Too Soon

2 days less than 10 months. That is the time between my Mom’s death and her oldest sister’s death. Aunt R. passed away this past Saturday morning. She had been ill but the timing was still unexpected for the family. I’m thankful that Aunt R. did not suffer long. I’m truly happy for her. There must be one incredible family gathering going on in heaven. She met her stillborn son for the first time yesterday. How amazing must that have been?

But it is still oh so hard to be left behind. Her children are stunned and grieving. My Aunt A, who cared for my Mom was also there for her older sister. Again she gave everything she had to give. And again she is with her sister’s children while their grief is so fresh. She really is my hero.

There have been awful reminders all the way through the last few months. Hospitals, decisions, family visits, debates and discussions about the future. It was all so fresh for all of us. The update phone calls though the family. Only this time it was different, the family communication chain was broken. In our extended family news traveled by generation; Grandma would talk to her children and then they would pass on whatever news to their children. When Grandma was gone the news would travel between the siblings and then pass on to the children. My sister and I no longer had that connection. It felt strange to not have my Mom call me to tell me that her sister was in the hospital; or home from the hospital or that she had passed away. Auntie A. and my cousins were wonderful about updating us as needed but it was still a reminder that Mom was missing from the chain.

I didn’t know Aunt R. very well. I respected her and had spent time at her farm as a child but never got to know her as an adult. She was very quiet and to be honest I just wasn’t sure of what to talk about with her. We were just very different people. And I had never realized how similar she was to my Mom until I went to visit her about a month ago. I was hesitant to go because I just wasn’t sure what to expect or if I could handle it. Aunt R. was in the hospital but was out for a day pass to spend with family. Aunt A and my Uncle and his wife were there as well as me and a few of my cousins. We had a good visit and a really good supper together. I’m glad I went but it was not easy. I wanted to escape at some points. Just go for a walk and get some fresh air.

Her voice, her smile and the way she moved. Getting her to walk around with her walker before we had supper nearly sent me over the edge. The task of getting her down the outside steps and into the car to go back to the hospital for the night just made me cry.  All of these things and more were painful memories of my Mom. And then when she was transferred to St B last weekend I knew that I needed to go see her. I knew I would but it was not going to be easy and it would take some deep breaths. I had gone back after my Father-in-law died on the 8th floor of St B a year before my Mom was admitted for the first time.  I told myself that I could do it again.  I was going to go this weekend and actually reminded myself on Saturday morning that I needed to be sure to go that evening.

And then I got the call at 2pm. I no longer have to get myself back into the hospital but now there is another family funeral. It all just feels too soon. I know this is far bigger than just me. There are her children, her siblings, her other family and friends that also have to go through this time. It’s not easy for any of us. We all have our own story.

Today my story is that I’m reliving my Mom’s sickness, death and funeral while the family grieves again far too soon.

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