So Long, Aunt Merle

I should at least do this in the right year.

I don’t know if I wrote about my one great-aunt much. It doesn’t look like I did. She lived across the street from my grandma and they used to go back and forth pretty regularly. She was single her whole life, and seemed to enjoy her freedom, travelling a lot and having a good time. My mom would tell us stories about the trips she took with her and some of her great-aunts when she was a kid.

Eventually, My great-aunt needed to move out of her house and go into a retirement home. This was something she knew she had to do, but she didn’t like letting go of her house and some of her independence. Then, my grandma moved into the same home, so at least they were close to each other.

Sadly, they didn’t get to have long together. My great-aunt passed away at the end of November. It was so sudden that it didn’t feel real and still kind of doesn’t.

I’ll definitely miss the phone calls. I couldn’t go visit her often, but I called her every week or two. She would always ask for updates on us and tell me about the goings on there, at least what she knew. She usually mentioned something that made me laugh. She had a sense of humour, right up until the end. She was also brutally honest about how she was feeling. Although it was hard to hear, I appreciated that she didn’t try to sugar-coat it. She didn’t mind letting me in on the squabbles she was having with my grandma. Being sisters, they tended to disagree a lot. One of the last times I got to call her, after saying the usual “Hello. How are you?” she launched into proclaiming “Your grandma’s a kook!” After I stopped laughing, I got the story of what was going on. I don’t think she was as kooky as she thought, but it sounded like she was having one heck of a time.

She was determined that one day, they would fix my eyes. I had explained to her many times that fixing my eyes would be super risky and I probably wouldn’t go for it because I had never been able to see, and every time it seemed llike she understood, but whenever I saw her again, she was convinced that some day I would be able to have my sight. It was sweet, she just wanted us all to be healthy, so I stopped trying to explain things to her and I just smiled.

I’m glad I got to visit her recently. I heard some funny stories about her being a kid, things I had never heard before. If I understand it, somehow she got stuck in a turnip truck. At least she didn’t fall off the turnip truck, but it sounds like that would have been a scary few minutes.

It’s weird losing more people that have always been there. This one especially makes me realize that it’s impossible to know when you’re going to lose someone, so we shouldn’t assume we’ll always have more time.

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