A grandmother is a mother who has a second chance

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Goodbye to my Aunt

My Aunt Mary passed away early this morning. She hadn't been well for quite some time and she was 88. But somehow none of that matters - it's still a sad loss. She and my mom were only 13 months apart and were very close. I always thought of them when I heard the song "Sisters" from White Christmas. They loved each other so much.

They grew up in the Italian neighborhood in Chicago and married men they had known since they were kids. This is a photo of my mom, my aunt, and my grandmother in the middle - amidst all their fur!

The got married two years apart, but managed to get pregnant almost two months apart and had me and my cousin, Ken (who always reminds me he's my MUCH younger cousin - by two months).
As they got older, my parents moved to Ohio and then to Tucson. My aunt and her family followed us to Tucson within a couple of years and she and mom were so happy to be together again. Rarely a day went by without a phone call or visit.

My aunt and Uncle Joey had two boys and both of our families spent most of our free time together.

Aunt Mary had a heart condition from childhood and my mother told me so many times that she worried about her and was so concerned that something might happen to her sister. Mom didn't know how she would cope with that. Then, as fate would have it, my mom died first. My aunt was devastated and never truly got over it. Then a couple of years later she lost her husband of over 50 years.

My uncle totally doted on my aunt and they were very close. His death following my mom's was almost too much for her and we didn't know how long she would last. But last she did!

She had a chance to know my babies and to meet two of my brother's children. Plus her own great-grandson.

We had a party for her when she turned 80. Lots of family and friends. This is her with her two sons. My MUCH younger cousin in on the left.

And a couple of years ago my kids were able to take a trip back to Tucson so she had a chance to meet Jenni's kids.

Ed and I visited her every trip to Tucson and for the last couple of years she was pretty much confined to her apartment. But she still laughed with us and was always ready with bowls of candy, nuts, popcorn - all kinds of snacks.

Today we say goodbye. She told my cousin a couple of days ago that she was ready to die and was looking forward to being with her husband and sister again. She was the last one in that family line and it's left the rest of us with a bit of a hole. But she was able to live a long life surrounded by family and friends and a person can't ask for much more than that!

Goodbye, Aunty Mary. Say hi to my mom for me.


susana said...

I'm sorry for your loss. Your memorial post was wonderfully written. Thank you for sharing. My mom had 6 sisters and I loved and miss everyone of them so very much. It certainly is difficult to watch the passing of an era. Hang in there.

the thrifty ba said...

she was quite the hottie-but no surprise...she is italian!
it is comforting to know that she has loved ones waiting for her with open arms.

Desert Diva said...

I'm so very sorry - it must be very difficult...

Mellodee said...

My condolences and deepest sympathies to you and all your family. I understand how you must feel, I only have one remaining uncle from mom's family of 11 kids. I hated losing them all, one by one.

namaste said...

as usual i love all the photos, sandi. i'm sorry for the loss of your aunt. she and your mom looked a lot alike. they were lucky to have each other.


Anonymous said...

Have a great time in Chicago. The tribute to Mary was beautiful. Lots of memories for me looking at the photos. OH MY GOD... Yes she was the last one. Cookie

Jenni said...

It is sad to think that all the old Italians in the family are now gone. I hope that Aunty Mary is with Grandma again.