For the second time in three months I've lost a beloved family member. My Aunt Kathryn passed away yesterday, and although I knew she was losing her battle with cancer, it still seems impossible that she is gone. I was recently asked to write a letter to Aunt Kathryn and Uncle Roger for a book their children were compiling as a 50th wedding anniversary gift. Knowing that she was dying made it a
difficult letter to write, but it also gave me the chance to express to them how lucky I was to have had them in my life. When I was growing up our family was very close-knit and I always felt very lucky to have an extended family who actually liked each other and enjoyed each other's company. I have so many happy memories of family gatherings before death and distance began to separate all of us. I'll never forget the fun and laughter that was a part of each visit, the Easter, Christmas and Thanksgiving feasts, and the Saturday nights when the adults got together to play cards and the kids would fall asleep on blankets they spread out on the floor.
Last summer I was able to spend an evening with my aunt and uncle one last time. Kim and I were vacationing with my sister's family in Tennessee about 5 hours from their house, so we drove to North Carolina to spend the evening with them. They insisted on making us a big dinner and we reminisced and laughed all evening. Aunt Kathryn had seen the doctor that day and he was very concerned about her and had scheduled her for further testing. We left with a bad feeling about what was to come, but I will always be grateful that we were able to spend that evening together while she was still feeling well. Tomorrow is Aunt Kathryn's funeral and I wish I could be there. I'm sure it will be an incredibly difficult day for my cousins and my uncle, but I know they are holding onto the fact that my Aunt is in a better place where she's no longer suffering and where she's having a wonderful reunion with a growing number of loved ones. I'll miss you Aunt Kathryn.
"How lucky I am to have known someone so hard to say goodbye to."