Tribute to the Last Aunt

The Last Aunt Leaves the Theater

Chair Clipart by Karen Arnold
Chair Clipart by Karen Arnold | Source

With the passing of every aunt, there appears another empty seat in our theater.

From our performance stage, we scan the audience for a look of approval (or rebuke), for a thumbs up (or down) from someone we know who is genuinely interested in us and our routine.

When we see the empty chair where an aunt used to be, we recall that she is absent and we quickly shift our gaze in the direction of another chair occupied by another aunt. We seem to expect that one will always be there.

Then the last aunt leaves (like mine did recently), and we can only look toward the memories of love and support.


Fashionable Back in the Day

Photo by Sineenard Sripotongnak
Photo by Sineenard Sripotongnak | Source

Flashback

My first memory of my aunt was the knowledge that she was “away,” (Caribbean reference for a foreign land). Our distant connection was evidenced by the fact that I received dresses, shoes, purses and other items occasionally.

The memory of our first meeting is not as vivid as the memory of our first parting. I was seven or eight years old. My mother dressed me in a yellow taffeta dress to accompany her to the airport on her return to the foreign land, and I carried a bouquet of locally made artificial flowers to present to her. My aunt made me feel that no one ever did anything better.

She continued to send gifts, and one which was quite meaningful was the one she sent for my first day at work. What a boost it was to my youthful sense of significance, to have a long-strap shoulder bag like all the other young female teachers had. My aunt had made an outstanding contribution to my career debut.

For my first vacation, I went "away" to the Virgin Islands to spend a few weeks of the summer break with my beloved aunt and her children. Then and there, I discovered what she was really like—hard working, humorous, unselfish, generous and godly.

A woman is like a tea bag; you never know how strong it is until it's in hot water.

— Eleanor Roosevelt

She introduced me to the Eleanor Roosevelt quote comparing a woman and a tea bag. It was her contribution to a newsletter I published for women; and in our later conversations I discovered how true that statement was in her life. She shared her stories about her personal struggles and setbacks. She credited her strength and her survival to her faith in God, and His favor in her life.


Friendship Legacy

Somewhere in my forties, our closeness erased the twenty-year age difference between my aunt and me. Our relationship seemed more like a friendship among peers. I still called her aunt and she still referred to me as her niece, but we talked like girlfriends about life past and present, about men and morals, about children and celebrations, about faith and the future. The older we grew, the better friends we became.

She survived her sister and three brothers, including my father. She also survived my two maternal aunts and two uncles. Now that she has passed on, certain concerns stare me in the face:

  • For me, there can never be another aunt, let alone an aunt who doubles as a friend.
  • No one else has firsthand information about my grandparents, uncles and aunts;
  • I am obligated to share what I know and what I heard to members of the next generation;
  • It is appropriate that I offer the same intimate support she offered me, to at least one younger female in the family.


On Her 75th Birthday Cruise

Passed on May 19, 2015 at age 85
Passed on May 19, 2015 at age 85 | Source

Family Cruise

For her 75th birthday my aunt wanted a family cruise. Quite a tall order, but her children helped make it possible, and thanks to them and to her, they took me with them and their children on an Eastern Caribbean cruise.

For an entire week we talked, laughed and ate together. It was my greatest experience of family. Those pictures are not with me presently, but it is most important now that I retrieve them.

We knew that our aunt was the eldest member of the family, but during a conversation on that trip we realized that yours truly was second runner-up on the list. With my aunt’s passing, I am now the second oldest among my father’s family members. My new position breeds serious thoughts about my family contribution and legacy. For hope and inspiration, I recall some memories of my late aunt.


In Honor of the Last Aunt

Which of the following do you think is a good way to show appreciation for the life of your late aunt?

See results without voting

Our Final Visit

In September 2013, I was privileged to spend a few days with my aunt. She convinced me that we had agreed upon my visit; but the truth is that of her own volition, she had programmed it in her mind. I felt obligated to honor her schedule, and it turned out to be our last visit.

She was suffering some of the physical and mental limitations which come with life after 80, but they did not prevent her from making me laugh and enjoying her company.

One day when I leaving to spend some time with a friend, she slapped some money into my palm, saying, “Take this with you, in case you get hungry.”

On my way out the door, she shouted, “Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.”

Those two statements aptly summarize her involvement in my life. She anticipated and provided for my needs whenever she thought it necessary, and she was never shy about her desire for me to walk in the straight and narrow path throughout my early as well as my later years.

I shall miss my friend, my mentor and my aunt.

Once every week, at the time when I would have called her, I intend to spend some time speaking with or praying for a younger member of my family, in respect and gratitude for the legacy of my last aunt.

May her soul rest in peace!


© 2015 Dora Isaac Weithers

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Comments 54 comments

Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 18 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

What a blessing this story was as I take a break from gardening. Of all "things" in this world nothing can compare to a loving relationship. I can feel that bond in reading this piece. And it is very heartening to see it alive and well even after a passing from this world. Thank you for sharing some of your love.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 18 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Eric, thanks for reading. Eventually, only love matters.


whonunuwho profile image

whonunuwho 18 months ago from United States

This was such a nice tribute to a wonderful lady. whonu


Romeos Quill profile image

Romeos Quill 18 months ago from Lincolnshire, England

A wonderful tribute to your aunty MsDora and thank you for including us by letting us read of your special memories.

