I lost a favorite aunt two days ago. She was almost 105. I remember her most for her zest for life. It wasn’t until a very few years ago that she was no longer able to live independently. We weren’t close in the physical sense of the word. She never left Massachusetts and I moved around the country a lot. Birthday cards with handwritten notes exchanged by both of us was about it.
I remember she and her husband and daughter visiting us when I was still a boy. We didn’t get much company, so it was always exciting to come home and see their car parked out front. She was a happy person by nature with a ready laugh and sense of humor. She was easy to like.
I last saw her about three years ago when a cousin brought her by for a visit. She was somewhat stooped, had difficulty with stairs, and her eyesight was waning. But as always, there was not a hair out of place on her head, and she was as cognizant and cheerful as always. I remember during a discussion about the golden years, she said “the only thing golden about them is my urine”.
When I got the news of her demise, my response was more reflection then sorrow. I knew that she had lived a good life and was in fact ready to move on. Her longevity had subjected her to many losses. She had survived both her husband and daughter as well as her siblings. Within our family, she was the sole survivor of her generation. It was time to go.
I will miss her. Not for any specific thing she did, but instead for who she was. When I think about the “good old days” she will always be an integral part. Someone that had both my respect and admiration. Someone that always chose to pursue the positive. I have said over the years that I hope I have her genes. But more importantly, I hope I have her character. As Arthur Schopenhauer said “Mostly it is loss which teaches us about the worth of things.” Thank you for that.