I learned late yesterday that my Aunt C. passed away Sunday morning, died much
like my mom (her sister) did eleven years ago: in her sleep. Aunt C. was 55.
I don’t suffer it alone, and it’s yet uncertain whether I will hop a flight to
KC for the funeral on Wednesday (or jump in a rental and motor across Google
Maps). That decision will be settled before today is up. Mostly I am sad for
her children–my cousins, especially so because two of them are in high school. This
is an aunt who I was very close to
when I was young. She was my mother’s younger sister by four years, an RN
whose uncanny sense of humor ruled our many hours together in the late 1970s. She
was the one who dressed up as a witch on one of those first Halloweens so that
when we trick-or-treated the rural farm house she rented and she jumped out at us
on her back steps, I was so undone that I fell off of the porch.
This aunt, Aunt C., was the one who crushed up the Children’s Tylenol and
made it magically vanish into mac
and cheese because I would gag when faced with half of a pink chewable. Thinking
she’d won because I ate the whole bowl of macaroni, she told me about how she’d backdoored the medicine into my system. Of course, I threw up (I cannot say
whether it was out of stubbornness or disgust).
A nurse, right? She gave me the board game Operation for my sixth or seventh
birthday, but there was no scotch tape around my grandparents’ house, so she
used Elmer’s glue to hold down the wrapping paper. Do you know what
happens when you put Elmer’s glue on wrapping paper? Next I carried the
dye-leaking package on my lap for the duration of the car ride from West Branch
to Mt. Pleasant.
I’ll likely follow this rushed panegyric with a lull for the duration of a long,
blue drive to Missouri to reflect upon and celebrate her life.