R.Q.


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 18 months ago from southern USA

Thank you for sharing of a beautiful life. It is important to mentor to a young life, just as your lovely aunt did with you and your relationship grew into so much more. Life is beautiful when love is shared.

God bless you


word55 profile image

word55 18 months ago from Chicago

Hi Dora, I'm happy to know that you had such an overwhelming relationship with your aunt. I'm sure that your charisma had a lot to do with it. You probably drew her to want that type of relationship with you. You are special. I think I have the same kind of relationship with my step-nephew. You have all the tools to keep the legacy going to someone or others in your family that are deserving of your blessedness. Just keep on fascinating us with your gifted writing! God bless!


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 18 months ago from Shelton

a wonderful tribute special hub to a very important person in your life so your hub leads us to believe.. I envy the closeness and the warmth folks like you have while we live our lives so cold and busy that we cannot sit and reflect on what a love one really brings to the table of life.. bless you and your family :)


Lee Cloak 18 months ago

A really splendid tribute, a beautiful piece, for me aunts and uncles have been very special, very important, thanks for sharing, Lee


ChitrangadaSharan profile image

ChitrangadaSharan 18 months ago from New Delhi, India

What an amazing narration about the importance of having some elderly person in our lives!

I am sorry about your loss and I fully understand how you must be feeling.

Loving and affectionate relationships, which make you feel comfortable in good and adverse times is so very important. And who else but the elderly in our family or extended family can provide such selfless love and reassurances.

Such 'aunts' as you have mentioned, are God's blessing and the emptiness we feel after they are gone can never be filled.

Wonderful hub! Thank you!


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 18 months ago from Central Florida

Dora, you hold a very important position in your family. I love that you spend time with a younger family member on the days you would have called your aunt. You're handing down the legacy of your family to upcoming generations. That's a beautiful thing!


Jodah profile image

Jodah 18 months ago from Queensland Australia

This is a beautiful tribute to your aunt and friend Ms Dora. My last uncle passed away last year and I felt similar feelings to you. I remember him taking me aside at my wedding and placing an extra $50 in my hand saying "You are my favourite nephew, John, and I don't think own wedding present to you is good enough." I assured him that it was but he insisted. Just remember the influence your aunt had on your life and be the same for one of your nieces.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 18 months ago from Olympia, WA

I'm sorry for your loss, Dora. You have left a beautiful tribute and now it is time to pass the torch to someone new. Let the legacy of love continue.


samazi 18 months ago

A heartfelt tribute to a dear aunt.It's uplifting,thanks for sharing.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 18 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Thanks, Whonu. She was a wonderful lady and a wonderful aunt.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 18 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Romeos, I wondered if sharing it was the right thing to do. Thanks for the affirmation.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 18 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Thanks Faith, it is so easy to forget that someone dies, we are responsible to carry on. Your last sentence deserves to be quoted, and I intend to do that. Thanks!


MsDora profile image

MsDora 18 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Word, what can I say? Your comment is like a burst of sunshine. I appreciate your kind words.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 18 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Frank, as we experience family loss after loss, those who remain become more precious. None of my other aunts lived to be as old as this one, so she got the most of my maturity, and I of hers. I'm sure that accounts for much of the closeness we shared. Thanks for your kind words.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 18 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Lee, thanks for sharing my very special view of aunts and uncles. They have been a strong support in my life.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 18 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Chitrangada, your comment really touched me. Thanks for your understanding.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 18 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Shauna, thanks for your affirmation. I pray that I do a good job of it.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 18 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Jodah, so you know the good felling which come from the genuine care of an aunt or uncle! Thanks you for sharing, and your advise is also encouraging.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 18 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Thanks, Bill. It is all about love and I pray that I do my part very well.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 18 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Samazi, you encourage me. Thank you.


Carolyn M Fields profile image

Carolyn M Fields 18 months ago from the USA

I love your comment, "My aunt made me feel that no one ever did anything better."

I only had one "actual" Aunt, plus several other special ladies whom I called "Aunt" who were actually cousins, friends of the family, etc.

Cheers to these special ladies in our lives. They enrich us beyond measure.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 18 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Carolyn I cheer with you. These women certainly deserve our applause. Thanks for your comment.


annart profile image

annart 18 months ago from SW England

Such a wonderful tribute, Dora. It's lovely to have such a relationship with someone in your family, other than parents.

The part that struck me was your mentioning that she was the last one who had information about previous family members, the only one with the family history. I find that is the hardest thing when I think of my parents; there is no one else but my older sister now, who can tell me details about them and grandparents.

Well written and tender account of life with your Aunt. She sounds wise and wonderful. My condolences to you, Dora.

