In times of tragedy we try to make sense of things.
As a writer I thought writing it down was my best bet.
I remember the priest saying “We are all made up of relationships.”
And I made a mental note to remember that, because it rings so true.
We do not live in this life alone.
We have family and friends who make our life worth living.
During these times of sadness we wonder…
When tragedy strikes, we ask why?
We get angry.
And if you’re religious, maybe you get angry at God.
I know I have had my moments.
We want answers.
The most unexplainable thing is death, and the deaths of loved ones taken too soon.
Taken by illness beyond the measures of medicine.
Beyond the strength of a character.
Beyond the love and support of a family.
Sometimes those unexplainable questions can cripple you.
Can make you feel like you can’t grasp the reality surrounding you.
How can someone who was here and present; laughing with you one moment, be gone the next?
The sorry for your loss’ and the days of paying respects go by.
What a conventionally miserable time.
But I guess as a society it is all we know.
I will never understand why we have to put ourselves through that.
That is not the person we all knew and loved.
Because their soul has already moved on, but their spirit is still with us.
Death is a part of life, yes.
Grieving is a part of life, yes.
But it is never easy.
And there is no perfect or right way to deal with that.
Death in its aberration is a route to heaven.
And if you are Catholic that gives you some solace.
That your loved ones are safe and in a happier place.
I think that’s what gets us through.
But you silently wish to yourself that we could all stay here on this earth, happy, healthy, and together, forever.
I just have to get through these next couple of days, you think to yourself.
But there is still something so scary, so final about it.
And that true cold fact can hit you when you least expect it.
It can hit you in the process of masses and burials, or it can come randomly days, or even weeks later.
It can hit you in the room, with your loved one before you.
Or it can hit you when you see old pictures of a healthier time.
You never know.
And you can’t prepare for it.
And when those times come, don’t be shameful.
Feel in your heart that your tears are for the one you love and the memories they’ve instilled in you.
I have never understood why illnesses take away the people we love.
Why death has to be so scary and crippling.
If someone has lived and laughed and touched lives they should be honored and remembered in that light.
We are all made up of relationships.
And we should value them the best way we know how.
So that’s what I’m going to do.
I’m going to deal with this the only way I know how, I’m going to write.
You were known for your sense of humor.
Your “say it like it is” personality.
Your unfiltered words and questions.
You’re incessant asking if I have a boyfriend.
“Do you have a boyfriend, you can tell me, I won’t tell anyone.”
And I would laugh and roll my eyes and tell you “No Aunt Mary, No boyfriend, not yet.”
I swear sometimes I almost wanted to say “No Aunt Mary I’m not a lesbian either.” My cousin Melissa knows the pain on that one too, Haha.
Your love of Pepsi and how you upgraded from Dunkin’ Donuts foam cups to an insulated plastic travel mug that literally went EVERYWHERE with you, accompanied by several cups of HUGE chunks of ice. Would you like some Pepsi with that ice?
I remember sitting in the back seat with you on long family drives to whatever family party was going on and having you come in with your Pepsi cup and your jokes ready to go.
And how you’d kiss the wrong cheek, when saying hello. I was always slightly confused, but it was your thing and eventually I caught on.
How no matter how hot it was outside, you had to wear a sweatshirt and jeans. With some crazy sayings on them, I might add.
I’ll never forget when you wore a YOLO shirt and you didn’t even know what it meant.
And most recently how I came to visit you and was oddly impressed by the fact that you still had a working landline telephone attached to your wall.
Your love of Mexican food and Casa Pepe.
I still remember that spicy green salsa you used to love too, and how we’d all pig out on tortilla chips and salsa on Saturdays at Aunt Linda’s house.
How you’d add salt to EVERYTHING but still managed to have steady blood pleasure like a champ.
But you hated sweets, which to me was hysterical, because who doesn’t like chocolate?
Your funky nail polish colors that you painted on yourself.
That necklace with Uncle George’s picture on it that you wore ALL THE TIME, that I thought was too funny, but you wore it with pride, rightfully so.
How you loved your cats and would always sign my cards Love, Aunt Mary, Uncle George, Midnight and Spook. Cats are family too. You also always spelt my name with one L, which I hate, but somehow it was forgivable when you did it.
The stories I wasn’t born for, but I’ve heard countless times about how you gave the cousins wine to drink when you were babysitting them, because you thought it was ice tea. (It was in the wrong bottle, so not really your fault, haha.)
Your drunken sing along rendition of “Chrissy the Christmas Mouse” that you are legendary for.
I think that’s on video somewhere, we need to break that out!
The laughs are countless.
Aunt Mary you will never be forgotten, you were one of a kind and were always someone to warn people about, before they met you. In the best possible way. Your unfiltered conversations have given us hysterical memories that will live on forever.
When I was around 10 and we were waiting outside of a store for my Mom and Aunt Linda and you just randomly fell to the floor next to me. I was so confused until it hit me, and I ran to get help. And later on when we asked if you felt a seizure coming on, you simply said “Oh yea, but I just didn’t say anything.” And I just freaked out saying “Oh so you just decided to scare the crap out of me instead.” You made light of your struggle and you never let it stop you from living your life.
I still can’t believe you are gone, the more I think about it the more unreal it seems. You’ve battled epilepsy all your life and you never let it stop you from doing anything. It breaks my heart to know your fight was masked by an even greater one.
But I also know that you are no longer in pain anymore that you are at peace and you are with your mother Margaret probably playing cards or bingo and being fabulous ladies together.
With your big phone… you’re probably taking selfies with all the celebrities up there. Damn I wish heaven had a Facebook page, I’d like that shit in a heartbeat.
And your Pepsi on ice in what I can only hope is a fabulous crystal cup, because you deserve another upgrade.
And your feast of Mexican food, I am sure Casa Pepe will deliver, just for you.
A great big Pepsi Cheers to you Aunt Mary, cheers to your life, cheers to the memories you’ve given us and the strength you had until the very last-minute.
It’s a lesson to all of us who love you that we can get through anything, if we just channel your strength.
I love you, Aunt Mary.
And don’t worry when I do bring a boy around, he’s gonna know all about you, I promise.
Rest In Peace you spunky angel! You are one tough cookie.
And as little Soph says; “See You A’gain.”