Monday, April 20, 2009

R.I.P. Aunt Marilyn

My aunt died in Florida two weeks ago. She was my father's sister Marilyn and my favorite aunt. Aunt Marilyn was only 77, and she passed quickly after an illness she was fighting got much worse. My Uncle John died 3 1/2 years ago. They had been married nearly 55 years.

Most of my immediate family has moved to the Southeast over the last 20 years so we don't see them as often as when I was growing up. I've been thinking lately about how strange it is when someone who lives far away dies. It sort of feels like they are still there, living their lives as usual. I haven't seen my aunt in almost 3 years, the last time was when we went to Sarah & Mike's wedding in Florida. Sarah is Marilyn's granddaughter, my cousin Don's daughter.

And although I'm not a conventionally religious person, I have also been thinking about that saying "When God closes a door, he opens a window." Four days before my aunt's passing, Sarah gave birth to her first child, a son, Matthew; my aunt's second great-grandson. Because my aunt was so sick at the end and just seemed to be hanging on, I think she was waiting for Matthew's arrival. Once she knew he was here, safe & sound, she could go. And she did.

I have wonderful memories of time spent with Aunt Marilyn. She & my uncle shared a big two-family house in Rumford with my grandparents, and we had Sunday dinner there every Sunday until I was a teenager. As a matter of fact, their house was referred to by my parents as just "The House" even though we never lived there. We'd arrive about 11 a.m. and stay until Walt Disney was over or later after Bonanza if there was no school on Monday. One of my fondest memories is sitting downstairs in my aunt's living room between my cousins, Don & Dave, with an enormous bowl of popcorn my Uncle John had just popped feeding their dog Blackie popcorn from between my toes!

We celebrated every Christmas and Thanksgiving in that house for at least 35 years. As my cousins & I grew up, we brought girlfriends, boyfriends, wives, husbands and eventually grandchildren. Holiday dinners were at Aunt Marilyn's, that's just the way it was. My aunt always had a gorgeous tree in her living room and Christmas morning we couldn't get into the room because of all the gifts under and around it.

I wasn't able to travel to Florida to my aunt's memorial service. I was really sad about that but for now I will think about all those great memories of time spent in their house and envision her in sunny Florida. R.I.P. Aunt Marilyn.


Pam said...

What a beautiful tribute to a woman I know was big part of your life and your childhood memories. It's always so difficult to be far away when a loved passes away.

Sandy said...

Thanks, Pam, I appreciate you saying so.

Maddy said...

Hi Sandy:

Sorry to hear about your Aunt Marilyn - I do remember you mentioning her in the past. I'm sure she would appreciate all the nice things you have to say about her and the treasured memories.

I had to laugh when you mentioned the popcorn. My Aunt Chris passed away a couple of years ago (my mother's sister) and Chris & I helped my Aunt Mel clean out her apartment. I purchased the bedroom set my grandmother slept in (helped to pay for funeral expenses). My Aunt Mel let me take what I wanted from the items that were left, so I took the two torn up chairs that my grandparents always sat in when we were kids and we all spent the holidays there. My Aunt Chris never married and lived and took care of my grandparents until they died. She made the best homemade fudge and popcorn balls! Those chairs bring back good memories of my childhood, sitting with my grandparents in the double living room(both of them speaking only French). It's funny that I sometimes forget what I did last month, but those little things stick in my head like they were yesterday.

Keep up the blog - it's well designed and fun to read! Talk to you soon.

Sandy said...

Maddy! Thanks so much! I have had a few friends who read my post about my aunt say similar things; that it brought back memories of their childhoods. Thanks for sharing your memories and please keep visiting. See you soon?


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