Ann


MsDora profile image

MsDora 18 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Thanks Ann. A new era begins when there is no one left with firsthand information. Thanks for your kind words to me, and your true words about her.


Thelma Alberts profile image

Thelma Alberts 18 months ago from Germany

What a wonderful tribute to your aunt! I´m so sorry for your lose, I know how hurtful it is to lose a loving friend and aunt. May she rest in peace. Take care.


manatita44 profile image

manatita44 18 months ago from london

Beautiful story, Dora.

I have said Publish a Tribute, which is what you did and it would seem that's what the majority voted for as well. The other thing is to Love, since it would appear that she was interested in you being a good person, then be the best that you can be.

Do you know that I have already written my aunt's Eulogy. She is still alive, bless her. Just 70 years young but she wanted me to write it some years ago and we did it together. My grandmother was quite significant in my life, but my aunt is in London and we are very close.

Thank you for a truly wonderful Hub on the bond of blood and friendship. In Love and Light.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 18 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Thanks, Thelma. I appreciate your kind sentiments.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 18 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Manatita, thanks for sharing about your closeness with your aunt. Hope you have many years together before you have to read the eulogy. I appreciate your kind thoughts.


James-wolve profile image

James-wolve 18 months ago from Morocco

Beautiful tribute, written from heart.Well done.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 18 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Thanks, James. I appreciate your feedback.


peachpurple profile image

peachpurple 18 months ago from Home Sweet Home

may your aunt rest in peace


denise.w.anderson profile image

denise.w.anderson 18 months ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

I would add "all of the above" to your poll! You have shared an amazing journey and relationship with a loved one of the like that I have not had in my own life. Since being married, I have lived away from my own family, and have not had these types of relationships available to me. I do believe, however, that the relatives I gained upon marriage have been great mentors to me. They are gradually leaving this world, one by one, and soon I will be where you are. It is a sobering reality!


MsDora profile image

MsDora 18 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Thanks, Peach. We're getting ready for the funeral tomorrow, God willing.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 18 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Denise, that's the reality when we get to a certain age: the people we know leave us one by one. That makes the relationships we still have real meaningful.


lyoness913 profile image

lyoness913 18 months ago from Overland Park, KS

What a lovely tribute. My deepest condolences to you and your family.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 18 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Thanks, Lyoness. The family gathering is almost completely dispersed after the funeral, and we're holding together in spirit.


pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 18 months ago from sunny Florida

Awww Ms. Dora....this made me shed tears as I read it. What a beautiful tribute and a lovely retelling of the love you two shared. It strikes a chord with me as I had Aunts that I adored and as each one left the planet, my heart ached. Thankfully I have so many wonderful memories from the days when they walked the planet.

Awesome hub

Voted up++++

Angels are once again on the way to you ps


MsDora profile image

MsDora 18 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Patricia, so happy for you that you experienced that supportive, comforting love from your aunts. We can live on the memories of those happier times. God bless you, too.


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 18 months ago from USA

This is such a sweet tribute to your dear aunt, and I know you will pass on her legacy of sharing. I have a special niece myself who is so similar to me in personality that I think she was intended for me as a second daughter but th stars got crosse somehow. Glad I have her.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 18 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Flourish, I rejoice with you for that relationship you have with your special niece. Cherish the time you spend together. Thanks for sharing.


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 18 months ago from Udorn City, Thailand

This is a beautiful tribute to your last aunt which I really enjoyed reading. One of my maternal aunts recently passed away, but I still have two maternal aunts living. One is in her late 80s and the other is 71. Voted up and sharing with HP followers and on Facebook.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 18 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Thanks, Paul. This was my last aunt, and that makes me think of other last people and things in my life. Enjoy yours while they last. Thanks for your comment.


lifegate profile image

lifegate 18 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

MsDora,

What a beautiful article with absolutely wonderful thoughts.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 18 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Thanks Bill. It's a blessing to have family that one can think and speak so well about. Best to you!


swilliams profile image

swilliams 18 months ago from Arizona

Wow what a unique topic Ms. Dora! Aunts are not often viewed in the spotlight. Great job tribute to Aunts! Voted up!


MsDora profile image

MsDora 18 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Emunah, I agree that aunts do not get the recognition they deserve; there are hardly any aunt quotes. Thanks for your observation and your kind thoughts.


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 17 months ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

Thanks for sharing the lovely moments of times shared with your aunt. Truly we miss such elders when they pass away.

I lived in a joint family right up to adolescence and I know how it feels to have a close relationship with one's elders who guide and shape a child's thinking in the right direction and help mould them into a better human being.

Lovely tribute.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 17 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Thanks for sharing, Rajan. I'm glad that you have similar sentiments. We are blessed to have such positive relationships affect us for life.


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 7 months ago from the short journey

Thank you for sharing about your relationship with your aunt in this tribute to her. It is a blessing to read about the friendship with her! What a wonderful way to spend the time you normally had with her each week. She would be so honored to know it, I'm sure.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 7 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Mary, thanks for your feedback. She was indeed very special, and almost one year after her passing, I can say I have gotten much closer to some of the younger cousins.

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