One night five years or so back, at around 10:30 or so, my wife noticed there was a message on her cell phone. We never heard the phone ring. It was from my aunt Deanne. My aunt is my father’s sister. I last saw her at my father’s funeral service, before that it may have been about 15 to 20 years.
In her message she explained that my uncle Chet, her husband, had passed away on June 17, 2009, and how she left a message at my mom’s house, since no one was home (and I haven’t lived there in decades), then later drove by and left a note. No one responded, or called. I hadn’t spoken to my mom since August of 2008, so I was out of the loop. But if the note were seen, someone would’ve gotten the word to me. But I heard nothing.
It turns out my uncle was diagnosed with cancer in March of 2009; it was getting better after chemo, 50% reduction of the cancer. Then on June 16th he had a stroke, and passed away the next day, on my son’s 5th birthday.
So, after thinking about it all night I called my aunt back the next morning. Said I was sorry for her loss, and listened to how sad, and alone she seemed. She was 67 years old, and had been married for 43 years. Now what? Even in the worst of marriages there is a sense of safety. A routine, even if it’s a daily ass beating, 10:00 am here it comes, then one day you wake up to face the day alone. I felt for her.
My aunt wanted to reconnect. Reminding me of all the good times we used to have. Those of you, who know me, know that I have a very short fuse, cross me and I’ll pick you up and toss you across the room, but something about women and children that are sad or crying really fucks me up. Cry and I’ll sign away my life’s belongings. So, I told her that whenever she wanted to get together I’d be there.
She told me that both her and my dad wanted to be artists as kids, but how life, kind of, got in the way, and how proud she was that I was doing something artistic with my life, and how happy she was that someone in the family was able to see it through.
– Last One To Die, 2011