Recently I learned that my Aunt Mary died. I realized that three of the six children in her family have now passed away—including my mother, Uncle Tom and now Aunt Mary.
My mother grew up in a family of 6 kids. There were 3 kids born early in her parent’s marriage and 3 born after a significant gap of time. The age difference is best described by the fact that my Uncle Bob, (who was the oldest of the first three) was my mother’s first grade teacher. My mother was the oldest of the younger three.
My home is filled with quilts lovingly made by my Aunt Mary. She made a special quilt for each of my children and I inherited many of the quilts she made for my mother. I treasure them all. They represent one of my Aunt Mary’s languages of love—a carefully designed, planned and executed gift for her loved ones. She wove into the fabric her love for each special individual who was lucky enough to be graced by one of her quilts.
Each quilt made by my Aunt Mary is still in as pristine shape as the day it arrived. They have been used, carried by children, loved, snuggled and slept under for decades now, but the quality of her workmanship has held up as if they each arrived yesterday. As I pulled one over my legs last night I was struck by the comfort that her quilts have given me for years and how more even deeply that comfort reaches now.
My Aunt Mary was a nurse by profession and the mother of her three children Audrey, Kelley Joe and Theresa. My memories of her are as an aunt and mother, because it was always on family vacations and gatherings that we saw each other. But I can imagine her as a nurse—the caregiver role fit her so thoroughly. My Grandmother was a nurse and Aunt Mary followed in her footsteps. Through my Aunt Mary I believe I got to see a glimpse of who my Grandma Kelley must have been.
My heart breaks for my cousin’s as they walk through the grief of losing their mother. There is nothing quite like that sorrow of losing your mother.
Thank you for writing this lovely article. You are such a gifted writer I am going to lift part of it to go in the ulougy tomorrow.
We are glad that the quilts are in use. Mom heard the story of the girls sleeping under the quilts but over the bed dings so they didn’t have to make their beds.
I am glad I can be there in words tomorrow since I can’t be there in person. So sorry Audrey for your loss.