My Aunt Wanda....
My heart breaks for my Uncle Don who is one of the sweetest, kindest men I've ever met. My heart breaks for my cousins, who've now lost their mom. Then, there's my Mema, who has now outlived another child. She had seven daughters, and now has outlived 3 of them. And then, there are the 4 remaining sisters: my mom and her 3 sisters.
I don't know what it's like to have 6 sisters. But, I know what it's like to have 6 aunts! "The Aunts...." I've never seen a group of sisters so different, yet so the same, and so close. When things happen on that side of the family, they say that they "circle the wagons," and they do. When my mom got cancer, they came running. They set up shop at my mom's house, and they carried her through it. When I always thought it would be me, I was surprised by my own weakness and fear. My aunts were there. My mom tells the most endearing story about my Aunt Wanda washing mom's hair during Mom's chemo stuff....and her hair just kept falling out in clumps....and Wanda was the one to deal with it, and they just wept.... I can't retell the story the way my mom can, but I can imagine it, and just that makes me want to cry.
Nobody in my family would argue with this: of the girls (because that's what Mema calls them, "The Girls"), Aunt Wanda was "the nice one." Not to say that my mom and my other aunts aren't nice. They are! But Wanda....she truly was the nice one. The Saturday night of my recent baby shower, we were sitting at my mom's kitchen table, and she was telling us about the "ugliest" thing she'd done. I'm certainly not going to repeat it here because it's not my story to tell....and she'd be mortified! I can assure you though, you'd be shocked at how benign it was, and how very characteristic of human nature at times. It was something that she's carried for years, and thought it was so ugly, and it's just not anything that 99.9% of people would think twice about! That's how good my sweet Aunt Wanda was. She was just good through and through.
So yet again, my family is grieving. I have a large family, so statistically speaking, maybe we have a greater chance of tragedy striking....but sometimes it just feels like we barely resurface from one thing before another strikes. I worry sometimes that my mother feels like she's drowning.....literally drowning in sorrow, and when she tries to resurface and catch her breath, something pulls her back down.
So, many prayers for my family right now....