Monday, April 19, 2010

The Ones We Love


When did it snow? Around Valentine's Day. That's the same weekend my Aunt Nell discovered that my Aunt Mary wasn't doing so well. She had called to check on her. My Aunt Nell was married to my dad's brother, Uncle Roy. He passed away about 5 years ago. Aunt Nell and Aunt Mary go to church together and, being both widows and related, they check up on each other. It's not an every day thing, but this one particular day, Aunt Nell felt like she needed to make sure Mary was doing ok. It was that day that it just snowed for like 12 hours straight.

She could tell something wasn't right, a stroke or something. Aunt Nell is a nurse. She knows these things. Aunt Nell called my dad and 911, not sure in what order, but anyway, Aunt Mary was taken to the hospital. It took a few days, but eventually, the tests came back. She had cancer in her brain and a few other places in her body. She is terminal. They have done the radiation and are about to finish up Keimo this month. I wanted to take this opportunity to share some of my memories I have of my Aunt Mary. This may be long, but she is a wonderful woman and has always been a sweet, wonderful aunt.

When I was little, I remember my Aunt Mary and Uncle Dick coming over to the house. They lived in Rockwall and we were in Hurst. It was always a time we stopped what we were doing. Uncle Dick worked on TV's (or so my memory tells me). I remember that they both smoked and in our house that was something rebellious. We never knew that my dad smoked until my oldest brother was born. We never saw him smoke anyway.  My mom told me that Aunt Mary gave me a really cute dress for my first birthday. It was from Neiman-Marcus and dry clean only. I think I still have it somewhere. It wasn't the norm for us growing up.

When I got married and started having kids, I had more of a relationship with Aunt Mary.  She never had children of her own. She had stepchildren, I learned later, but I don't remember us ever having any interaction. She was that Aunt that would doate over her nieces and nephews. She was always so generous with my kids, giving gifts for ever occassion - birth, Christmas, birthdays...it was something we looked forward to. When we couldn't provide anything for our kids, Aunt Mary was always there to give them something and they always loved it. She took time to find out what they liked, what they were into, and she would give accordingly. 

There was the time when Uncle Dick was very sick and she couldn't come around at all. I believe she was even taking care of her mother-in-law who was very sick as well. Uncle Dick had emphasema for a long time and Aunt Mary quit smoking when that happened. The day before his funeral I found out I was pregnant with Benjamin. I remember telling my cousin, Mary Lou, at the funeral but hadn't even told my dad. I wasn't sure how the family would handle it because Alyssa was only 5 month old and sick. I was sure they rolled their eyes. My cousin Jack's wife Ann was expecting their only child, Chris. It was a little awkward but I know Aunt Mary felt a little relief not having to care for someone sick anymore.

Now it's her turn to receive the love and care that she gave to her husband and mother-in-law all those years. She stayed with my Aunt Nell throughout the radiation treatments and then, once the first Keimo treatment was done, she wanted to go home. My dad and his wife had prepared a room for her so she could come live with them. The doctor didn't want her living alone. My dad and Aunt Mary have always been close. She wants to go live at her house with her cats, that's where she is going. My dad isn't going to force her to do what she wasn't comfortable doing. No matter what. Dad drives out to Rockwell on an almost daily basis (if not every day) from North Richland Hills.  Lene goes with him most of the time if she isn't needed at work. I can't imagine how hard that is on both of them, but when you do something out of love you just do it.

That's Aunt Mary in the picture (obviously) with a hat that Andy knit for her and how cute is she that she matches the workout suit that her sister, Aunt Ema, gave her? There will come a day, too soon I'm afraid, that Aunt Mary will no longer be on this earth, but we are certain she will be in a better place. She is and always will be loved. Don't forget to tell the ones you love how much you love them. You never know when they will be gone.
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