This is not a happy post. Friday night my Aunt E. died. She truly was the keeper of the family. She was the family mother and a second mom to me. I miss her so much.
My Aunt E. knew everything about the family. Not just her side, but ours as well. She could be counted on to know all the names and places.
My farthest back memory is of my aunt sitting me atop her kitchen counter to cut my hair. I'm sure that I was just a toddler at that time. Then, when I was school aged, I used to visit for 2 weeks every summer. I always brought my friend Sue with me. Aunt E and Uncle N would take us to the beach and to Lincoln Park, an amusement park. We'd go visit the zoo.
Our families were close. We'd make the four hour round trip frequently for cookouts, family gatherings, and holidays.
Later, when we moved to Florida, my aunt and uncle would come down for the season. At first they stayed at my parent's house for a couple weeks, then a month. Then they rented a small apartment for a couple seasons. It was just a few blocks from where I lived so they would stop in nearly daily while out for a walk. Then they came for longer and rented a "double wide" for many seasons.
Amanda and I were always thought of lovingly. She treated us as if I was her daughter and Amanda her granddaughter. I could always count on her. Always.
So....now we have all been north for over four years. We haven't visited as often. It's harder to get back and forth between our homes because of traffic and then of course, illness. My cousin drove my aunt and uncle up just before the holidays. That's when we got my parent's house decorated so quickly!
This past Friday my cousin called with the bad news. My aunt had a massive stroke. At first they though she might pull through it. Then on Friday night we got the news that she would die. That she only had a day, at most. Saturday morning we got another call. My Aunt E had died during the night.
We haven't heard the final arrangements. We do know that at some point there will be a service in her memory at the South Baptist Church, where she was a lifelong member. If you look back to the first "Keeper of the Family" post (March), you'll see an old picture of the inside of the church. I don't know how any of us here will get down to the service. My dad can't travel and needs someone here with him all the time. My mom won't drive it alone (nor will I). I just don't know.