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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Goodbye To My Dearest Aunt

Today, I will be attending the burial of the cremains of my dearest aunt, who passed away at the age of 94 on the night of November 23 at her home, the basement apartment in her granddaughter's house. My cousin, her granddaughter and ever blunt of speech, was sitting with my aunt at the moment of passing: "Two deep breaths and off she went." Hospice had seen to it that she left this earth peacefully.

This morning, my aunt will be laid to rest in a cemetery plot which already holds her husband and her only son.
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My aunt is the last of my mother's generation in my family and a second mother to me. In fact, my parents had designated my aunt as my guardian in the event that both my parents died while I was still a child.

The memorial service will be held on Saturday, December 4.

My grief and sorrow are palpable.

I'm trying to focus on all the happy memories my aunt and I made together. And, as I look around this old house, where my aunt lived for some twenty years (1947-1967), every room holds a reminder of her. She gave me so many gifts as, over the years, she showed much generosity upon me and, later in her life, gradually divested herself of her personal treasures. Our final visit together, although a time of sadness, is also a good memory: we shared thinking back on good times together. As she lay in a hospital bed in her living room, I held her hand, laid my head on her chest, and told her, "I love you. What will I do without you?"

I have volunteered to read one of Tennyson's most famous poems at my aunt's memorial service:
Crossing the Bar

Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea.

But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home!

Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;

For though from out our bourn of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crost the bar.
I'll be reading the poem from a poetry book my aunt gave me some four decades ago. Early on, she cultivated in me a love of poetry.

In observance of my dearest aunt's passing, I will not be putting up new posts through the date of the memorial service, Saturday, December 4.

23 comments:

  1. AOW, sorry to hear of your loss; we know quite well what you are going through, having lost my wife's mother on November 10. May God be with you at this difficult time.

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  2. My condolences. I'm sorry to hear about it.

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  3. Allow me to express my deepest sympathies for your loss once again. It is never easy losing someone that you love no matter how expected the end may be. I pray that you and your family find solace in your fondest memories and in the love that you bear for one another.

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  4. Condolences AOW... She has got to be in a better place!

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  5. AOW

    I am saddened to hear of your dear Aunt's passing. Please accept my sincere condolences.

    My thoughts are with you.

    God Bless,

    -VH

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  6. Condolences AOW. Your aunt is free from the cares and worries of this plane.

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  7. A hideous day at the cemetery yesterday!

    We arrived well before the appointed hour with the alabaster urn holding my aunt's cremains to bury.

    Somehow, despite several conversations last week as to how we the family wanted to proceed at graveside (the family plot already holding the cousin I considered a brother, my grandmother after whom I was named, and my aunt's husband who had died suddenly at age 31), the incompetent cemetery representative thought that we were doing a "drop off."

    A drop off! I can't believe that those words were actually spoken to us.

    And, of course, the grave had not been opened!

    The idiot at the cemetery actually considered not letting us bury my aunt yesterday!

    We expressed our displeasure -- to say the least. The grave was opened about one hour later. By then, the rain started again -- after a break of nearly two hours.

    If the cemetery had done what was supposed to be done, we'd have been able to bury my aunt's cremains without the misery of a cold, cold rain.

    We stood at the graveside in the rain and said goodbye to my aunt.

    Enough rain fell that the dirt (clay) from the opening of the grave turned into mud. As a result, there wasn't enough to fill in the grave completely. There wasn't even enough mud to cover the vault containing the urn.

    Horrible.

    My cousins, who had done the driving to the cemetery, and I rode home in silence. We did manage to stop at a restaurant for a bite to eat, but our conversation wasn't uplifting after all we'd been through at that cemetery.

    Once I got home, I fell into bed and slept the rest of the day.

    I'll never get what happened yesterday out of my mind.

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  8. Oh, AOW...how horrendous an experience!

    And you having to stand in the rain when we know you are still ill!

    That cemetery director deserves all the bad publicity he can receive, in addition to a good swift boot in the pants for being such a DOLT!

    Please, lay back today, have a brandy and some chicken soup with Mr.AOW...and work on getting well. I am soooo sorry to hear of this extra stress!

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  9. I am sorry my friend..take good care please.

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  10. How horrible! Those services are supposed to be a comfort, not a nightmare!

    Is there any recourse you can take?

    Honestly, a "drop off"?!? And what was your family to do with the remains?!? Stick them in a drawer until these morons got their act together?

    How disgusting!

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  11. First, I want to extend my condolences on the loss of your beloved aunt.

    I was shocked to read your comment. Is there any recourse for you and your family? I certainly hope you can at least give these clods an earful!

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  12. AoW,

    Take care of yourself and Mr. AoW.. Will be praying for your comfort.
    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

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  13. I'm so sorry for your loss. She lived a good, long life!

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  14. My deepest sympathies, AOW. And I am sorry you and your family experienced such terrible treatment!

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  15. AOW~ As your other friends here have expressed, I'm truly sorry for your loss, and especially for that awful experience. It's quite uncanny, I posted a piece yesterday which was inspired by Z, b/c of the way she talked about her Mr.Z. Please come by & see it . Maybe it'll give you a little lift...?

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  16. Thanks to all of you for your condolences.

    I hope that you understand why I don't feel much like blogging or commenting right now. What happened at the cemetery on Wednesday has flattened me.

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  17. What a lovely tribute to your aunt, AOW-- may her memory be eternal. I know she must have been so proud of you!

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  18. AOW, she knew how much you loved her, and at 94 she was probably ready to go and peacefully and patiently wait for her dear niece to join her.

    How blessed you are to have had this family member in your life.

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  19. You did not call me, and I had no way of knowing since I have had so much of my own to deal with. I am sorry, truly sorry for your loss.

    When my Uncle died his best friend, who I remain in contact with til this day after all the years gave me this poem in her card for me. I am leaving it for you because it comforted me and with what the Bible says about death. The Apostle Paul said, "To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord." She is alive in Jesus Christ and in your heart.

    I Did Not Die
    Author Unknown


    Do not stand at my grave and forever weep.
    I am not there; I do not sleep.
    I am a thousand winds that blow.
    I am the diamond glints on snow.
    I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
    I am the gentle autumn’s rain.
    When you awaken in the morning’s hush
    I am the swift uplifting rush
    Of quiet birds in circled flight.
    I am the soft stars that shine at night.
    Do not stand at my grave and forever cry.
    I am not there. I did not die.


    Love,
    Layla xo

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  20. Layla,
    I nearly phoned you when my aunt passed away.

    But the truth is that her passing hit me very hard and while I had the cold from hell: I slept a lot those several days.

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