Last week my family found out that my dad’s youngest sister had cancer. By the time the results of her biopsy came in, the cancer had advanced so quickly the doctor didn’t think she’d live the weekend. Just like that. It spread and wound through her stomach and liver like an ink spill seeping through fabric and robbing her of the rest of her days. She passed away on Friday.
Life really is that fleeting. It’s whizzing by and it’s enough to make me wonder if I’m choosing the right today items. Am I making the right people a priority? Am I too laid back about finding my Mr Wonderful? Am I living a life that’s reflective of who I am or am I letting my life create me? Do I give enough of myself to those around me in all that I do? Do I expect enough back?
On Thursday, my parents and I visited my aunt at the hospital. Friends and family were going in and out of the room as she slept, speaking to her in hushed tones and leaving the room to hug one another and let out their tears. I’m not good at being emotional in front of other people. I clam up and swallow it all down and end up standing amongst everyone else like an emotionally stunted weirdo. I felt like a movie was playing around me as more people poured in to say goodbye. My cousins were visibly shaken but held it together incredibly as they repeated the doctor’s words about their mother’s condition to the endless stream of new visitors. A woman I didn’t know told us my aunt was her only female friend and that they’d planned to grow old together after their husbands died. I just stood there as it played off like a movie reel. None of it felt like it was really happening.
I learned of my aunt’s death on Saturday afternoon right before about 8 of my friends were set to come to my house to celebrate St Patrick’s day. Not everyone would agree with my choice but I went ahead with the party anyway, but not in a disrespectful or uncaring way.
I spent the night surrounded by tangible reasons why living every single moment of life to the very fullest is so imperative. Some of them are ones I cried with throughout high school when my heart was broken. Some of them are ones that get excited about the same nerdy things that I do or make me laugh until I’m crying and I look like Alice Cooper. Some of them sat with me and shared a beer on our front porch after a long week at school. Some of them are ones I’ll stand beside at their wedding and if ever it happens, I hope will be up there with me at mine. A lot has changed and happened over the years but if I’ve learned anything these past few days, it’s about whose there right along with me helping me jump those hurdles and conquer those tough moments and how they’ve made it all so worthwhile. I’d say I’ve got the A-Team where that’s concerned.
RIP Aunt Annette. I hope you did too.