Dear Aunt Virginia,
You died the day before yesterday. Thursday. Steven’s FB post said at 3:40 p.m. I hope you died in your sleep. My thoughts are maybe you didn’t, because it was this middle of the afternoon. I’m sorry that I didn’t know if you were ill, or not. I’m sorry that I haven’t come to see you, or written you in the past several years. It doesn’t mean that I haven’t missed you though, because I have.
I remember coming to visit you with my Mother in Selma and spending Thanksgiving with you. I think that was one of the last ones that my Mother was here for. I wish I had a better memory. I wish that I had photos of that day. I remember the ham that you made. It was beautiful, with pepper corns all over it. Pineapple too. I’d never seen one like it. I’ve always been in love with old-fashioned cooking.
Hope and Joy were there, and some of their children. Their names, my Cousins names, escape me. I wish I knew that side of my family better. I wish that I could see everyone that I love and think about every day. Unfortunately, life doesn’t allow me and that makes my heart ache all of the time.
Sometimes I feel like I am being held back in a cage. Not being able to get out. Everything is so encompassed with needing money, a car and time. I wish that money was no object. It would make life so much easier. Easier to do things freely, see people freely, everyone be equal and happy. Life just seems it would be more fulfilling and happier that way. I would be able to see people in my lives more no matter where they lived, or what was going on at the time. I could just go. See them. Be happy.
I hope that you died quietly and with no pain. That is the one most important thing to me. You deserved that much. You were such a wonderful person. A beautiful person. You lived a long life. Are loved by so many.
I hope that Great Uncle Arthur will be okay with you gone. You have been each others lives for as long as I can remember. Even many, many years before. I remember going to your 50th wedding anniversary party. You renewed your vows. It was at the Portuguese Hall in Selma. There were so many people. It was a wonderful party. I cried, watching you walk down that isle. Glowing and so happy. Watching you have that first dance all over again. You inspired me, you were beautiful with the both of you smiling at each other and so happy. What a feeling to have. Contentment with your partner and in your life. You exuded it that day. I was proud to be party of your family, share the same blood. I danced with a younger cousin, I can’t remember his name right now, but he was a def speaking boy with blonde hair. Shorter than me. We danced and he looked up at me and asked if I would marry him. I laughed and held him tighter. I loved dancing with him that day and getting to know him a little better later in life. If it wasn’t for you, and your grandson, that day, would have never knew him. He reminded me of you with that smile of his. What a day it was.
I also remember sitting at my Aunt Barbara’s house one day while you and Uncle Arthur were visiting. You would sit with your legs all spread and comfortable. It cracked me up. You were always laughing and at ease in you skinny polyester pants and your blonde short undo. Aways dressed nicely, with your lipstick and jewelry on. It just cracked me up that such a lady would sit that way. I loved it, because I always sat that way too. I felt a bond, because of the way we sat. A silly little bond.
I remember you coming to visit at my house with Uncle Arthur and Michael, my red-headed Cousin, in tow. He was always a mystery to me. He was fun though. I wish that I knew him better. Having childhood memories of my family that I feel so distant from sometimes saddens me. I wish I knew them all better. I always looked forward to when you were coming to visit though. I loved them.
I remember the last time that I saw you with my boys. I was driving back from a visit in Santa Cruz with the family and I decided to stop. We met at McDonalds, because it had a play area for my boys to play. I can’t remember if I had Reed yet. If I did he was an infant I believe. We sat in the play area and talked and ate. We walked out to the cars together and we went to say good-bye. You bent down to hug Alex and he jumped up and hung from your neck. This upset you. It scared me that it upset you so badly. He didn’t understand that he could hurt you. He just wanted to love you. You seemed agitated. That made me sad. I assured that he didn’t know any better and was just trying to give you a hug. I’m always so worried about everyone else’s feelings. That was the last time I saw you that I can remember. I’ve missed you so much since then.
I have been planning a family reunion in my head for several years. Always waiting until I moved back to California to do it. Waiting for 10 years now. I’ve realized today that waiting is something that I should never do. Now you won’t be there and that sickens me. Sickens me to my stomach.
I now worry what I need to be doing. Should I be calling Uncle Arthur? When will your funeral be? How will I get there since I can’t drive? Will Andrew be able to take me? Will Aunt Barbara and Uncle Bill be going? Should I fly, and would someone in my family be there to pick me up? All of the questions that torture me. Constantly. I just want to be there for you. I love you. I am aching from losing you. I am devastated. I’ve missed you for so, long and now that longing will never be satisfied. You will be missed eternally now. Eternally.
I love you, Your Great Niece,