Feb 11-2There’s one relative that I am much closer to than all of the others.  When I have problems, she’s the person I call.    When Milton was going to propose to me, she is the person he called.  When I was trying to decide on a wedding dress, I took video of the dresses and she helped me make the decision.  When I walk down the aisle, I wanted my Aunt Cheryl by my side.

While at UNC I would spend every Thanksgiving at her house instead of traveling home.  My senior year, in 1997, Aunt Cheryl had a heart transplant.  I remember being ‘mad’ at her that year because they left me alone for Thanksgiving.  The transplant was supposed to give her 4-6 extra years of life.  But that was 13 years ago.  Whenever I could, I would travel to see her.  She started dialysis a couple of years ago.  She enjoyed reading National Enquirer to pass the time.  So I ordered a subscription.

Milton and I were in North Carolina in December to see her.  Milton told me that he wanted us to have the same type of fun loving relationship that my aunt and uncle had.  When I returned home, she called me and said she has never seen me so happy before.  She was excited for my wedding.

Recently I was getting my hair done and had a feeling of sadness run through me.  I didn’t know what it was.  A couple hours later I receive a phone call from my uncle.  My aunt had to be resuscitated three times and it wasn’t looking good.  At first I thought about flying down to say goodbye, but I didn’t want to have the last vision my aunt unresponsive and attached to all types of responses.  The next day she died.

It was difficult because the motherly figure in place of my own mother was now gone.  It was difficult because I knew how excited she was to see me get married.  It was most difficult because instead of her traveling to see me get married, I was traveling to attend her funeral.  I knew she was in a better place and the pains and illnesses she’d felt for a long amount of time were gone.  I truly believe that things happen for a reason.  I also know that she will have a back row (my parents will have the front row) seat to my wedding and all will be smiling down from above.

M.Y. February 2011

Rest in Peace

Rest In Peace?

Aug09-2My grandmother (my mother’s mother) recently passed away so I traveled to Georgia for the funeral.  I didn’t just go to any part of GA.  No, I went to Bainbridge which is about as far north as you can go in the state before running into Tallahassee, FL.  I went there a lot growing up and always looked forward to my grandma’s homemade chocolate cakes.  But, I also remembered the gnats and how they seemed to outnumber the general population (there are 12,000 people in the town spread out over only 19 square miles).  Small town, yes indeed.

It was good to visit again.  I met people that I had no clue who they were, but they knew everything about me.  Some introduced themselves as cousins that I never knew existed.  Everyone was very welcoming and wanted to accommodate Ms. Lottie Martin’s family.  The funeral was in a small country church and it was packed with people. Any empty spaces were filled with gnats once again.  They didn’t bite like mosquitoes, but they flew around you just enough to make you feel temporary insanity.

I enjoyed hearing the memories the community shared about my grandmother.  My mother was the oldest child, and only girl, with four younger brothers.  It was also soothing to hear stories people shared with growing up with my mother and learning about the stories from back-in-the-day.  After we left, we headed to my grandma’s house and I discovered albums and boxes of photos of my family.
All was well, until I arrived home and received ‘the phone call’.  One of my relatives, I won’t name any names, always seems to want to complain about everything.  This time she was calling me to rant and rave about how the service was done.  She didn’t like the program.  She didn’t like the service.  She talked about how she would have done it differently.  And you know what?  I didn’t really care what she had to say.

Anyone that has ever had to plan a funeral knows that it is a very rapid process. You are grieving and at the same time trying to make every detail right.  It’s not easy.  I did it for my mother.  There’s the entombment, the funeral, the burial, the bills, the bills, the emotions.  I put the mute button on my relative and her complaints.  There are some people that are never happy and try to make you unhappy with them.  You have to just brush them off, love them from afar, and keep your positive thoughts close to your heart.  Don’t let them bring you down.

M.Y.  August 2009