I lost my favorite aunt last week to pancreatic cancer. I think about her a lot, but I feel ok today, mostly because I talked to her just 2 days before she died. And I made her laugh! My Aunt Linda was a very strong, caring, loving, generous person. When I was a kid, she was the glue of our big family. She watched me and my brother every day until I was 6, since my mom had to work.
This last October, I took a week off work and drove to Pittsburgh to see her and spend time with her. I drove her to the hospital and sat with her as she got her chemo treatment. Then we went to Red Lobster and had those awesome cheese biscuits and clam chowder. We left, and she took my arm and I walked her to the car. It was then I realized my own mortality, our lives like drops of water on the beach that get brought back into the ocean by the next wave. I'll miss her dearly.
PS - if you want to be the greatest uncle or aunt ever, take a lesson from Aunt Linda. The first week of December, send your nephew or niece a box with 12 presents, marked to be opened from December 13-24. Two weeks before Christmas, they're opening little presents every day, while everyody else has to wait for Christmas Eve or Day. Trust me, it works.