Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Letting Go

Snap. Oh, there's a good picture of my dad, aunt, and uncle as young children.

Snap. I love that figurine Nana has in her display case.

Snap. Look at the baby shoes. So cute. Better take a picture of those.

I take a lot of pictures. Of all sorts of things. Everyday moments.

During visits to my grandmother's house, I snap pictures of things that I want to remember. Like the picture above, that hangs on a wall in my uncle's old bedroom. Or the Hummel like figurine I used to stare at for hours when I would sleep on the pull out sofa as a kid.

We spent {many} weekends at Nan's house when I was growing up. Both of my parents had lots of family in the city, so we would leave on Friday night after my dad got home from work and stay until Sunday night. Once we got into the city, we would drop my mother off at the church hall where she would meet Nana to play bingo. Dad and us kids would travel on to my grandparent's house and we would get comfortable, waiting for Nan and Mom to come home.
My dad's younger sister, Aunt N, always lived with my grandparents. She never married. And never moved out on her own. So we spent a lot of time with her. Most Friday nights she was busy with a date, or her girlfriends, or in her room, catching up on her soap operas when VCRs came about. We didn't really see much of her on Friday nights.

But on Saturdays....those were the best days of the weekend. Nan and Aunt N would take my sister and I "downtown" after lunch and we would go shopping. We got dragged into every department store there was, waiting while Aunt N tried on shoes, and pants, and suits, and tops, and everything else that caught her eye. 

We always went home with BAGS of new clothing for her. And a little something for us. Nana would take us into the five and dime and let us pick out some toy or book, a small item that made us smile.

After shopping we would go to the 5:00 Mass at the Catholic church near downtown and then go home for dinner.

Some of my best childhood memories are of me and my sister, snuggled up in our winter coats, sitting in church with Nan and Aunt N, kind of sleepy because we were so toasty warm after walking around the city all afternoon, knowing we were going "home" to a warm meal after church. 

No worries, no cares. Just two kids. Surrounded by a whole lot of love and affection.

I didn't know how much I would miss those days until today.
We've been saying goodbye to Aunt N for the past week or so. She got rushed to the hospital because something wasn't right.

She was incoherent. And sick, with a very bad chest cold. But not anything too bad. Surely the doctors could fix her. But then we found out she had sepsis. 

And things got worse. She had a heart attack. 

And never woke up.
For the past week, we've been holding vigil with her. Sitting by her side, massaging her arms and legs. Caressing her cheek, kissing her, telling her we love her.

I don't know if she knew any of this. But if there was a chance she could hear us, or feel anything, I wanted her to know she was loved.

She.was.loved. We were her witnesses. She mattered. She was important.

God called her home this morning. I know she's in a much better place.

But we will miss her.
As I said, I take lots of pictures of everyday moments. 

Last summer I wanted pictures of hands. Nana's hands. Aunt N's hands. And them holding holds.

I love these pictures. I think she would too.

She was 66 years old. 


  1. Oh my. No words move me more than yours. I have tears on my cheeks, and heartfelt sympathy for your loss. You have 2 things that will help so much in these coming weeks. Beautiful memories and those unbelievable photos. Hugs.

  2. Oh, I'm so sorry. Your Aunt N sounds like such a sweet and fun lady. And to have grown up with her always there at your grandparents' house--how special and rare is that--to get to see her so often! :) I'm so sorry for your loss. Beautiful photos too. And I'm sure she somehow received all the love you were sending her way those last days.

    Love and peace to you and yours and to her, as well--


  3. I am so sorry for your loss, she sounds like an incredibly lady. I'll bet she knew how much you loved her.

  4. i have no doubt that she knew you were there during her last moments. i am so sorry for your loss and will be thinking of you and your family.

  5. This is a beautiful tribute! I love your photography - you have an amazing talent! I know you were closer to your Aunt, but I will always have a soft spot for her as among my favorite cousins! Talk care of yourself through all this!