Saturday, February 3, 2007

Aunt Lou

Tomorrow, Feb 4th, marks the one year anniversary of the passing of Aunt Lou . She was 70 when she died and I know people say, well she was old and it was time, but really it wasn't. She had breast cancer and before she became very ill, she never seemed that old. She was full of energy and fun, she always had a positive attitude, sense of humor and a fiery spirit.
Ask me what I miss about her and I would have to say everything, everyday!! I miss how her shoulders would shake when she laughed and she laughed alot. I liked how I could call her anytime to get caught up on family gossip and we could talk trash about some and it was cool cuz we could both swear like truck drivers and she appreciated my irreverant sense of humor and I loved hers and her ability to come up with some FABULOUS practical jokes!! Even when we trash talked, she loved everybody that you could tell by the way she talked. She could trash talk you one minute and the next minute she'd be giving you her last dollar if she thought you needed it.
I can't really get into long conversations with people about her because it's too difficult to do it without losing my composure. I just have all the memories of the many Halloween's her and my mom would make my sister, my cousin and my costumes and believe me they were always very creative and made with a shoestring budget. They would send us out trick or treating with big ol pillowcases for collecting our candy and we had a blast. Easter and Christmas her and my mom always went way overboard but they instilled a tradition of fun and creativity in us that is with us to this day. Her and my mom loved going all out for all the holiday, she always wore one of those Christmas sweaters, decorated Easter Eggs and did it up big for Halloween. Aunt Lou and Uncle Ed used to have a big ol 4th of July bash with lots of fireworks and food... She always brought something really good to a get the picture. She would never let anyone say anything bad about me or my sister, if you did, LOOK OUT!! She would be in your face and all over yer bad ass...just ask her daughter in law!
I was there in the hospital the day she was told there was nothing more they could do for her...she took it like the tough spirited woman she was. Uncle Ed was pretty torn up and she was more worried about him than herself. She told me she was afraid everyone would forget him. That would NEVER happen. I was there the day the hospice people came to her house for their initial visit. She would never be a victim and was a fighter all the way. When she started losing her hair from the chemo, she went over to my aunt's house ....Aunt Linda, a pretty wild and crazy lady herself, and the two of them made a party out of shaving her head. She would have all the control over the situation that she could...I told you she was never a victim.
There was really nothing I could do for her, except call her, visit her, not as much as I should have but she was always glad, no matter how she felt. The only thing I thought I could do to show my support for her was to do something for Breast Cancer research. I started training 2 years ago this February for a 24 mile walk for Breast Cancer Research. I raised $1000. The walk was in August of that year. I knew she was too sick to come but that was absolutely ok, she was there in spirit...and I thought we would be walking right in front of her house anyway so I could at least wave. We started at about 8 in the morning at the school right down the street from her, as I turned left onto the street going up the hill I heard a car horn honk and there was Aunt Lou and Uncle Ed sitting on the side street in their car waving at me. I started crying, I knew she was feeling horrible and there she was because she knew I was doing this little tiny thing that I thought I could do for her...she wanted me to know she got it!!
I guess everyone always thinks their aunt or uncle is more fun than their own mom or dad, your own parents aren't really supposed to be as cool as their younger siblings. While my mom and dad listened to Dean Martin, The Harmonicats (yep that's a real group) and Boots Randolph, Aunt Lou had records by Elvis, The Everly Brothers and Ricky Nelson....way cooler!! While Mom and Dad didn't allow swearing and they never swore at each other, I was sure Uncle Ed's first name was Dammit and you always got to hear the inevitable "shit" when you were at Aunt Lou's. Aunt Lou and Uncle Ed were pretty wild when they were first married, but they were only 15 or 16 years old. They had a pretty cool pink and black pontiac or buick or something, they always drank lots of beer, laughed and swore alot and had lots of friends. When we stayed overnight at their house they were sure to have a hangover the next day, the only time I remember my dad having a hangover, my sister asked that everyone pray for him at Sunday School cos "my daddy's really sick today".
These are the things I think about every day, I have missed Aunt Lou for the last 365 days of the year and will continue to do so for as many days as I have left in my life.
I'm not much of a grave visitor and never was, I was thinking about going to the cemetery tomorrow to put flowers on her grave, I am not sure I could find it. The last time I saw it it was such a cold day, I remember the wind blowing through to my bones. And I remember Uncle Ed standing by her casket with his new leather coat and cream colored scarf...she bought them for him for Christmas...he stood by her casket and asked someone to take his picture. He NEVER wanted to let her go and still doesn't. The first few months he went every day at 1:00 o'clock because that's what time her funeral was and he stayed for 3 or more hours...talking to her playing Elvis music...just being there. He finally realized that was getting to be unhealthy for him so he tried very hard to go about the every day task of living. It has been very hard for him and there is definately a spring missing from his step. Aunt Lou had even cooked several meals and put them in the freezer for him, she always did that when she was going to be gone, that really wasn't very often, but she took care of him. The last I heard he had not eaten the last of them, I'm sure he is afraid that when they are gone, he will have to accept that she is not coming back.

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