This is one of those posts that I wish I didn’t have to write–and in all fairness, I don’t really HAVE to write it (no one is holding a gun to my head), but the thoughts in my mind seem overwhelming and I feel like I need to get them out. Writing has always been soothing for me. Maybe this will help put me in a better frame of mind. Maybe it will help me to make sense of everything and be able to take a deep breath and shoulder the sadness. So, I guess I sort of have to write it after all. It’s my little way of honoring my Aunt Carol.
She has been sick for a really long time and she gave quite a fight. But yesterday morning, she passed away and although the family was grief-stricken, this wasn’t something that blindsided us (she had been in ICU since Friday). But that didn’t make it any easier to handle.
I got THE CALL (I hate those calls–I’ve gotten way, way, way too many of them in the past year) Sunday morning. My cell phone rang and I knew right away that it must be bad news because my cell phone rarely rings on the weekends–normally if anything is going on, family or friends call our home phone. Plus, it wasn’t even eight in the morning yet. A call early in the morning. On my cell phone. Yeah, definitely not good news.
It was my sister, Colleen–the one who’s usually chosen out of us girls to call the others with the bad news because she’s able to handle it. She’s a nurse, so she’s used to being down-to-business. Me, on the other hand, I’m the one known for getting upset if anyone in the family gets even a papercut (a slight exaggeration). So, usually, I don’t get asked to do the calling. Anyway, it was Colleen and as soon as I answered the phone, I asked, “What’s wrong?” She told me Aunt Carol had died. I closed my eyes and held my breath for a second. We had known that this was coming. But my mind was already traveling back to the last time I had seen my aunt–at my parent’s house around Thanksgiving. I couldn’t get her image out of my mind.
Colleen said our mom was really upset, rightly so, as Mom had found out about her sister’s death as she was getting ready to attend the funeral of her Aunt, who had passed on Thursday.
Colleen and I were only on the phone for a couple of minutes. When I hung up, I looked at Greg and told him I had to go somewhere. I was still in my pajamas and I hadn’t showered. Zoey was still in bed and the dogs needed to be fed. But all I wanted to do was drive the five minutes to my parent’s house and give my mom a hug.
Of course, Greg understood. I got the car keys and headed out the door.
I was at my parent’s house for a good half an hour, talking about Aunt Carol and arrangements that would be made. I won’t go into detail about what was said or the feelings I had because those are private. Just know that I felt sad my Aunt was gone and I felt so, so, so sad for my mom because she had lost a sister (I can’t even imagine losing one of my sisters).
The full umph of Aunt Carol’s passing didn’t really hit me until yesterday afternoon. I had gotten an e-mail from a family member about another loved one’s health and I lost it. I just lost it. This is just too much. This past year has been ridiculously hard on my family–on both Mom and Dad’s sides. We’ve lost a lot of people we know and it’s just so sad. But to realize that another family member is sick–really, really sick–and Aunt Carol, who’s stairs I used to play Barbies on when I was a little kid and whose image was stuck in my mind, was gone… it was just too much.
I cried and I cried. Zoey, who was playing on the couch between Greg and I, climbed into my lap and kept giving me kisses. I felt sad and just plain worn out. And after I had cried all that I could, I felt numb. The rest of the night I felt that way. Numb.
And now here it is Monday morning and I am just so bummed about everything.
My prayers and thoughts go out to all of Aunt Carol’s family, including her daughters, her husband and siblings. And to everyone whose life she touched when she and Uncle Ken worked as missionaries in Bolivia. Just know it’s never goodbye, only see you later–I really believe that.
Aunt Carol’s memorial service is Wednesday.