My great aunt passed away last week and I have been wanting to write, but not knowing what to say or how to say it.
I feel like I didn’t know her very well. I just knew her as Aunt Sydell. She always had something to say. Some story to recount. Some joke to tell. She was the life of every family party. She was fun to be around. And she always looked so glamorous.
Her and my great uncle were married for almost 62 years. It always seemed to me like they were made for each other. My grandma knew her for even a few years longer–her oldest friend. And they talked for hours every Saturday. She and my great uncle had two kids, who collectively had six kids, who are really just getting started having kids. Still, there are two great-grand kids, with two more on the way.
Last summer, as I was hugging her goodbye after a family party, she said she understood what I’ve been going through with my cancer and wished me the best. She had been diagnosed with lung cancer–for the second time in her life–and with lymphoma on top of it. That’s more than her fair share, if you ask me.
When I talked to her last Saturday to wish her a smooth surgery, she seemed exhausted to be going through another lung surgery–her third–and equally exhausted about the chemo she would had to endure after. “It’s a good thing I kept my wigs,” she said. “I never had enough guts to walk around bald before, but maybe now would be different.” Despite all that she’s gone through in her life with cancer, she qualified everything she said about cancer with, “Well you know.” I’m not sure if I know. I’m all of 26. She was 80.
I’ll miss you, Aunt Sydell.