Mid-January, we received the sad news that my aunt had passed away unexpectedly during the night. Her death has left a big hole in our small family. I didn't see her often, as she lived on Vancouver Island, but we did check up on one another over the phone. She was a good family historian, offering insights and filling in blanks about the early years, much of which I didn't know or had forgotten. When you grow up in an alcoholic home, you often view that part of your life through wounded eyes. Perspective can be somewhat skewed.
The Kindness of Kaye
At her Celebration of Life which her granddaughters had thoughtfully put together, the resounding theme was that Kaye exuded kindness. She'd had more than her fair share of disappointments and struggles, yet her kindness rose to the top like bubbles in a glass of champagne.
Kindness is often underrated and it shouldn't be. During the service we heard anecdotes, some of them amusing, most of them touching, about Kaye's place in our world. The slide show presented Kaye's path from past to present, depicting her love of family, pets, shared meals, nature and bling - yes, she did love her jewelry, and I think she passed that love on to her granddaughters, too!
Mortality and a Flare
As often happens, when someone dies, you begin to think about your own mortality. I was no different. Boy, did I begin to think. I thought myself into a right state. It began with my age - I feel much younger than my actual numerical age, but I decided to mess with that for some silly reason, which later became known. Oh gee, I'm not that young, anymore. I haven't done all I wanted to do. Will my passing make a difference? On and on it went.
Writing, which I love to do, became difficult. As did so many other things that I do on a regular basis, like dog walking, swimming and improvisation. Nor did I have much energy for socializing. I was, however, continuing to do my stress techniques; I'm sure that prevented me from sinking even deeper into the pit of despair.
Some physical symptoms cropped up - I developed a mini flare-up. My knees were stiff and two fingers, one on each hand, refused to bend.
Call it Grief
Near the end of February, I realized that what I was experiencing was grief. As soon as I put a name on it, it seemed that I could begin to heal. It was almost as if my feelings of grief had feelings - it needed to be acknowledged so that I could move through it.
When I put the pieces together, I was reminded, once again, about the powerful connection between heartmindbody. Once again, I am so thankful that I have tools and techniques to help me learn, change and grow.
Today, I erased her contact details from my phones because every now and then, I still wanted to call Auntie Kaye. She occupies real estate on the hearts of those who knew her - I hope that she knows that she is loved and missed.
That mini-flare? Thanks for asking. Shortly thereafter, I'm happy to report that things settled down.