remember the beautiful bride, the sparkling laughter, and the love she freely gave to all of us. May her transition be peaceful and may all her love ones welcome her home.