“To live In lives we leave behind, is not to die”
Judith Baxter, Blogger, Sister, Aunt and friend
Now in 2022 I can look back on 2021 and say Goodbye. It was not a good year for our family. During the year, we lost two of our members.
Early in the year my niece succumbed to some underlying health problems complicated by Covid. She wasn’t particularly old or young, the ages we were informed were most at risk. In fact, she would have been 60 later that year. She was a special niece to me. We referred to each other as FN and FA – favourite niece and favourite aunt.
We hadn’t lived in the same country since she was a very young child, but we had this special relationship that was always there and always obvious. Earlier we connected by post or phone and then heavens above, we got the internet. We met only on my infrequent visits to London.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t be there for her wedding, but I celebrated the day with her from far away. And then one day I heard she was ill, then she was in hospital, and then, she was dead.
At the time her mother was suffering from Covid and so her brother and sister kept the details of the illness as it progressed, from my sister.
Of course, because of the deadly Covid, I couldn’t travel to be with my sister at this dreadful time and had to comfort myself with a video of the funeral ceremony.
If you have known me through my blogs, you will know that I post often about my sisters; one in London and one in Los Angeles. Well, later in the year my elder sister, the one in Los Angeles, had a stroke nd died. She never recovered consciousness. My sister and her daughter had no relations in America and her daughter was left alone to make the decision to turn off life support. Again, I wasn’t able to be with her and all the support I could offer was over the phone. We talked, we cried, we laughed together, and eventually said goodbye to my big sister.
I was very close to this sister being that there was only 14 months between us. In fact, we had that special relationship shared by twins and remarked upon by our family doctor who thought it very strange She it was who had swollen legs during my first pregnancy. A few years later I was woken in the night with awful pains. I advised my DYS (Dashing Young Scotsman) that I felt as if I had just given birth. The following day I had a call from Mother to tell me that my sister had given birth to a daughter.
There were other such occasions, some too personal to share and others too silly. We could finish each other’s sentences; we knew what one of us was going to say even if the question started “Do you remember..”
And today I was thinking of a special time we had together several years ago (could it really be ten years?). We spent five weeks driving around California. She had always taken us to places that tourists , don’t see,and on this trip I saw out of the way missions, small villages,the Danish city of Salvang, and on one outstanding day – The Big Yellow House in Summerland. Today, I found the blogpost I wrote way back in 2012 on that visit.
The last time all three sisters were together was following Mother’s death. We had both gone ‘home’ for the funeral. A sad time but in some ways a happy time. Father could have his three girls together just once more, and we could laugh and exchange our memories of growing up in a home full of love and laughter and enjoy ourselves as we had when young.
Do not stand at my grave and weep, I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow, I am the diamond gains on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain, I am th gentle autumn rain….
Do not stand at my grave and cry, I am not there, I did not die.
Mary Elizabeth Frye, American housewife and florist
1905 – 2004