Our Aunt Barbara was my mothers only sister and last living member of her immediate family, her brother Jim and Mother Muggy having both passed away several years ago.
My mother and her sister were six years apart in age to the day. Barbara left home I believe at age 17 to attend college and never returned to live with her family again. My mother being only 11 at the time says she really only got to know her sister well as they both became adults.
To me Barbara was always larger than life. She was beautiful, accomplished, sophisticated, generous and brilliant. Barbara lived and traveled the world. She was 80 so it was not a short life but none the less a life cut short.
While we mourn for all of her family left behind I feel most deeply for my cousin Kaa and my mother.
Kaa lives overseas and for the last several months has put her life on hold to care for her mother. Obviously it's where she wanted and needed to be but through my own illness I have spent a lot more time with my own mother than I probably otherwise would have. I have gotten to know her better and appreciate her more. She has been a source of strength for me and so for Kaa, as a daughter losing her mother my heart breaks.
My sister Kate was just recently here for almost two weeks prior to moving her family to England. Kate was living in the Cayman Islands when I had my BMT and she came to Rochester and spent 2 weeks away from her family to help care for me. She put her life on hold for me. My mother has lost her sister and I was so sad last week just thinking I might not see Kate again for another year. My heart breaks for my mothers loss as well.
I have been blessed with many dear friends and my mother and my sister are not the only people who have selflessly put their own lives on hold for me but when you lose someone in your family it's your family you cling to. Only they truly understand your loss.
Barbara lived a rich life and next week we will gather to celebrate that. Sad for our loss but so much better for having her in our lives for the time we did.