Daily Archives: November 2, 2009
The world lost a good lady yesterday morning.? My aunt died, leaving behind my uncle and her two adult daughters, Lisa and Becky, my cousins.? My mother, her best friend since childhood, remains as well, along with us kids and my dad(and a host of other family members and people that I am not listing for brevity’s sake).? Aunt Linda and my mother married brothers you see.? Of course it was destiny that this little ball of steel and determination be my aunt.
My?whole life is laced with memories of this woman; my parents did a lot of things with Uncle Fred and Aunt Linda.? We went out to their house to visit, they came to ours, everyone?dragging their children.? We played outside until dark,?either at the park by our house, or in their yard (don’t go near that berry patch!) at their house in the country.?
The older we got, the better we got to?know them…and?it’s odd, because this is supposed to be about Aunt Linda, but like my sister?Andrea said “How do you talk about?them apart, it’s always been Uncle Fred and Aunt Linda.” And that’s true, they were married for over 35 years…how do?you seperate them in memory, one from the other? I really can’t.? Oh sure, there’s things that each of them did seperately, but on the whole it was always the two of them.??Going to a function at?my grandmother’s.? Coming to my parent’s house to visit.? Going shopping.? Rarely?one without the other.??
Moving into our adult years, we cousins were not really close.? Lisa got married and moved to Grand Rapids.? Becky got married and moved next door to her parents.? We kids all got married, moved, divorced, or almost married.? Life happens.? You think things are normal and everything is?as good as it can be.? We didn’t talk as cousins much, keeping up with each other mainly through our mothers.? (We started to connect much more with the advent of Face Book; infact most of the Fisher cousins, the girls anyway, talk quite a bit, far more than without it.)
Then cancer happens.? In this case small cell cancer, that moved and ravaged quickly.? 7 months start to finish, with chemo, radiation, and I’m?not sure what other kinds of treatment in?between.? Before the cancer, Aunt Linda was an incredibly hard worker.? I mean holy cats.? That woman put in hours and hours to support herself and my uncle, who has had some pretty horrible back problems over the years.? Now he has Parkinson’s Disease on top of that…so while he works too, he has to watch it.? She took care of him.
She didn’t get to enjoy her “golden years”.? She didn’t get there.? Sixty is an incredibly young age to die.? Perhaps I say this because I’m 40 and I can see it coming.? But sixty isn’t old folks, by any stretch of today’s imagination.? It makes me sick to my stomach and angry that she never got to enjoy a retirement.? To travel.? The first time she had ever been on airplane is when she went down for cancer treatments.? She deserved at least that much. At least.?
This is the circle of life.? It happens.? I’m still processing this, and trying to understand why since last week I have been randomly bursting into tears all over the place.? It’s not the reaction I expected…I have dealt with death before, I cry, have a good cry, shed some tears at the funeral and I’m done with it.? Occasionally cry when a fond memory comes up.? But over all, deal with it the same way every time.? This time is different.? I don’t know if it’s because I am seeing my own parents’ mortality or what.? I really think that might be some of it.?
?I do know that I wish I could have known Aunt Linda better as an adult.? Her death has made me realize one thing (probably the first of many things): if we want to know someone well, the onus is on us to make sure that happens.? Life is busy for everyone.? If getting to know someone better is a priority for you, then act accordingly.? Don’t wish it away, because you don’t know if that person will be here six months from now.? Take the time to get to know them…make contact, let them know you are thinking of them.? My cousin Kathy is a great example here.? She drove 7 hours to see Aunt Linda while she was in Indiana getting treatment.? 7 hours.? A lot of people wouldn’t do that.? It speaks volumes about Kathy’s heart.
In retrospect I have done this a few times with both Uncle Fred and Aunt Linda…sending baked goodies out to their house and little cards, among other things.? I shouldn’t beat myself up too much, I am pretty sure both my aunt and uncle know how I feel about them.? Still…I don’t want to second guess myself.
More to come, I’m sure, because getting this out really helps.? Cousins and other relatives…please feel free to comment here.