My aunts one year anniversary of her passing was this past Monday. I thought about it for weeks leading up to it. I cried, smiled, and remembered her and our times together. When Monday came, I was in a pretty good place. No tears or sadness. Just remembrance.
I didn't talk to anyone about it. I didn't call anyone. Not even my uncle. I know that sounds so terrible. What would I say? "How are you feeling about the death of your wife?" I couldn't do it. He gets so choked up any time I visit and her name comes up. As much as I hate to admit it, I don't really like going over to the house. I keep expecting her to come down the stairs and sit in her seat and chat me up like old times. Instead, I head downstairs to sit on the floor next to my uncle as he watches t.v. and I try to chat him up. I think Zach is much better at it than I am. He seems to break down the wall he sometimes has up and gets a response from him. He's never been a man of many words. He always left that up to her. I just wish there was something I could say to take away his heartache.
I feel guilty for missing her so much sometimes. She wasn't my biological mother, but she was so close. I feel like by me missing her as much as I do, I'm taking something away from her real children. I don't think they know how much she impacted my life and how grateful I am that they shared her with me.
I think watching her die right before my eyes is what makes it so much harder. It's just like when I lost my mom. I watched that horrid, wretched cancer take both of them away. I watched as it caused them pain, made them cry, took their life. Two women who were equally strong, strikingly beautiful, and loved and cared for others with such passion. Death is always sad, but I think it is so much more painful when the ones you love have to suffer. I never thought that after watching my own mother suffer for 14 months and then die that I would have to do it with the woman who so unselfishly took me in and raised me. I feel like I have been cheated in the mother department. I had my mom for 14 almost 15 years and then my aunt who cared for me like I was her own, I only had her for 12 years (technically 26 years, but I lived with her for 12).
She made me feel like I belonged somewhere. That somewhere was with her. I always felt safe and a part of something when I was with her. With her gone, I feel so alone at times. Like I have to fend for myself.
It's been a year of "wait until I tell her...", "I wonder if she would like...", "I need to call...", "wait until she sees that Zach can..." "I should have called more." "I should have gone over more." "Why did I let my life get in the way of spending time with her?" "Did I tell her I loved her enough?"
I know she is with us all of the time from the dream I had about her over the holidays. Even though she didn't speak to me in the dream, I could tell by her smiles, hand gestures and the way she shoveled the food in her mouth (weird, right?!) that she was ok and that made me feel comforted in a way.
I will always love her and miss her, but I'm pretty sure somehow, somewhere, that she is aware of that and she possibly feels the same way.