Sunday, April 20, 2014

4 a.m. Easter Morning


The house is dark, the men asleep, and Aunt Winnie no longer being here is really hitting me. Why did I think I would escape this grief? I thought because so much of her had already left, that when her so broken body gave up the last of her spirit, I would be grateful for her release. And I am. She had no quality of life left at the end. But oh, I miss my aunt, the years we shared across our little courtyard, the feisty woman with whom I always laughed, the surrogate grand who babysat my children, my third parent.

I confess I thought it would be a relief not to worry about how make Easter a little special for her, what dinner to bring for her and her home attendant, but instead, all I feel is the void. My thoughts keep going to her, like a missing limb, and I have to keep reminding myself that she is not there, she is not there, she is not there. Every day when I arrive home, as my feet touch the courtyard between our two buildings, the thought is in my head, Maybe I'll just stop by Aunt Winnie and sit with her for a few moments, and then I remember.

At her memorial service, a soloist with the voice of a soprano angel sang Josh Groban's "You Raise Me Up," and now I cannot get the song out of my head. Yesterday, after my husband had gone to take the altar arrangements to the church, and while he and his two fellow wardens along with our son spent the afternoon cleaning construction dust from the sanctuary to make it shine for Easter services, I played that song loud in my empty house, and the tears just flowed as they had not yet done for my aunt. Truly, she raised us up. Aunt Winnie is evidence of God to me, by which I mean she was the embodiment of love. When people say God is love, she was the very definition of that. She loved us so completely. She loved me so completely.

I did my best for her, but I didn't do nearly enough. The weekend of her memorial, the family kept thanking me for all I had done for her, and I felt like a fraud. Perhaps it was impossible to do enough for one such as she was. Lying awake next to my sleeping husband tonight, I found myself missing her so intensely, the pillow soaked, and so I got up to write here, because writing down what I am feeling is the surest way to embrace it, to truly let myself feel it, to honor the fact that I am missing my Aunt Winnie so fiercely this morning, and not just Winnie but Maisy, too, and my dad, too, and I am scared for how it will be when my mother joins them, and I pray she stays awhile longer on this side with me.

10 comments:

  1. How amazing to be just purely and truly loved by someone so wonderful. Of course you miss her! Of course her leaving creates a void. It can't be any other way with someone you adore so much. Even if yes, her death was a sweet release. It can be all of those things. And it should be.
    You are doing everything just right. The lifting up and the night-time crying. Go ahead and feel it all. Loving you truly....M

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    1. Thank you, Mary. even though I know you don't much hold with the God talk, you always find a way to support me, to understand. I love you.

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  2. The thing with grief is it is sticky. We think we should "move on". Everyone tells us so. "She was old and had a good life." "She was ready to go." And we know in our head that she would not want anyone to grieve so. But tell all that to our arching and broken hearts. We feel as if our very soul has been ripped open and oh, it hurts.
    Grieve, dear one. You will never get over her death. You will ache for her for the rest of your life. And maybe one day you will get to hang out again.

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    1. Dear Birdie, thank you for this. I think you're right, we simply learn to live with the ache, all the aches, and in time they are sweetened by the knowledge that the ache is only there because there was love.

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  3. To be loved like this is all there is. You loved your aunts and your Dad. You love your Mom. And you are loved like this. I just know it. That is all that is important. That is all. You have done and are doing the most important thing of all. YOU are Godly. I so hope you can see and feel that and experience all the emotions that come up but truly know that the way you live and treat others is all there is. So respectfully, Sweet Jo

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    1. Sweet Jo, I have missed you. Thank you for your kindness here. xo

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  4. You continue to knock me over with your powerful words. I so enjoy coming here.

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    1. SJ, I am glad you keep coming around. You add so much to this community of souls, your generosity and openness to understand. xo

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  5. This brought tears to my eyes. Winnie must have been an incredibly strong spirit, she has left such a mark on your heart. That void--the fact of someone not being there--is so difficult for our brains to accept. The brain almost won't. But your body knows what to do. You are doing so well. Keep giving yourself all that space and time.

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  6. Your words are so eloquent. Sending you hugs. I wish there were words I could say to help and comfort you. Know that your dear Aunt Winnie is close by, watching over you and your family.

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