Saying Goodbye

Today we say goodbye to my aunt. Although she still lived in her own home, I had been taking care of her for the past few years.  It was the house she and my uncle built with their own two hands.  She even showed me a picture when they had cardboard walls because they did not have enough money to separate the rooms with real walls.  They purchased the land for $50.00 and built the home they would share through many joys and heartaches, laughter and tears.

I never had the chance to really know her.  Our family had what  my mother called “itchy feet”.  My family could never stay in one place for long.  We all thought somewhere in our genetic pool we had gypsy blood in our souls.  So my family was made up of Soldiers and wanderers, dreamers and curious seekers of what is around the next bend.  Except my aunt.  She married and stayed in the same area for over 60 yrs.  She did not inherit “itchy feet”.

When dad retired from the army and we eventually moved to Pennsylvania I was already 14 and more interested in boys, music and having fun than to get to know my aunt and grandmother.  Relatives came and went, I grew up and married, then my husband re-enlisted in the Army and off we went.  As we settled back in Pennsylvania, responsibilities of raising our children, work, caring for my mother in law and my own illnesses never brought the time I needed to know my aunt.

About 5 years ago I started to help her out as her health started on a decline.  She was unable to drive or do errands so I was able to spend more time with her as I took her to appointments and did her shopping.  She would tell me stories of dad and the family I never knew along with her growing up years.  Most of my father’s family were mountain people, but my aunt along with my grandmother loved the beach.  I found out that she had a love of dolphins and had quite the collection.  The appreciation of the beach and dolphins live on through my daughter and sister.

She is the last of her generation in my family.  She survived the depression as a young girl, moving from place to place because her mother, raising her children alone was unable find work, she worked in a defense plant in Baltimore, MD during WWII, she worked outside the home before it became the norm and raised a family. She was not perfect, made mistakes and lived her life on her terms.  She could be stubborn most times, set in her ways and obstinate. (those that know me, may say the apple don’t fall far from the tree!!) She was also a woman of faith who knew and loved Jesus as her Savior.

I did not know that much about her, but I did get a glimpse into the person she was.  So I am thankful for the past few years. I was able to know my aunt a little bit better, to know a part of my father I never knew and saw the past through her eyes.

Although I only knew her for a short time, those that knew her best will keep her in their hearts and remember her with a smile and a tear as they remember the person she was.

“As long as we remember those we love they will never truly die but live forever in our hearts” ~ memories are our greatest treasures.  ♥


13 thoughts on “Saying Goodbye

  1. Hi, Patty, I like your expression “itchy feet”… I think it has influenced much of American life in the past. I know my Dad came down from Maine and made his life in New York… yet our history was always in New England so I’ve always felt a bit out of place. I must say, growing up in NY gave me a wider perspective on life than if I’d have been brought up in Maine, but still there’s something about roots. I can imagine your life has given you many gifts of perspective too. I find your thoughts here about your Aunt to be filled with an emotional maturity that comes with experiencing a great deal of life. These experiences give a great deal of depth to us as a gift. I enjoy your posts a great deal.


  2. Thank you for compliment – if it were not for “itchy feet” the explorers would have never left England for the new world. Our life experiences are indeed a gift and I thank you for sharing your gift through your drawings. ~Patty


  3. Thanks for these thoughts. It was a bit the same with my mother. We were a family of four very matter-of-fact boys and I always liked and cared for my mum but rarely felt really close to her until after dad died and I was the only family member in town to care for her. As she got older I used to take her shopping and to the doctor, and eventually found a nursing home for her after she had a stroke. In the 18 months she was there we became much closer, and shared many tender moments, right up until we prayed together when, at 92, we knew she only had a few days left (it turned out to be less than one). I treasure those times.


  4. What a beautiful tribute to your aunt! My sentiments are very similar to those of Snowbirdpress above. You’ve wonderfully conveyed the experiences and pulled me into the story of your aunt.


  5. Patty, this is a lovely tribute. The picture of the dolphins leaping freely is so touching when you read the entire post and understand what they meant to your aunt. As I’ve been writing my own blog I’ve been learning how the stories we write will help to preserve the memories of our loved ones. Bless you.


    1. Thank you, I was looking for a dolphin picture for my aunt and found this one that just seemed so perfect – it is a sunrise – for her new life with Christ and two dolphins signifies her and my uncle -together again. I have been touched by yours and so many other blogs, they have brought joy, laughter, strength, encouragement, and hope through writings, poems, family stories, life experiences, and photos (to name a few).


  6. A lovely tribute to your dear aunt. And great to know your dad was in the Army. I too had a wonderful and fulfilling service with the Indian Army 🙂
    Thanks for this nice post.


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