Monday, February 16, 2015

Sometimes Slices Are Goodbyes



            Thanks to Stacey, Tara, Dana, Beth, Anna and Betsy and all this blogging community for the Tuesday Slice of Life!  Looking forward to the SOLSC, and this time with my class! If you'd like to connect, I would, too! My colleague Max is also slicing with his class, for the second year!
Aunt Carol and Aunt Barb-my mother's sisters

            Sometimes slices of life are moments to mark for sad reasons. I received a call last night from my brother, telling me that my dear Aunt Barb, in a nursing home for a few years with Alzeimer's, was dying. A few hours later, she left us. All those stories and memories still are here with me, her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and the rest of my family, especially cousins. I wrote about her a few years ago and am going to repeat those words here. She was a most special aunt, the last of five siblings to go, my mother's sister. Everyone needs an Aunt Barb.



     I am the oldest cousin in a rather large family, and often spent weeks in the summer with various grandparents, aunts and uncles. One of those aunts was my Aunt Barb, who married a farmer, and when I was young, lived in two rooms on the second floor of her in-laws’ house. During that time, there was no bathroom, only an outhouse, no running water, and she was raising three young girls in those rooms. As I reflect on this part of her life, I am astounded that she let me visit for at least a week at a time, and we had such fun.  
     I had always had in-house plumbing in my own home, and enjoyed my own bedroom, but I don’t remember being crowded at Aunt Barb's, or missing a bathroom. What I do remember is swimming in her pond, picnics down by the creek ending with servings of her yummy chocolate cake, and reading stories at night before bedtime. She was a dramatic reader, and I loved hearing her read from the books available. Taking care of her chores, both inside and outside, along with mothering her children that included sewing all their clothes, and cooking amazingly wonderful meals can’t have been accomplished easily in the circumstances, yet she made me know that I was a loved niece and welcome always in her home. As a housewife who has griped about unloading the dishwasher, I wonder about her resilience, and about mine.  How did she accomplish so much with so little?  It’s a reflection to ponder. I am blessed to have had my Aunt Barb in my life.

43 comments:

  1. Linda, your tribute to your Aunt Barb was lovely and moving. I remember my own childhood and staying with my aunt whose house seemed opulent compared to mine. It is funny how some memories are so vivid. Your aunt seemed truly a resilient woman and I am sure you benefitted from her caring ways. May her memories always grace your heart.

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    1. Thanks, Carol. I appreciate your thoughts, and love that this sparked your own memories.

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  2. I am very sorry for your loss. I can sense how amazing she was by just reading about her. I'm so glad you have great memories to remember the happy times.

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    1. Thanks, I am happy that I had so many years with her.

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  3. I just love your memories, Linda. Such treasures. Like you, I also have memories of spending time with my aunt during the summer. These are priceless memories I will always hold close to my heart. My condolences on your loss of your dear aunt.

    Jennifer

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    1. Those times we got to visit in the summer continue to be some of the loveliest memories. Thanks, Jennifer. So glad you have them too.

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  4. I love that there are strong bonds of love between family members with whom we share so many wonderful memories. I hate losing them, as one half of the memories are gone - like losing the ability to see 3D maybe. It is hard to explain. I am sorry for that empty spot your aunt left behind. Beautiful words she would be pleased to hear.

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    1. Thanks, Donna, time goes by... Now my grandchildren are making memories, & I hope years from now they have good ones, too, as I do.

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  5. What a lovely tribute. As Donna said she would be pleased to hear how these memories are with you so many years later. What a gift she gave you, seemingly so easily. Beautiful and sad slice Linda.

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    1. I am grateful for her, and the gifts of time she gave to me, busy as she was. Thank you.

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  6. Simply beautiful. Peace to your family at this time. My heart is pulling for you at this time. Each summer, we send our kids to the "farm land" for a week. I can only imagine the memories they are building with Grandparents, Great Aunts, Great Uncles, and Cousins. This is a confirming, beautiful tribute, and a beautiful picture of your aunties.

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    1. It makes me happy to hear your children have this time with family in the summer, Kendra. Love hearing that, and thank you for sharing with me.

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  7. Linda, this is a beautifully written post that honors the memory of a life well lived. Memories are what makes us who we are.

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    1. Thanks Katie-so right about who we are, and what we value, too.

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  8. I am so sorry. What a wonderful tribute you've written. I love the line "Everyone needs an Aunt Barb."

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    1. Thank you. I hope that others have these kinds of memories-good for a virtual hug sometimes.

