In the week my aunt died I experienced both intense sadness and joy. She was my favourite aunt; always interested in other people, caring, kind and non judgemental. Her death came quite quickly. In the last three weeks of her life I visited her for one day a week, which as she lived two hundred and fifty miles away, was not easy. I’m glad I had that time. She was my confidant and my friend. We always spoke for more than an hour on the phone each week. There was a space in my life after she died. I longed to talk to her.
A few days after she died, my first granddaughter was born. I was overwhelmed. To look at her brought such wonder into my heart. She was so tiny and beautiful. My son and his wife were radiant with love for this little bundle, although they shared my sadness too. My aunt had been looking forward to the new arrival and it made me sad that she never saw her great-great niece.
The funeral came and was a surreal experience. It’s strange how you can know someone so well and find out new things at their funeral. All her art class turned up. I knew she attended these as she often spoke about the people there in our long telephone conversations, but each one came, talked to us and told us a little snippet about their knowledge of her. It was obvious that they were very fond of her.
I had the privilege of doing her eulogy. At first I didn’t think I’d be able to speak. Then I looked across at my new granddaughter. Her first outing was to my Aunt’s funeral. I started to speak. I told the congregation about my Aunt’s achievements, her kindness and mentioned some occasions which many of us shared. It was obvious that she was loved and held dear by all the many people at the service.
For the first two years after she died, every time I thought of her I was engulfed in waves of sadness, but now six years have passed and when I think of her now I just feel her love. Of course I still wish she was here and I’m so glad she was my Aunt. I will always love her.
As for my granddaughter, she and my newer grandchildren are the apples of my eye. They bring all of us laughter, love and happiness. Something tells me that somewhere my Aunt sees and knows them too. I hope so.