My great-aunt, wife of my grandmother's younger brother (my great-uncle, obviously), passed away yesterday. It was a little unexpected but I heard she hadn't been doing too well the past couple of days. She was 86 but had had Alzheimer's for several years. She still lived at home with my great-uncle and my cousin, their daughter (other children often came to help as well). My mom occasionally would go sit with her if my cousin had to take my great-uncle somewhere, and when I still lived near them I would take my uncle to the polling place for elections.
She'd had the mind of a mischievous, speechless child, but she also had been energetic and strong. Just a few weeks ago, our cousins were telling us that when they installed the stairlift (she'd started having trouble climbing stairs), she would ride it with her legs hanging over the back! We had a laugh imagining she was waiting for the ferris wheel to arrive, too.
My heart breaks for my great-uncle--they were an inseparable couple, which I think is part of the reason she never had been placed in a home in spite of some safety concerns (which thankfully were managed well). I remember before she got sick how she used to tease my dad at family get-togethers, maybe jibing him because she's all Irish and he's well, not.
We're gonna miss her. We're saying our goodbyes on Saturday. It sucks anyway, but it extra sucks because I am scheduled to be at the library all afternoon, and some teens from the "teen board" are supposed to come in to meet me, so I'll be running.
We spend so much time running. (Makes me think of Emily Dickinson.) In a way, funerals--losses--make us pause for a moment. We hope our deceased loved ones are at peace, and we hope for some peace ourselves, in our daily lives. It's the best we can do at these times.