I meant to write

When I was a little girl, my Aunt Ethel was one of my most favorite people in the world.  Even though we lived on opposite sides of the county, I knew that she really cared about me. She was always interested in me and my thoughts.  She asked all sorts of questions about school and my friends, and then she really listened to what I had to say. Together we would giggle with on the phone, we would write letters back and forth, each of us writing one page longer than the next.  She related to me at my level.  She was completely unlike any other adult that I knew.  I adored her.

As I grew into my teen years, I came to regard that doting affection more like a cloying nuisance.  I realized that I no longer had the time or the inclination to write a twenty six page letter. And I certainly didn’t want to discuss my school life nor my friends with her.  The interest she had always shown in me somehow seemed to become more like snooping. I always meant to send her a quick note, but there were too many more important things for me to do then to write to a fussy aunt.

I grew up even more and remembered Aunt Ethel and my childlike fondness of her.  She was still at the level I was at so many years ago.  This was blamed on the fact that she had fallen out of a second story window when she was a baby.  Even knowing this, her simple, over-caring ways were just a little too much to take.  No matter how much attention you gave her, she always wanted more.  Still, I always meant to write to her more often.

As I married and started a family of my own, Aunt Ethel was moved into an assisted living home. She was having some severe health problems and needed more help than any of her siblings could give her.  She was still a fairly young woman but living with a community of senior citizens.  I knew that she was lonely…desperately lonely.  I meant to write her a long chatty letter. But life got in the way. There were always clothes to wash, homework to get done, carpools to drive, dinners to make, volunteer projects…all sorts of little things that needed to be done. 

Yesterday my dad called to tell me that Aunt Ethel had died.  I was in shock.  She was only in her fifties, how could she be dead?  All I could think of was that I meant to write…

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7 Responses to I meant to write

  1. Kell says:

    I’m so sorry about your aunt. You can still write to her; it might be good closure for you.

    Every one needs an Aunt Ethel in their lives.

  2. Nicole says:

    I am so sorry to hear about your aunt. She sounded like a wonderful person. May she rest in peace.

  3. Jay says:

    I’m sorry for your loss too. Kell is right. You can still write her, it’s very theraputic. I think I’ll go send my Grandmother an email.

  4. ashley says:

    🙁 Sorry for you loss.

  5. Lisa says:

    Thank you for sharing such a powerful and moving story. I am so sorry to hear about your loss of such a special person.

  6. Susan says:

    Thank you.

    Jay…I hope you do/did contact your grandmother. I think maybe that was why I posted this. Just to remind us all that tomorrow doesn’t always come.

  7. SAZ aka Susan says:

    Hi Susan – Just found your blog thru your comments on Kell’s blog. This is such a touching story and a good lesson for all of us. I’ve done this too often in my life and need this reminder not to put off phone calls and letters and care to people I care about. Thankyou for this lovely post and I know your aunt continues to watch over you….