Highs and Lows

I love the holidays.

I love getting and making presents for the people I love.  I love the snow.  I love being with my family and sharing laughs.

But the holidays can sometimes be a mixed bag.  This one has been an up and down affair.

It has had glittery snowfall, twinkling lights and beautiful moments.

But it has also had an injured elbow and incapacitated arm for the Fiend, loss of valuables for TR and the loss of a family member for me.

The last we learned about today.

I come from a pretty big family.  My father has three sisters.  They are three of the most different but also three of the most wonderful women I know.

Janet is so kind, a school teacher and lover of animals.  Linda is funny and warm, the organizer of the family.

And then there was Jackie.

I didn’t know her as well as Linda and Janet.  But she still has her place in my heart.

I was often compared to her because of my free spirit and artistic bent.  I found her fascinating.  She was eccentric, but full of life and laughter.

Her family moved to Arizona when I was fairly young.  We saw them rarely after that.  But I will always remember one time she came to visit.

I was in middle school and she came to stay for several days.  She encouraged my art, even painted with me.  We listened to records and talked about politics.  She gave me my first perm.  Admittedly the last bit was disappointing, but that’s more about my thin hair than anything.

She was sick then, recovering from cancer.  That was the beginning of a slow degradation of her health and well being.  We saw her barely at all, and began to hear from her less and less.  My other aunts would go to visit, make sure she was alright.  But she became more and more of a ghost.

And then today we learned she had died.  The aunt that I reminded everyone of.  The aunt that was involved in all of the best stories.  The aunt that was a little bit out there, but a lot of fun.  And she is gone.

I will take some comfort in knowing that there is a little of her in me.  The parts that are willing to take risks.  The parts that make people smile.  The parts that love so large it is breath taking.

I only wish there was some way to comfort my father and Janet and Linda.  Some way to make the hurt they are feeling less.  All I can do is be here for what they need.

Goodnight Jackie, I hope you rest well.

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