I have a bottle of perfume on my dresser. The bottle is in the shape of a swan. To my recollection I have never even smelled it. I know I have never worn it. When my Aunt Joan gave it to me my mother told me it was a collector’s item. It became sacred at that moment. According to my Internet information I must have been about 12.
I have a bride doll I named Teresa. She is not in near as good of shape as that bottle of perfume. She has been stuffed in my closet for more than 25 years waiting on me to spend the money and find the doll doctor to bring her back to her glory days. These are just two of the tangible treasures I have from my Aunt Joan. The others, the intangible items, they are so sacred, so diverse, so ingrained on my heart that the swan is only a metaphor for their existence.
It’s hard for me to relate the importance of the relationship I had with my Aunt Joan. Few people are still alive that could possibly understand it. You had to have been there. Perhaps one day I will tell the story but I fear too many people would be hurt by my truths. My mother and my Aunt Joan always told me one day I should write a book, tell the story. “Call it fiction” they said, no one will believe it is true. Perhaps one day I will but not today.
Today I will mourn the passing of the woman, who besides my own mother, was probably the most influential role model of my young life. I strive to emulate her as an aunt to my own nieces but I feel I have failed.
I find it quite ironic that my mother’s youngest sister died a year and a day after my father. We were in standby mode all day on Sunday and I couldn’t help but think of the irony that it would cause if she had passed then. But this seems more fitting, more like her. I can almost hear her saying “I am not going to die on the anniversary of that SOB! I will have my own day. I will go tomorrow, and so on Monday; she did.
Of course according to my sister all is well now that they are “home” together. My mother absolved my father for his in-discrepancies just a few months before she passed and now years later he can receive absolution from her youngest sister.
I think we may have peace at last.