“I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge — myth is more potent than history — dreams are more powerful than facts — hope always triumphs over experience — laughter is the cure for grief — love is stronger than death.” -Robert Fulghum
I remember clearly, one of my most favourite childhood memories. I was living in Ontario and was in my room playing. My Mom yelled up the stairs, “You might want to come downstairs, someone is here to see you!” & it was Aunt Ellen! Seventeen hours with two kids in the car just to come visit my family. It’s always been like that with Aunt Ellen – we were never too far away. There was never anything that would stop her from visiting – in Ontario, then New Brunswick, from a tumor and brain surgery, to cancer and pain. Nothing would stop her. She visited my parents house 21 times in less than 8 years. Twenty-one times.
Sometimes I catch myself thinking I’d like to see her again. I feel selfish because I think about the things that we won’t do together. I wish she would visit again, or answer the phone when I forget how to make her recipes just right. I want her to be at my graduation like she promised, and at my wedding – front pew with my Mom and some tissues. When I stop being so selfish, I think about her two granddaughters, and any more that might come along. She won’t be around to watch them grow and change or to give advice to her daughter and daughter-in-law about raising them. I think about my Mom and how she found such love, caring, and acceptance in her only sister. I think about Aunt Ellen and know she wouldn’t have wanted to leave so soon.
I know that she’s in Heaven now. I know she isn’t in pain or suffering anymore. I know that she is watching over everyone and is the most beautiful angel. I know it but it doesn’t make the pain in my heart go away. Every time I see her picture, I smile and then my heart sinks. When someone says I look just like her or walk just like her, I get a ringing in my ears. When I think about my cousin who just lost her mother and best friend, I want to have her back here forever. But most of all, when I think about Aunt Ellen, all I can think is that I’ll never see her again. I can’t reach her anymore. I know she’s here, though:
Madyson said Bev;
funeral procession stopped beside a cement truck that had “IWK” written across the sides;
& they had one little container by itself at the Masstown Market, label read “Goulash”.
Watching on a cold and windy day with all of our family gathered in the cemetery, as they gently placed my Aunt Ellen in her final resting spot, I looked around and saw a crowd of cold people and sad faces. As we prayed for her and said our goodbyes, I felt my feet and hands go numb, and then a cold chill settle in. I felt like I was literally freezing. Then I took Taylor’s hand and we went up to the front. We each took turns and kissed our hands, and then touched Aunt Ellen’s urn. And I didn’t feel cold. I understood that a few seconds of suffering was nothing compared to what Aunt Ellen went through and I knew she was finally okay.
So Aunt Ellen, I don’t know if you have internet up there in Heaven, but I know you can read my heart anyway. I just want to thank you, for a whole lifetime of love that you gave away so freely. I want to ask you to forgive my selfish thoughts and look past my tears. I know you’ll be here with me everyday,
even if I can’t reach you anymore.