Today is St. Patrick’s Day, which always reminds me of aunt Lois, who died on St. Patrick’s Day two years ago.

When my mom called me that afternoon she was sobbing and unable to speak for some time, so I knew something was desperately wrong.

My heart raced as I imagined the various grim possibilities until she finally managed to say that aunt Lois died.

Aunt Lois was my mom’s oldest sister and only sibling and her unexpected death was a blow to her.

“I thought I would have a sister for another 10-15 years or so,” she said during that conversation.

I felt so bad for my mother’s loss and cried with her.

I thought back to the time I last visited with my aunt at her 50th wedding anniversary party several months prior to her death.

My aunt wasn’t the life of the party that day like she always had been at parties when she was younger. I had to work at finding her before leaving so I could say goodbye.

Eventually I found her sitting quietly at a table. She stood up and hugged me and told me how good I looked to her… I looked healthy. She had been worried about my health a few years previous but I was fully recovered. She remembered that my birthday was coming up, remembered how old I was, which impressed me, as she has a very large family.

I left feeling very happy that my aunt wasn’t worried about me anymore. Also, a little thing like her remembering my birthday made me feel happy too.

But as I was reminded at her funeral, that’s how she was… tuned in to the little details of everyone’s life and making people feel special.

Her funeral made a big impression on me and I was amazed at all I learned about my aunt through the various eulogies. Her obituary was written very well too and had little details that were interesting.

Eulogies are among the best, and most moving, types of stories. I always enjoy listening to them even as they make me cry.

There were also several spontaneous eulogies, as people in the church would stand up and share a memory about my aunt.

The eulogies impressed upon me how the web of people my aunt was connected to was huge. She cared about them all too.

She had also served as the grapevine for family news. Now that she’s passed away I’ve had to use Facebook to stay in touch with extended family and get family news.

The most poignant memory of her funeral was when I left the reception at her house.

Her teenage grandson was napping on the love seat, curled up with her photo as if it was a teddy bear.

It was a moving sight and I thought about how most teen boys would be stoic at the death of their grandmother. But I later learned that he would often come over to my aunt’s house just to chat with her. That’s how my aunt was. Easy to talk to and interested in all the little details of your life.

May your memory be eternal, Aunt Lois.

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Filed under: Stories/Storytelling

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