My aunt died this week. It was unexpected. It is sudden. Nothing anyone could have done. She was alone in her condo. Busy with hanging photos, readying herself for a busy Tuesday. But then her life stopped.
Her biological age was 69. But she was young. Young enough to go to the recent Garth Brooks concert. Young enough to haul her hockey playing grandkids to the arena with all their equipment. Young enough to build sandcastles at the lake.
She drank almond milk and ate her veggies. She took her calcium supplements. She saw her doctor each year for a physical and all the routine labs and tests for her age group. The last time I saw her I learned she didn’t eat bread. She said she didn’t like it.
Last year she remodeled her kitchen with brand new cabinets, counter tops, appliances. She changed the layout, opened up the floor plan. She took a road trip to Mount Rushmore with her daughter. She worked as needed for the school’s Community Education department. This week she was painting her condo. She emailed her daughters photos of the progress. It wasn’t time for her go yet. She had plans. People to love.
I have been asked to speak at her funeral. I am one of three speakers, each of which represent a different facet of her life. I represent my aunt’s life as daughter and a mother, who she was within our family. She was my dad’s sister. And since my dad did not want to speak I feel as if I am representing him, too.
Dad doesn’t say much in these matters. He told me, when I asked for eulogy ideas, that when his sister was a teen, getting her to mow the lawn “was like herding a bunch of bulls” and then he laughed. Then he added that she was a talented organist for their church. He said, “There she was up in that balcony as a sophomore in high school …” He teared up then. I know he has other stories locked away. And I wonder how he would use them to pay tribute to his little sister.
I have plenty of stories of my own. And so I will get to writing.