Friday, September 17, 2021

Feeling Okay

It's been one week today since Auntie Vi died and bink & I went down to the Milwaukee-area to say good-bye to her home and friends there.

THANK YOU, all who offered condolences.
Being connected to living people helps a lot right now (even if I'm not keeping up with responding very well).

I toast you with pumpkin-spice coffee in my new speckled ceramic mug--a gift from Vi's basketball coach neighbor, Lance, along with the scented coffee beans.

Vi's neighborhood is (was? is) potpourrish, even the guys. They'd like Mown Grass air-freshener. (One of her neighbor friends told me he mows his grass on Mon-Wed-Fri and sometimes Saturdays--mows a different direction each time.)
Her neighbors were the sort of people who might vote for Trump, some of them;
but (or "and") would help their neighbor die at home, including staying up all night nursing her through her final hours, as Vi's neighbor-family Sheri, Cindy, and Lance did.

This is the obit I wrote for Vi, with her friends in mind.
Some of the photos of Vi's life I screencapped from the funeral home site:

  •  Top row, left: with her brother Tony, home from the Navy at the end of WWII
  • Top, right: Marrying Gil, 1958
  • Bottom row, left: wearing a green dress she sewed herself to a wedding, with an uncle and her mother, my grandmother
  • Bottom, right: Last summer, 2020––pulling down her Covid face-mask––with sunflowers, the signature bloom of Leos

 The first day back home, I was too wiped out to go to work like I'd planned.  But by mid-afternoon I felt floaty and unmoored. Luckily Marz came over later and pulled me down from where I was bobbing along the ceiling.

Vi had always been an anchor in my life--I'd visited her regularly since I was eleven--and since twenty-six, usually with bink, who Vi called her niece too.
Vi was a stable personality;
when I was a teenager, there were times I thought she was boring. (I was comparing her to my mother, but who can compete with a charismatic, narcissistic Scorpio? Not an insult, just a description, or even a compliment...)

My auntie was a Leo--a steady supply of sunshine-y personality.
I miss that, even though I used to wish she could see more shadows and complexity.
We would email almost every morning, and I'm still getting flashes of what to write--usually something about the weather, which is plenty un-boring this time of year.

"Seems to be an early fall," I'd have written this morning.
"I'm sitting here on the porch wearing a jacket and scarf, covered with the lap rug you knit from yarn you spun yourself. It still smells like your house--sort of warm and woody, and I feel wrapped up in your love-–now and forevermore, as you used to sign your emails."

I worry this post could sound slightly insulting, but my point is it was exactly my auntie's predictable, protective love that I cherished so much, and I miss her in a way I've never missed either of my parents, with a plain old uncomplicated grief.

Socializing and working and generally keeping busy aligns me with life in the world. I have a bunch of things lined up, more than I'd usually like.
So that's good.

Vi always carried on, with cheerfulness and courage. 
I do that too. If that's a little bit boring quality, I am nothing but grateful I've inherited it.


Tororo said...

Your obit sounds so right. Let's help each other with building wings, all of us!

Sarah said...

It is so hard to lose that steady presence I know just what you mean when you say you are still getting flashes of what to write. I think your aunt sounds a lovely lady. Keep smelling the blanket. x

Linda Sue said...

Your Auntie is lovely, calm ,and I love that you are wrapped up in her lap blanket, a comfort, a hug.
The absence left is unfathomable- how can it be?? Gone? Gone where? She will likely be leaving hints in your path. Pay attention. They can be subtle...or right there in your face!

River said...

Steady and cheerful can be boring to a teenager, but there are many times when that steadiness and calm is needed, to be the rock or the anchor that keeps another safe. Take all the time you need for the grieving, let it happen in its own time, cry when you need to and smile at the memories.

Fresca said...

Thanks, all. Love you.