Sunday, July 10, 2011

These two ladies walking on the beach are two of my daddy's three sisters.  My brother and I ran into them one Saturday many years ago as he and I were walking on the pier.  We spotted them and stopped to talk.  I snapped this picture as they walked off toward their cottage.
The woman on the right is Aunt Iris.  She died in November 2009 at the age of 83.  She was, in my mind, a true southern lady.  She dressed well, spoke beautifully and had a passion for the beach.  I didn't know her very well although she occasionally would stop by the house and visit with my daddy.
Aunt Iris, daddy and Uncle J

The other is my Aunt Mary.  For many years her family called her Pee Wee because of her stature.  She is a tiny little dynamo with a bawdy sense of humour.   Her husband died of tuberculosis when she was pregnant with their third child.  She worked long hours and never dated.   When all of her children were on their own, she met a urologist who courted and married her.  She announced that she was no longer Pee Wee:  she was Mary.  Her new husband promised her she'd never have to work again.  They traveled regularly in their Winnebago and had the time of their lives.

In recent years, Aunt Mary developed ovarian cancer.  She lost her beautiful white hair and wears lovely hats that coordinate with her cane, which she uses because of the intense pain in her hip.  At 84, she still drives; a frightening thing to witness.  On Tuesday morning, July 5, she had gotten in her car to drive herself someplace, sending her 91 year old husband into the house out of the oppressive heat.  An hour later, he happened to look out the kitchen window and he spied her sitting in the car struggling to open the door.  No one is sure if she ever left the yard or not.  Her keys were in her lap; her things on the seat beside her.  She had suffered a massive stroke.

I talked with my Uncle J on the phone today to ask him how my aunt is doing.  His voice was thick with tears as he said: "She can't move her whole right side.  She can't speak and you know, Mary always has something she wants to say and it just hurts me to think she can't say what she wants to say.  I've been thinking about the ten of us and when Mary goes, I'll be all that's left.  Who will I call?  I always call Mary when I can't remember how a thing goes or who somebody is."

It feels like sorrow is just rolling over my daddy's family.  Then Aunt Mary's granddaughter, who was due in mid-August with her first child , Aunt Mary's first great-grandchild, had complications and was induced.  She gave birth last night to a tiny, but healthy, baby girl. 

Someone coming and someone going. 

Daddy's memorial