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August 1927 - January 2013

In the words of a great philosopher, it was sudden but inevitable.

This morning, I was awakened early to the news that Grammy's older sister, my Aunt Nina, was in the hospital and wouldn't last much longer. I hurriedly put clothes on and packed a few supplies for the probable long hours of sitting at a hospital bedside and some protein bars for breakfast on the road, and Mom and I were out the door to pick up Grammy and embark on the 45-minute journey to Aunt Nina's home in Belleville. As we stopped at a traffic light near our street, I called Grammy to tell her we were on our way. It was about 7:05, maybe 7:10.

"I must have just missed you," Grammy said. "She passed away around 7."

We got to Grammy's house a few minutes later, hugged, cried a little, began the process of calling family members. I made breakfast. We called Aunt Nina's daughter, Linda, and agreed to meet her to help make the arrangements. We spent the rest of the day in Belleville, picking out her clothes, talking to the funeral director who only talked in that hushed funeral director's tone, and signing papers at the cemetery. We didn't get around to eating "lunch" until 4:30 or so.

I don't really know what to say about this. I'd like to tell you about my aunt, but you can't sum a person up with words. At least, I can't sum her up right here and now. I didn't know her as well as I probably should have; she lived close enough that it wasn't really a whole lot of effort to visit, but far enough that we still didn't do it very often. She was always smiling, always ready with a hug, even the last few times I saw her when the dementia and hearing loss were getting bad and she couldn't really get out of the wheelchair. She enjoyed writing, whether it was fictional stories or real-life adventures or poems. I'm afraid I haven't read much of what she wrote, but I hear there was a lot. Grammy likes to tell the story of how, when they were kids, Nina would always lead her younger siblings in summertime adventures and clubs and performing plays.

So as you've probably guessed, the story I was going to start today isn't happening yet. I don't know what I'm going to be doing when for the rest of the week until Friday's visitation and Saturday's funeral, so I may or may not update until then, but hopefully things will be back to normal by next week.

January is a weird month. Several of my favorite people were born in January, but people also keep dying...

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