Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Recognition and significance

I've been thinking a lot about Aunt Marie lately. Her birthday is this week.

Well, maybe I haven't been thinking about her any more than I normally would. I think about her a lot. I think about what she'd say about a certain situation. I think about what she would make for a family party. I crave those lazy Sunday afternoons when she would come over and sit on the deck (weather permitting, of course. If we weren't on the deck, we'd be at the kitchen counter) and do absolutely nothing but talk and gossip and maybe look at Target's sale flyer.

I don't talk a lot about Aunt Marie to many people. It's a weird thing to bring up in conversation, your dead aunt. Sometimes I just want people to know. My aunt died and I really miss her. And I see that my mom and my grandma are a mess and it kills me. That's what I want to say. To anyone who would listen, sometimes. Just because putting it out there in the world makes it more real and, believe me, it is real.

It is rare that I say anything.

When my aunt died (and, to a lesser extent just because I was younger, when my uncle died), it became really apparent to me how people judge your relationship with people based on their title. Parent = big deal. Spouse = big deal. Aunt = not so significant.

And that shouldn't be. It isn't my place, to evaluate a person who has died in relation to the person who he/she left behind to determine if it is significant. If I know about the death, it probably is. And a card is appropriate. Better to err on the side of too sappy than to potentially ignore a very significant loss in someone's life.

I'm going to get better at that. To keep a stock of sympathy cards on hand and recognize the losses of my friends and my colleagues.

Everyone has an Aunt Marie in his or her life.


Anonymous said...

This is so true about how title/significance of death, it's true and awful.

My best friend is like a sister to me. And my aunt is like a mother to me. I don't even want to go there.

I'm sorry for your loss. It's good to keep thinking of her. I get it though, talking about someone who died is usually awkward for the person you are talking to. But it's good to have at least someone you can talk to about it.

Lauren said...

It is good to continue thinking of her, and there are ways to continue honoring her place in your life always.

I miss my Uncle Leo. He died a little more than 8 years ago when I was in Russia. He was like a father to me, and I still miss him all the time. I don't always talk about it much anymore to anyone, but I still find quiet ways in my every day life to remember him in my life.

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