Nonny was the oldest of seven children. Yesterday the baby of the family died. Aunt L was 89! When did I see her last? Was it in 1988 or 1994? Maybe in 1995? Who's funeral was it? She didn't go to my wedding or my sister's. So I'm guessing it had to be a funeral.
When I was a little girl we saw Aunt L regularly. Seeing "the family", meaning my Mom's family, was my Mom's biggest priority.
As I got older, things Aunt L said made less sense. She once accused me of stealing something from a bedroom. Although I was capable of theft, I didn't do it. I don't think she ever believed me. I cried for days and was afraid of her for a while. I still wonder about that.
She also was upset once about something I said. Growing up I slept in my Mom's 1930s canopy bed. While it was a beautiful antique, it was not very sturdy. L's daughter H and her husband borrowed it one Thanksgiving. I told my cousin H, "don't jump on it! It might break." I meant it - literally - and not the figurative way my Aunt took, making it sound like I was telling my much older, newly married cousin "don't have sex in my bed". I honest-to-God meant that if you jump on the bed it will break. I was probably 10, maybe 12.
The last time we visited Aunt L was tragic. It was Easter. I wore a beautiful periwinkle dress that I still have somewhere. My sister was in pink. It was a beautiful Spring weekend at Aunt L's gorgeous home. But after multiple phone calls, much had changed. Our dog had a number of seizures and died suddenly. My father broke the news by saying, "the dog is dead, but you have bigger things to worry about now." No sympathy whatsoever. The bigger things to worry about were that my brother was being rushed home from visiting Italy because he too was dying. (He lived about 9 more months, but we thought this was the end). I never went back to Canton, Ohio. And it was the last time I saw my brother.
I remember talking to Aunt L on the phone when my Mom died in 2001. Her husky voice in tears. I think she said, "She was like a sister to me." I knew the feeling was mutual. Although she was my Mom's aunt, they were pretty close in age. She loved my Mom dearly and passionately. And Aunt L adored my grandmother, her oldest sister. So did I!
Each year I sent her a card for Christmas with lots of pictures of my children whom she never met. She wrote back and said how much she loved them. I can hear her voice in her cursive writing.
Despite the fact that I hadn't seen her in years and years, I lost someone important to me. Someone who was part of a life that seems so far away from my busy suburbia. A piece of my simple childhood when I really loved having Grandma's sisters visit. Those were good times.
Nothing made Nonny happier than being with her sisters. If you believe in God then you believe they are finally back together again. Mom with Nonny, Aunt T, Aunt R and now Aunt L. The last women of their generation.
For me it's a loss I cannot explain. So I'll stop here and continue on with my day.