Friday, October 3, 2008
"Life has meaning only if one barters it day by day for something other than itself."
-Antoine de Saint-Exupery
I must mention the Aunt.
A former nurse, a spinster with a penchant for ridding Mater of grey hair, and one for ruthlessly setting her personal contacts onto my prospective employers in order to ensure I gained the position, thereby unwittingly abolishing every chance I had of being employed: she passed away this morning, most unexpectedly.
My mother's earlier recollections of visiting the Aunt, pre-nursing-home days, are of enormous, cavernous wardrobes engulfed with fur coats, party dresses, perfume and countless shiny shoes. Wherever the Aunt resided, nine tenths of her living space always consisted of clothing and accessories.
She invariably attempted to polish everyone she met, with regard to world view, etiquette and educational ambition. She had a grating tendency to establish various appointments for members of her family- medical, social and otherwise- without so much as a word to those involved until they were in the hair salon, on the operating table or sitting down to dinner with an important stranger.
Having experienced severe and traumatic illness in her youth, she continually expected never to live much longer, outlasting many a younger family member, and causing her to repeatedly ask in wonderment why she herself was still there.
With no immediate family of her own, her career and her unfailing urge to help others were the wheels that kept her busy and moving, always on the outside verge of a lonely life.
Such was the way the Aunt moved through the years until the never-imagined age of eighty two, and until today, when she left us all behind for a place which I do sincerely hope is overflowing with her most beloved garments, and in which she encounters willing participants for all of her helpful endeavours.
Posted by Phyllis Hunt McGowan at 11:49 AM