Last week I told you all about the glow of my tree and stories of its ornaments giving me solace as I prayed for the healing of family members. Since then, it has been bringing me some peace as I mourn the passing of my Aunt Marie.
Aunt Marie was my mom’s sister and a loving presence in our family. When I was a little girl, I used to play sick at school because Aunt Marie was my emergency contact. She would pick me up early and tuck me into my “sick bed” in the basement, letting me watch television and eat Entenmanns chocolate chip cookies to my heart’s content. Before going home, I would peruse her shelves of books, and choose some to borrow as if it were my own little library. Most kids didn’t really know about the Happy Hollisters or Ozma of Oz, but I joyfully read these stories over and over. It was a book lover’s dream come true.
Aunt Marie loved to shop in Macy’s and I can’t walk into that store without thinking of her. She would take me on a spree or bring me gifts, which was a score, as she was a style maven. Years later, she did the same for my children. Every time someone complimented my kids on their clothes I would say, “Yep, that’s an Aunt Marie outfit!” And hand-me-downs from Aunt Marie could not be beaten. Yes, even in her 80’s her style was spot on. Many people would be embarrassed to say that their favorite bathing suit was a hand-me-down from their 80-year old-aunt, but I must confess, that cute little blue Calvin Klein I have was a cast-off of hers.
Hands down, Aunt Marie was an amazing caretaker. Years ago, when I came home from a hospital stay and had a two-year-old to take care of, without hesitating, Aunt Marie came and stayed overnight to help me out, immediately offering to ease my troubles. And trust me, she did.
Palm Sunday dinner was one of the more obscure holidays we celebrated with Aunt Marie and it was always a hoot. One year, the kids were downstairs playing and we heard a tremendous crash. Running down as fast as we could, we discovered the glass on the door to the backyard had been shattered, due to an errant ball in a game of wall ball. With tremendous patience, Aunt Marie barely batted an eye, took control of the situation, and never once yelled at my kids. Not even when we found out it was actually my 30-year-old cousin who broke it, cough, cough, Nick.
It should also be noted that much of my clutter-free tendencies come from her. She could throw away crap like a champ, and I’m proud to say that I come in at a close second. We yapped often about how we would get rid of the old to bring in the new. How else would she be able to justify her Macy’s jaunts, she would jest.
Though I am deeply saddened by her loss, it is obvious how much love, patience, support, and style she brought to our family, and a quote from Mother Theresa comes to mind. “If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.”
Clearly, the love Aunt Marie gave to all of us will ripple out into the world, as my family embraces these qualities she demonstrated and instilled. And as we approach the time of year when we set goals, make resolutions, and aspire to be better versions of ourselves, this one little adage will for sure, be one of my guides. The love, patience, and support we give to those around us do more to influence the world than we could possibly know.
Thank you, Aunt Marie. You for sure made my world, and thus, this world, a better place.