Saying Goodbye

There once was a girl, and she was loved.

Loved by her parents, by her friends, even by her bratty little brother, who delighted in torturing her by, well, being a little brother.

She was a shy girl, but by all accounts as sweet and kind as you were likely to find in the human species. Behind her thick glasses were eyes that saw the world as inherently good, and a mind ready not to judge, but to seek out that goodness, and cherish it.

The girl grew into a woman, and found herself a man. The man was very gruff and hard, with a lot of rough edges, but over the long years of their marriage, her sweetness washed over him in patient waves, smoothing those edges and softening the jagged hardness of him, until people who’d known him as a young man would remark that he was as transformed as Saul on the road to Damascus.

The woman had two children, who she raised to be hard-working and brave and as kind as she. Later, when her bratty little brother, having grown up as well, had children of his own, she was as loving and generous an aunt as anyone might ask for, ready to dole out hugs or treats or gentle encouragement as the situation required. She was especially kind to her nephew, a child of odd and precocious nature, a bookworm and a smartass. Unlike so many others, she remained kind and loving to that same child when she became her niece.

There was once a woman, and she was as loving as she was loved.

Years passed. Toward the end of her life, she developed diabetes, and the complications that often arise with it. She was a woman long accustomed to taking care of others before herself, and so found herself spending a lot of time at the doctors, at dialysis, at the hospital. During what would turn out to be her final stay in one of these hospitals, she contracted MRSA after having some reparative surgery, and all too soon after that, she was gone.

We tend to take the warmth of the sun for granted until it passes behind a cloud, and this is how it was with my aunt Pat. We’d kept loose tabs on each other over the years, not seeing each other as often as we’d like, but maintaining a fundamental love that never faded, touching base at holidays and birthdays. And now that she’s gone, I find myself wishing for one more conversation about the day, one more story about my dad’s childhood brattiness, one more hug and a smile. The sun has gone behind a cloud, and I find myself ill-prepared for the chill in the air.

There once was a girl, and she was loved.

She still is.


9 Responses

  1. Oh, what a loving tribute. RIP your gran. take care.

  2. jesus, I’m so sorry I misread. RIP your Aunt Pat. It’s important to love and be loved.

  3. Beautiful. You do have a way with words.

  4. A beautiful tribute to one whom you loved and who loved you.

  5. Indeed, you have reduced me to tears. So very sorry for your loss, Claire.

  6. @Mollie Thank you buddy.

    @Veronique Thank you – she was very dear to me.

    @Tara Thank you for your kindness, my friend.

  7. And because you still love her, she’s still with you, no matter how much you miss her.


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