Today, my aunt has been on my heart and my mind. It’s been almost exactly 7 years since she passed away. Her daughter, my cousin, has been one of my closest friends since we were babies. I remember how much I loved sleeping over at their house. Of course, playing with my cousin was the main draw, but my aunt always made it so much fun. I still remember one of my cousin’s birthday parties. She must have been turning 10 or so. My aunt must have bought every junk food under the sun, cases of gourmet soda and tons of ice cream. She knew just how to spoil us. Of course, my uncle’s amazing breakfasts were always a treat too.
By the time we were both in high school, my cousin and I grew apart a little. We had our own friends, our own hobbies. We didn’t see each other much and I didn’t see much of my aunt. After high school, my cousin and I moved into a house together maybe a mile from her parents’ house. I got a chance to be reminded how loving my aunt was, how giving she could be. Once a week, she’d stop by our house and drop something off, most of the time it was food. We’d sit and chat for hours.
I truly cherish that time my cousin and I lived together. Not just for reconnecting with my cousin, but my aunt too. Less than a year after moving in with my cousin, my aunt suffered a heart attack and passed away a week later. I’m sad that Hubs didn’t get to know her. I’m sad that my boys never got to meet her.
But there is one little thing they will know. As a kid, every time I stayed the night, she’d follow the usual “Good night, sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite” with “and if they do, grab a shoe, and beat them ’til they’re black and blue!” Every night, Junior and I repeat that and I can’t wait to teach him about his great aunt. She may not be here anymore, but she won’t be forgotten.