My aunt was more clear in her speech this morning than she has been in a long time. She said, "I love you, dear," and she said, "God gives everyone such problems and hard times but he also gives us a way to get through it and he sends people to help us."
It came out clear and whole, and it reminded me of how full of rabble-rousing life she used to be. My Aunt Winnie never knew the language of defeat. This small, frail woman helped a whole lot of people through their own hard times. She was there for every one of us in the most selfless, take-no-prisoners way. She was the oldest girl of nine and she learned to rally the troops to fight for those she loved and for those who just needed someone like her to stand up for them. Now she needs us. And we are all right there, wanting nothing more than to fight for her, wishing we could do more.
|April 6, 1931|
That's my aunt's family of origin. My mom is on the immediate left of my grandfather. Aunt Winnie is the girl on the far left, her hand protectively on her younger brother's shoulder. She's only 12 in this picture, but you can already see in her eyes that she is a warrior for love. She has always been that.
I lived with her for a year when I first moved to New York to go to college. Even after I moved into the dorms, her apartment was my other home. She was then just a little older than I am now. It often seems that the years have evaporated like a mist, and we have to hold fast to our memories. They are the only evidence that what we remember, actually was.