That layer of adults between me and ultimate adulthood is one very special person thinner today.  My Aunt Joan died yesterday.

Joan was.......I've started this sentence three times and am not sure how to proceed. 

Joan was my aunt, my friend and my girls' grandmother.  I was going to say "grandmother substitute" but in reality, she was their grandmother in all but name.

When I got married and my parents pulled away and put distance between us, my Aunt Joan did not.  She loved me and my little family wholeheartedly and we returned the love.  One November when I was calling to make sure she knew she was expected for Thanksgiving, she said, "Of course I'm coming.  Where else would I go?"  She remembered that I love coconut custard pie and would always bring one.

Aunt Joan was my link to the past.  She told me the family stories that my mother always seemed to be reluctant to tell.  She told me about when I was a baby and what a hard time I gave her when she babysat (my mother was a single mom and lived at home when I was born.  Not a common occurrence in 1957). 

She told my girls stories that I didn't remember.  She let my cousin move home after she lost her job.  Not an uncommon thing?  Well, how about with her 18 cats? And as much as she didn't like the cats (she likes cats, just not 18 at once), she kept them for as long as she could after my cousin died last year because my cousin thought of them as her kids. 

She made tins of cookies every year for the holidays and candies.  She made wonderful chocolate candies and always put away a box for me.  She hasn't been able to manage them for a while now and I guess I'll have to pick up that baton and run with it. 

The last few years have been tough ones.  She had pulmonary hypertension and breathing became difficult.  The last time we talked, she was optimistic about a new breathing machine that would deliver more oxygen.  It didn't take much to turn her lips purple and sap her strength.  We kept hoping for a miracle but they are in short supply. 

She went quietly and softly.  And we'll bury her with a pair of brightly colored handknit socks on her feet.

Comments

Olivia said…
Donna Lee, I am so sorry you lost your beloved Aunt Joan. My thoughts are with you and your family.
Deb said…
I'm so sorry for your loss. It's always hard to lose someone you love. You'll always have your wonderful memories and know that she loved you.
amy said…
Oh Donna Lee, I'm so sorry. My condolences to you and your girls and PK too. Your love for her comes through so strongly.
Alwen said…
That's hard. I never know what to say, so {{{{{HUGS}}}}}.
Roxie said…
My heart is with you. What a blessing to her you must have been.
DPUTiger said…
You were so lucky to have your Aunt Joan play such a big part in your life and the lives of your girls. As someone who never had a grandparent I could enjoy I'm always envious of those stories.

Your Aunt Joan knew you loved her. That's the best anyone can ask for. Sending hugs, and I'm sorry for your family's loss.
Galad said…
What wonderful memories you've shared with us. It sounds like your aunt lived a life full of love and was loved in return. I'm sure she will be much missed. Hugs
Bezzie said…
I'm so sorry. Never easy.
KnitTech said…
She'll be missed. Will the socks be bright as her life?
Rose Red said…
I'm so sorry about your loss of Aunt Joan, she sounds like a great lady. Hope you all are doing ok.
Jeanne said…
I am so sorry for your loss - she sounds like a wonderful person.
Louiz said…
She sounds like she was a wonderful woman and will be missed. I'm very sorry for your loss
Bells said…
oh i'm just catching up. I'm so sorry Donna Lee. She sounds like a wonderful woman and you have such special memories to cling to. The socks! I love that she'll be buried in colourful socks!
Amy Lane said…
Oh sweetheart-- I'm so sorry. (I'm sorry I got to this so late as well.) But you drew a lovely picture--and you have drawn a lovely picture of this woman for as long as I've read your blog. She is well remembered--and she has left a legacy of kindness for you and yours, and that's not going away.

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