My aunt died last week. She was my godmother, my mother’s closest sister. Our families have always been close.
Her death was very sudden and unexpected. She went to the restroom and her husband found her on the floor. He is a doctor and tried to resuscitate her, but there was nothing he could do.
An autopsy later revealed she had cardiomyopathy–her heart was enlarged and the thickness of the muscles impeded the electrical impulses that must fire between the two sides of the heart. She died of a heart attack. She was 68.
My uncle and my aunt were always very close. They had been married 46 years. She worked as a secretary at his office when the children were older. Their three sons have five children between them. My uncle just retired last year; they had big plans to travel together, to spend weeks and months with their grandchildren.
My mom retires in one year. She had big plans to visit her sister, her best friend, a couple times a year.
Now she’s gone.
My aunt was a really wonderful woman, so caring and so kind. She was always ready to listen, she always said the right thing, and she always wore a smile. I can’t really wrap my head around the fact that I’ll never see her again.
My uncle is absolutely devastated. My mom is a mess. We found out Saturday morning. The funeral was Wednesday. My mom and dad flew out Sunday. My sister and I flew out Tuesday morning.
Tuesday night was the viewing/visitation. The line to offer condolences was three hours long. A lot of people had to sign the guest book and leave, they couldn’t stay that long. It started at 3:00 in the afternoon and we had to lock up ourselves at 10:30pm.
Wednesday was the funeral mass, the burial, the reception, dinner at my uncle’s house.
Thursday morning my sister and I flew home.
Today I’m back at work. I hoped the funeral would bring more of a sense of closure, but I was always between my mother and sister, holding them both up, and I never felt there was space for me to really express my own grief. I suppose I’ll be working through it for a while.
On Thursday morning I ended up in my uncle’s car as he called his home number trying to reach his son. When no one answered the answering machine picked up and I heard my aunt’s voice for the last time.
Grief is a hollow space in my chest and hot tears on my cheeks.
I miss you Aunt Mary. I’m sorry I never got a chance to say goodbye.