I come from a relatively large family with seven aunts and uncles on both my mothers side and my fathers side of the family and too many cousins to remember. They are all beginning to age and I live approximately 2000 miles away from them enjoying the Florida mild winters and sunshine while they continue to suffer the northeast's brutal winter cold and snow.
Shortly before Thanksgiving I was notified that one of my favorite aunt's had passed away. She was favorite for a number of reasons one of which was that she was my Dad's sister married to my Mom's brother. My mother's brother passed away a couple days before Christmas 30 some years ago from Hodgkins Disease and my aunt never remarried. They had five children together, two girls and three boys. The two girls look a lot like my sisters and me. The boys not so much. I have great memories from long ago of staying at their house overnight on a Saturday night while our Dad's went to the car races. We would play dress up and games and eat popcorn. I still keep in touch with my cousins but more so since their mother died a few days before Thanksgiving. The holidays are a terrible time to grieve, more so than any other time it seems, especially for this family.
Another favorite aunt was laid to rest today and due to distance and expense I could not attend the formalities that go along with death. She was always a favorite because she was the oldest on my Dad's side of the family and everyone called her "Sis'. If you wanted to know anything about another family member you would call Aunt Sis and she would always know and let you know what to do. She was married three times, fifty years to her second husband and only four years to her last one. She and her second husband would always take me to the out of town or 'away' high school football games until I got my license and could drive myself and some friends. My uncle always had a quarter for me no matter how old I got. My aunt would tell me all kinds of childhood stories about my Dad. I remember the one about my Dad trying to fly off the chicken coop, fell and broke his little finger. His finger never did straighten out after that short fall.
On March 11 my Dad's been gone ten years already. I think of him everyday and all his idiosyncrasies that were his alone. I can's say I grieve for him, I've passed that stage, but I grieve for everyone who still has to go through the grieving process for a parent or a child or any loved one.
The loss of a loved one is something you never get over, you just figure out a way to go on without that person in your life, and remembering the many good times.