My Aunt Linda died yesterday. She was an aunt by marriage. The marriage ended. The "Aunt" status was for life.
I remember her as a high school twirler. (Majorette?) She wasn't my aunt then; I was just a little girl who was quite taken with that shiny baton and those boots. (Go Go boots?)
Then she married my uncle. I was probably a 7th grader or so, but I remember their wedding really clearly.
I can still hear her saying "Mother and Daddy" when she spoke of her parents. In fact, her voice is unforgettable.
She gave birth to three of my CraZy cousins. When the last one arrived, she and I were having babies at the same time. I remember talking babies and pregnancies with her.
There was a divorce, and I remember my grandma saying something about her always being part of our family. And she was.
Thank goodness Facebook arrived to give us a chance to "talk" on a regular basis.
In fact, Facebook allowed her to reach out to L and CB who were hunting a dining room table. She was downsizing and wanted her dining room set to stay in the family. (And I love how we, all the CraZy cousins and our kids, were ALWAYS her family.)
I remember L telling me how wonderful Aunt Linda was to her stepdaughters when they went to pick up the furniture. When they left there were hugs for the little girls who asked, "Can she be our Aunt Linda, too?"
She was part of a loud, noisy, CraZy family for awhile, and every newbie outlaw to the family felt like Aunt Linda sought them out to talk and make them feel part of the family.
And now those memories are going to be all we have. Except she is leaving the best part of her behind--three terrific kids who are a little bit heartbroken today. And a lot of CraZy cousins who share in their sadness and tears.
Not weeping for the memories-- just remembering the love.