My Great Aunt Juanita passed away this week. I met her (maybe) three times in my life, but we were connected on another level.
I was born on her birthday. We were very proud of that.
When my grandma told her I was dating women, Aunt Juanita responded with " I don't blame her! I have thought it would be easier myself! " This helped make my coming out OK for grandma too.
We shared a love and respect for Grandma, which we had acknowledged, and kept in touch with one another through Grandma. It made me feel better knowing Juanita and Grandma talked on the phone nearly every day. They were close friends and sisters.
I could have done more to be in her life, flown to Texas a few more times, been more consistent with my letter writing. But losing people you love is part of life, so I decided long ago not to have regrets about how I spend my love on people...whether that meant making changes in how I spend my time in the present or keeping things status quo. This also led to my contact policy...its never too late to get in touch, its never been too long and you never need an excuse, you just do it.
I miss my Aunt.
I mourn this loss more for my Grandma. I look at her and realize she is losing all the people she loves, all the time, one by one... and wondering when her time will come. I cannot comprehend that time of life, but I know it will come for me too (if I am lucky).
And she still loves. Life, family, laughter, naughty jokes, remembering, gossiping, indulging, and hugs... she loves it all. She is proof your heart can grow stronger and break at the same time. Proof that it is the family we keep in our hearts, living or gone, that matters.
So as a tribute to Juanita...laugh a little today! Its how she would have wanted to be remembered and the best way to remember the people that have left us!
OK. And a wee bit of an explanation. Juanita. When I mention my aunt by name, people do a double take..."are you part Hispanic?" The answer is no, I am in no way that exotic. But my Great grandpa did have a penchant for the lovely Latinas...which makes me genetically lecherous, but not Latina.