About a month or more ago, I scheduled dinner with my friend Jenna for September 24th. I didn’t know then that I’d be facing so much strain on my heart when the date approached. My parents’ upcoming medical test and procedures, my aunt Lola’s rapidly advancing dementia and my fiancé’s aunt’s sudden downturn.
Two days ago there was a new pain. My aunt Debbie suddenly left this Earth. She had dementia, she said, but she still remembered me, could communicate and get out. I thought she was doing well considering it all. I looked forward to seeing her this December at my great Uncle Howard’s 90th Birthday party. But, the opportunity for us to each other again was ripped away.
Last night, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go out at all. I hadn’t slept much since I heard the news of her passing. Tons of questions kept me. However, I didn’t want to miss out on seeing other people who mean the world to me. So, I got up from my desk at work at 6:15 and headed to Amber, a Japanese restaurant on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.
We caught up and shared stories. I told them details about my aunt’s death and my relationship to her. They were things I’d only dare share with a few select people.
My friends helped me find my smile, the authentic one, and calmed my troubled soul with understanding words. And, one friend even brought me a dress that she thought would look great on my mom after her dramatic weight loss as a result of cancer treatment.
When we left I insisted we take a picture; something I usually dread. We crowded together and smiled widely. Then, we hugged goodbye.
Shortly after I got home, my friend Jenna posted the picture and I smiled again. I found myself checking the post every few minutes. I realized I was expecting my aunt Debbie to love it like she always did. I waited for her comment to appear wishing me a good day, ask how I was feeling, telling me how nice I looked and how much she loved me. But, it never came. It didn’t because she is gone. I guess it’s just hard to accept that and let go.
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