About 20 years ago we got our relatives together for my parents’ anniversary. Towards the end of the evening, I recall walking outside to get some air. My aunt Mary and her husband had just left and were half way to their car. Now even as a young child she was always good to me. I remember her chasing me around just to kiss me and love me up. But she was a damaged soul, abused, at times severely by her husbands. Most of her family relations were strained at best and she was shunned by her own brothers and sisters.
I am NOT clear why, but something directed me to call her name. She turned toward me and I said to her, “I love you Mary.” She replied, “You always did.” I never saw her again. About five years later, I had heard through the family grapevine that she was dying of cancer. I asked if I could see her, but I was told that she was too far gone and only her younger sister was with her during her last days. So, I sat down and wrote to her what she meant to me. I sent the letter. She was gone a month later.
At her funeral, my aunt Fran, the woman who cared for Mary, pulled me off to the side and asked me if the letter she read to her was meant to be sarcastic. I was dumbfounded I actually said, “Are you kidding?” But, I controlled myself and just replied, “I meant every word.” My aunt said, “I knew it.” I suppose that up until that point I had never realized just how much she had alienated herself from the rest of the family. Years later, I discussed this incident with my mother. I told her that no matter how Mary interacted with the rest of the family, she was ALWAYS good to me.
The real point is that I am grateful that I had the opportunity to tell her how I felt. She knew before she died that she meant something to somebody. She deserved to be loved, just like us all, despite whatever
stressful karma she lived through during her life. Two quotes come to mind: “It’s the fool who plays it cool” and “All that is not given is lost,”- Hasan Pal.