I can’t quite cry yet. I was tearing up a bit, but Mr. L was able to shush me with a few sweet words, “you just sad, Mama?” and “it’ll just be okay” while touching my face. He has no idea that this world just lost a great woman.
My wonderful, wild, hysterical aunt Jean passed away a few hours ago. Now yesterday as I am returning to finish this post. I just couldn’t write about it – or anything – yesterday.
She fought a long, hard battle, but she is at peace now and for that I am thankful. Thankful that she will no longer have to suffer in pain. I will miss her so much. She was a great presence in my life for as long as I can remember.
She was SO funny, I remember that she used scare me as a little girl because she was always playing tricks on me. Once she put a doll in her trash can outside and squeezed ketchup on her and made me go look in there. I don’t know if I would ever do that to a little girl, but I will NEVER forget that and thinking about it now, I just laugh hysterically.
Later on in more recent years, she taught me so much about my family history and about where I come from. She had such a great memory – and she told me so many stories about my grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. She was so honest, and she would just sit and tell me everything I wanted to know. I recorded some of those stories on one of those handheld dictation recorders when I went to visit her in 2009 (we live about 6 hours apart), and I will forever treasure those memories. I probably drove her insane asking her a million questions, but she answered them all. There are so many things I wouldn’t know if it wasn’t for her. Thank you for that, Jean.
I will never forget her house – actually two of her houses – so many pretty things everywhere. I remember looking at things and asking about the things I liked. I remember she would always have soup beans ready for us when we went to visit. I remember watching her make fried chicken, and I remember her trying to show me how to make biscuits. I remember she kept her eggs in a little basket in the refrigerator and she would mark the oldest ones so she knew which to use first. I thought it was such a good idea, and I always mark my oldest eggs now. I will never forget how hot her old house was, there was a big heating vent right in the middle of the floor and it was always blowing hot air. Funny what you remember as only a little girl.
My only regret is that I haven’t been able to go see her, and that she never got to meet Mr. L, only see him in photos. I talked to her right before Christmas and she told me to “come visit as soon as you can.” It breaks my heart that I couldn’t go and see her. I know she would have loved Mr. L and I’m smiling now thinking about how she would have teased him. He would have loved her too.
I know the last few months were rough for her – and for my cousins (her children) and their families. It’s been rough for all of us up here, who couldn’t be there. So many ups and downs, and not knowing what the next day might hold. Being selfish as we as humans can sometimes be, I couldn’t bear to think of her leaving this world before Christmas or during the holidays. I am thankful she didn’t – I am thankful that she got to spend another Christmas with those she loved. I am faithful that she is at peace now. I am faithful that she has joined our other family members that have passed on before her. I am so thankful that I got to know her, and love her.
I know that I will see her again. For now I will praise her life and not grieve in her memory. I will remember her as someone who made me happy. I will laugh when I think of her funny antics, and I will smile as I’m sure she is smiling down on our family.
See you later, Jean. I love you and I can’t wait to see you again some day.