Thanks for the memories

Thanks for the memoriesLast Friday, my great aunt passed away.  She had been diagnosed with cancer some time ago, so we all knew this day was coming.  On the same day another of our community elders also passed away.  And today, I heard that the aunt of someone else I know had passed away.

As is natural at a time like this, when I got together with my family over the weekend, we got to reminiscing about my great aunt.   She was a real character.  She knew what she liked and didn’t like.  She liked a good old gossip, she really enjoyed her food, and she had a loud, infectious cackle of a laugh.  I remember her sitting on our sofa, with a plateful of food, telling us something about someone that she really shouldn’t have been telling us.  Then she’d ask how we were doing, and what we were up to.  She’d say something spicy and hilarious, and then there’d be that raucous laugh.  We’d laugh and giggle with her, and when she left we’d sometimes wonder which aspect of her visit with us was going to be part of her next round of dinner time talk somewhere else.

And that led us to reminiscing about other close family and friends that are no longer here.

One of my mum’s older sisters used to look after me regularly when I was little.  She passed away over twenty-five years ago.  She was a tiny, beautiful woman, who had the most amazing stories.  She’d trade with me – as long as I massaged her legs she’d tell me stories.  We used to be there for hours.  She also taught me an ancient Sanskrit prayer that I still know, word for word, to this day.  I was a complete tomboy when I was younger, and she used to despair of me, begging my mum to force me to wear a dress, to learn how to cook, to become more of a girl.  I just wanted to get out of the house and enjoy pretend battles with sticks for swords with my cousins (all boys, all older, all blissfully unaware that they shouldn’t be teaching their impressionable little cousin how to ‘fight properly’ with her stick sword!).  I wish she could see me now, wearing dresses, cooking and you know – being a girl!  (Although she’d probably be on at me about not being married).  I loved being around her – even when she was berating me for being a tomboy, there was so much love and laughter and joy there.

And that’s what it’s all about isn’t it.  It isn’t about what you do for a living, it isn’t about how big your house is, or how many holidays you take.  It isn’t even always about your greatest achievements.

It’s about how you make other people feel.  That’s what people remember about you.  She made me feel loved, twenty-five years ago and today. I wish I could tell her thanks for the memories.


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