That was written on a t-shirt my favorite Aunt from childhood got me one time for Christmas. She loved my humor, and me hers, and we whopped it up every chance we could. I loved when she visited us at our new house because she would seek me out and hang out with me; dishing all the dirt, telling me her dreams. She always seemed impressed with my conversation and I loved her dearly for the attention. She was the only one in my family that did that.
As a yoot I remember walking up her driveway one day and finding her and her sister laying on lounge chairs getting some sun. She was maybe 16 or so at the time. I was maybe 5 and I had set off across the city to visit.
She was excited to see me and got up to run down the driveway to meet me. I just remember seeing her and her sister and we had a good laugh about me and my youthful journey. She told me I was brave and adventurous.
We were very close and I have many wonderful memories until our falling out that one time after I had returned from the military, and traveling. As a bitter alcoholic, from a family of (negative) she had her moments and as a new adult I didn’t have any of it. We’d talked over the years and visited but our relationship was never the same. Her sister, my mother, is also a bitter and angry person. She had me out of wedlock in the ’60’s and wouldn’t let anyone love me. She affected the relationship I had with my Aunt, and everybody else, in negative ways. She wrecked my Aunt with savage hatred. Her own sister.
My Aunt died the other day. No doubt from the cancer she had been fighting for years. No doubt because of being alone and afraid – there is a very selective ‘support’ system in my family. We were kindred in a lot of ways and a big part of my childhood is full of smiles and love – from her and nobody else.
Once, the Aunt I knew and loved, was full of joy and vibrancy and the people closest to her sucked it all out of and piled on the pain and abuse. She cried alone in dark places and rejected love from the world she grew to mistrust.
She died pitied and severely judged – she was set up to fail by her own family and was only offered support with strings. She didn’t reach out to me because ‘that wasn’t allowed’.
The last time we spoke was this past Spring when she called because someone had given her a short-wave radio and she wanted me to have it because she remembered I was always into electronics and tech and whatnot.
I hope she didn’t hear me crying on the phone for the lost years.