Sunday, November 2, 2008

Celebrating, Part 2

My great aunt passed away Friday night. She had cancer that had spread throughout her body and the 3 month window they had given her to live turned out to be 2. I loved her dearly, closer to her than maybe my grandmothers. She always treated me and my sister like adults, even when we were small. She always made me feel important.

Some funny things about my aunt:
  • She was a huge political activist, a very liberal democrat, and a lobbyist for women's rights. But she never had a drivers license and relied on others to allow her that particular freedom.
  • She was very image conscious, but never went to the dentist. Her teeth, one by one, rotted and fell out. 
  • I have no idea how much money she and my uncle had, but I always thought they were millionaires. They would always buy us "prizes" and these could be anything from a prize in a gumball machine to a $200 toy. She rarely said no.
  • She was the classiest woman in our family, always dressed to the nines, fabulous jewelry, makeup on, hair perfect--somewhat of a matriarch. But she could drink, smoke and curse with the dirtiest sailor you could find. One Mother's Day I remember (not too long ago), all she asked for is booze and she and my grandmother drank all day long.
  • She and my uncle ran the second largest cemetery in Michigan but she will not be having a funeral--her instructions (which no one will argue with, even now).
Since I won't have the chance to say goodbye to her in the traditional manner, I'm celebrating the life of my aunt by:
  • Eating ice cream
  • Buying a toy for each of my kids, and a big stuffed lion for me
  • Listening to jazz
  • Drinking martinis
I have lots of memories of my great aunt, memories of summers growing up, her sharing stories from before I was born. I always looked up to her. She was a presence in any room, a force to be reckoned with, opinionated, and got stuff done. She was my role model. I miss her deeply and figure she's already improving heaven.

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