Saturday, February 9, 2008

a wonderful life

eek! I went to the post which I wrote this morning paying tribute my dear aunt mary who passed away earlier this week. I wanted to add a picture to the post. unfortunately in the course of adding the picture I inadvertently zapped over half of what I wrote. of course, what I zapped was the part I liked the most. I can't really recreate what I wrote, but I will provide a new introduction. ( I've never had this happen before)

this morning in a small church an eight hour drive from here, some of my extended family will gather to say goodbye to a much beloved family member, my aunt mary. aunt mary was my father's sister and my godmother. even though I have passed the half century mark, when I greeted my aunt I would kiss her and address her as 'godmother' - to me a revered and sacred bond.

my aunt's death came as a shock, in a month she would have turned 87. we didn't know that she was ill; and perhaps she wasn't. I did learn that she recently had her second foot removed a further complication of having diabetes, perhaps that is what did it. I regret that I was not able to attend today's service, my regret is appeased a little as this spring, when the ground thaws, there will be another service for her. I hope this will be a celebration of her life, as she led a life worth celebrating. I will be at this service.

it's sad when there is regret accompanying the death of a person you love and care about. I regret that I hadn't called aunt mary just to check in and chat. the last time I spoke with her was last fall. I didn't even see her in 2007 as I we were unable to attend the annual summertime family reunion. I hope I have learned something - call people, check in - life is unpredictable!

the following is the part of this morning's post which didn't get zapped:

aunt mary had more than her share of sadness and health troubles, but she always pulled through; in the last few years she became somewhat frail, but even frail she was always up for an adventure. within the last year, even with having to get around with a wheelchair, she still made the cross country train trip to san francisco to visit her two daughters that live out there. this fall she and her oldest daughter, who has been her guardian angel, took another train trip - this time to maine for a holiday. no matter what happened aunt mary always had a positive attitude.

she had a generous spirit and an open door policy – and would make anyone welcome - they didn’t even have to be human, aunt mary loved animals. there were quite a few summers when I was a child when my folks would drop me off at aunt mary and uncle john’s house. I'd spend a few days or even a week and run and hang with ‘mary’s girls.’ often donna, another cousin, would join the fun. it was nirvana! along with the joy of being surround by all this wonderful girl power, aunt mary’s house always had a dog (or two) and cats around to pamper and play with – for me, this was icing on the cake. I loved animals, but as a child I could only ever manage to finagle having one cat at time. not many people would welcome all this energy into their home – but aunt mary did.

she was widowed in her early 50s and three daughters were still living at home. aunt mary also experienced what none of us should, the death of a child. a few years ago the youngest of mary’s daughters died. it was tragic and oh, so sad. all of "mary's girls" inherited my aunt’s joie de vivre, incredible sense of style, her delightfully wacky sense of humor, her generous heart, and her love of animals. as her goddaughter I hope I've also inherited a little of these gifts - I know I didn't get the sense of style - but I hope I share a few of her other traits. to this I thank thee aunt mary!

all of us who have been graced by knowing aunt mary are saddened to see her leave this earthly plane. but she’s still with us in our hearts and memories. aunt mary's life provided many lessons - the biggest was to believe that life was always worth living and living to the fullest, no matter what it served up.

photos: top: some of the aunts, family reunion picnic. - aunt mary is last aunt on the right. (it is sad to look at this picture and find that half of the lovely wonderful women in this picture are no longer with us) pennsylvania, 1987; middle - the picture which I added aunt mary and her oldest daughter - her guardian angel and special companion and caregiver during her last several years , family reunion summer 2005; bottom picture - aunt mary with some of 'her girls' san francisco, 2002.


Salty Miss Jill said...

This was such a loving tribute. I hope you'll share this post with your family. :)
I'm going to go dab my misty eyes now.

Colette Amelia said...

oh my dear Kimy first miss merlin and now your aunty. lovely pics, lovely words, lovely people.

hugs for everyone!

mzjohansen said...

Your words were a lovely tribute to Aunt Mary. Losing family members is so difficult ... I always feel that my world is closing in just a bit - when a family member passes. Aunt Mary knows you are thinking of her - and you may yet feel her reassuring soft touch on your shoulder.

jenclair said...

Kim, I'm so sorry about your loss. I lost my Aunt Mary in the fall and still think of her so often. She, too, had an open door policy and a great sense of style. Losing people we love - and who have influenced our lives for the better - is always hard. Your godmother must have loved you as much as you loved her--a great gift.

mouse (aka kimy) said...

thanks salty, ca, marie and jenclair - thank you so much for you kind words and condolences - I know aunt mary is still with up 'watching out' in a way over her flock!

it would have been nice to have not zapped what I first wrote I'm glad a few folks read that version.

salty, I will give the fam a head's up about the post.

besides being my godmother, aunt mary and I shared a name - my first name is mary - although I go by kim, and aside from the nuns at school have always been called kim. when I married I did not change my name and will always be mary yanoshik - I'm the fourth consecutive generation of women in the family with the name 'mary yanoshik' - my aunt did change her name when she married but once you have a name do you always have the name? it's a bit eerie to go to the graveyard where many family members are buried and to come across gravestones with my name. however, I think the tradition has ended or perhaps is just on a generational hiatus. mary is no longer a popular name for girls and there girl in the next generation with the name.

Barbara said...

There are so many things I would love to say to loved ones departed. Now why didn't I think about this while there were still living? This is a wonderful tribute to your aunt and so well describes the role she played in your life. Maybe you should have a reunion with the 2 remaining cousins for old time's sake?

Steve Reed said...

So sorry about your aunt. It's wonderful that you have so many good memories, and such affection for her.

Unknown said...

What a wonderful tribute, Kimy. Aunt Mary sounds like a remarkable woman who lived life to the very full, and was filled with grace and a love of life.

She may be gone from the earthly plane but she is still very much with you, I have such a strong sense of her smiling down at you as I write this. Be happy, she is.


Unknown said...

My condolences. Your post was a lovely farewell. No one can tell you how to grieve or to grieve for you, but I can say this: The truly special people stay with you in ways large and small.

Reya Mellicker said...

I am so sorry for your loss. Your aunt sounds like such an amazing, lively person! Thank you for the tribute!