I haven’t posted for the past couple of weeks because honestly, the past couple of weeks have sucked. We lost two family members. One had been in hospice care for several weeks so it was only a matter of time. The other was more traumatic; you never expect to say goodbye to someone younger.
Kenn’s family is quite different from mine. I grew up next door to my maternal grandmother who was one of eight kids. Aunts, uncles, great-aunts, great-uncles, and cousins galore were a big part of my life. The first time Kenn mentioned cousins, I was shocked. I had known him for years and he had never mentioned them before. I didn’t even know that his mom had three sisters.
Two of Kenn’s aunts lived up north and I never met them. I didn’t meet the remaining sister until after the death of Kenn’s father. The family was gathered at Kenn’s parents’ apartment and his aunt and uncle came to offer their condolences and Kenn introduced me. His aunt said “Oh Linda, it’s so nice to meet you. We’re so glad to have you in our family.” And she meant it. Y’all, I almost cried. At this point, I had been a part of Kenn’s family for nine years and no one had ever welcomed me. My in-laws didn’t like me and I spent my time walking on eggshells whenever I had to be around them. The fact that this woman I had never met before saw me as worthy of love and acceptance blew my mind. I hid those words in my heart for years.
I longed to tell Aunt Ellen how much her words meant to me but was hesitant to do so. I firmly believed that if I thanked her and it got back to my mother-in-law, it would just give her something else to hold against me. (I was already guilty of the heinous crimes of hanging pictures too high on our walls and having the wrong people in the background of the photos I took.🙄) My mother-in-law passed away five years ago so, when we learned that Aunt Ellen had cancer and had been placed in hospice care, I knew time was running out. With Chick-Fil-A in hand, we went and had a lovely visit. I told her how much her words meant to me and she said “I was just being sincere.” I told her that I knew she was and that made it even more special. That was the last time we saw her. It was a good day when she was still herself. Her condition deteriorated quickly over the next few weeks and she left this world on August 18th.
The second loss was my oldest niece. Ami was only 48. Not only was she my niece, but since she was only eleven years younger than me, in many ways she was like a younger sister. We shared a love of cats, books, reading, writing, color, and all things sparkly. We had actually grown closer over the last few years. When my Daddy’s health began failing in late 2015 it was hard on both of us. We began sharing memes (usually animal related) on Facebook to keep our spirits up. Six years later, we’re still doing it. At least we were. Ami had a severe peanut allergy and over the years she’s had a to make a few trips to the ER. All of those trips have ended with her returning home – except the last one. This last hospitalization resulted in her being placed on a ventilator and then an ECMO (heart/lung machine) before her wife made the difficult decision to end life support. When we got to the hospital on August 16th, Ami was non-responsive. They say that the hearing is the last thing to go so I hope that she knew we were there. But, I know that she knew that we loved her. I had hoped to visit she and her wife later this year and maybe even visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando together. (Ami had been, I hadn’t.) Now, that will never happen. I began missing her regular memes while she was hospitalized and now I have to content myself with seeing the ones from the past when they show up in my Facebook memories.
So, dear readers, hug your loved ones while you have them and tell them all of the things you need to say for you never know when that opportunity may slip away. (I promise, my next post won’t be so gloomy.)