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  9. I agree, everyone needs an Aunt Barb. I had an Aunt Anna. So sorry for your loss. This is a beautiful tribute to what sounds like a very special person.

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    1. Thank you, happy to hear you had an Aunt Anna-special for you!

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  10. Beautiful tribute, Linda. My favorite memory you shared was of your aunt's dramatic readings. What a treasure.

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    1. Thanks, Laura. I remember it so well, all of us sitting on the floor surrounding her as she read.

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  11. A truly special soul. Your Aunt Barb reminds me of my husband's Aunt Ginny, who also made a rich life for everyone she touched, even though she had so little. A big heart and generous spirit rises above circumstances, right, Linda. Thank you for sharing your memories with us today.

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    1. As I said, everyone needs a dear aunt. Happy you have one in your life, Tara.

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  12. So sorry for your loss. You have brought her back with your memories, they will live forever.

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    1. That's just what I wrote to her family, Elsie. I won't forget her and the dear times we had.

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  13. I am sorry for your loss. Yet I am thankful you had such a dear Aunt Barb and that you chose to share her with us. In many ways, she will always be with you. I'll be thinking of your family.

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    1. Thank you, & you're right-those memories cannot be taken.

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  14. Everyone needs and aunt and memories like those. We think those were such hard times - I mean outhouses! But it sounds like she took her role as a mother and an aunt very seriously. Because of that, you now have those memories to cherish.

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    1. And outhouses also mean chamber pots, Leigh Anne! My memories of her is that she did so much, but so easily & happily, & was like that through most of her life. Even with Alzeimer's she was happy. Yes, she was dear!

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  15. Linda, I am sorry to hear about the passing of your Aunt Barb. She sounds like a truly remarkable lady. Your memories of time spent on the farm are precious. I wish every child could have such lovely memories.

    Thinking of you and your family. Love, Dana

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    1. Thanks, Dana, I wish that for children too. My brother gives all he can to my grandchildren, but unfortunately we live far apart now. It's great when we are all together.

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  16. "How did she accomplish so much with so little?" That's a lot to think about there -- and wish some days we didn't have so much to even have to deal with these days. So sorry to hear about your Aunt Barb, but she leaves a special place in your heart. Hold on to those memories.

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    1. I know that there are things we now do that she didn't have to do, so guess some of it evens out, Michelle. She was a capable woman, that's for sure, & I'm grateful for the times we spent together. Thank you!

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  17. So sorry for your loss. I loved reminiscing with you and getting a small glimpse of the tremendous heart of your Aunt Barb. Blessings.

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    1. Thank you Margaret. I am blessed to have had her in my life.

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  18. Oh this is so precious, Linda. I think it will be my favorite article to read & reread for a long time.
    Appreciations for your sharing about your loving, ful-filled, generous & sweetky amazing Aunt Barb, who I feel as if I know from your memories.

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    1. Thank you, Jan. It feels good to capture the memories sometimes.

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  19. How did they accomplish so much? The summer I got married I took over my mother's chores while she made my wedding dress. I was exhausted at the end of each day and found it impossible to match her pace. And she was my age at the time!
    Love the pic of your two aunts and your words - "What I do remember is swimming in her pond, picnics down by the creek ending with servings of her yummy chocolate cake, and reading stories at night before bedtime." And she was a dramatic reader!

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    1. I don't know how they did it all, Ramona. And my aunt also kept a huge garden, chickens and other fowl, etc. I think part of it is that they didn't go very much, except to church, rarely read for themselves, but Aunt Barb did have children's books, & she got the news from the local paper & the radio. Just a different life! Maybe we are weaker? As I wrote, something to ponder!

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  20. I'm so sorry, Linda. I can hear you and your cousins laughing as you swam in the pond and had those picnics. So glad you have such wonderful memories of Aunt Barb to cherish. Thank you for sharing them with us.

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    1. You're welcome, Catherine. Special aunt, special times.

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  21. I'm so sorry for your loss, Linda. What a wonderful tribute you've written to her. She lives on in your writing. Isn't it interesting that, as kids, we don't remember things or conveniences; we remember the time spent with a loved one. It's too bad so much of our time is consumed with getting bigger and better things, when they aren't the things that make memories. Your aunt Barb knew better!

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    1. Wise words, Holly. There are important "things" that cost only time.

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  22. So sorry to hear of your loss. What a wonderful tribute to your Aunt Barb. The. Memory is brought to life.

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