Goodbye 2021

Goodbye 2021

“To live In lives we leave behind, is not to die”
Judith Baxter, Blogger, Sister, Aunt and friend
1938 –

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.

Christine, the eldest on Mother’s right, Marianne, the baby on her lap and me on her left.

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

JB January 7, 2022

8 responses to “Goodbye 2021

  1. One of the great things about being a certain age is that we can not only draw on recent memories (last year, the year before), but we can travel back in time to decades and acores before. I just had a conversation with my 30-year-old son about the 70s and the 80s. He’s discovered our music and style of dress. He thinks it was all just fantastic. I try my beat to provide him with a well-measured presentation of those times, with a modicum of romanticizing.

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  2. I am so sorry to hear of the loss of a beloved niece and older sister. Terrible times when we can’t be with the ones we love. I lost my mom and couldn’t go back to say goodbye. Mom was 92 and had a wonderful, long life. I went back to see her every year but could not get back in 2020 due to COVID restrictions. Then in March 2021, she was gone. I will miss her forever but have wonderful memories. We also lost a much loved great aunt and uncle, both in their 90s but had been doing very well until COVID hit.

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    • Thanks Darlene. I wondered about your mother and how she was doing. I remember the posts you put up about her. And yes it is made particularly difficult when we can’t get to say goodbye, or to support the other members of the family who are grieving. Covid has affected so many people all around the world.

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  3. I am sorry you lost your special niece suddenly, and she so young, as well as your entwined sister. What blows! My heart aches for you.

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