In the last month, I've been reminded again of the "Circle of Life" - "one comes in, another goes out." In my case, my wife and I became grandparents for the very first time, and we were both able to spend some time with our new granddaughter, even though she and her parents live halfway across the country. We certainly welcome this new stage in our lives.
The very day I returned home from my "get-acquainted" four-day weekend with our new granddaughter and other family, I received a phone call telling me that my "favorite aunt" had passed away in North Carolina.
I place "favorite aunt" in quotes because that was a long-running joke between us - She was my "favorite aunt," and I was her "favorite nephew." The truth be told, though- and no offense to my other aunts- Aunt Vi was, indeed, my favorite aunt, and always special to me.
I hadn't seen Vi in person for 15 years- again, that distance thing- but she and I talked on a fairly regular basis by phone. Vi was my mother's sister, and she just liked to check in with me on her sister's condition from time to time. Mom has been in the local nursing home for twelve years now with Alzheimer's, or some form of dementia, anyway- and Vi has been concerned - and frustrated- wishing she could do something for her sister, and yet not knowing if her sister even remembered her.
Vi had been in failing health herself for some time, so it was not a total surprise that she had left us, but, of course, that doesn't make it any easier. I will miss our phone conversations, because she has the same sense of humor as I (so now you know who to blame for that!). I still remember visiting her in North Carolina, back when I was a teenager, and she told me, in the midst of our conversation, "Dan, you're a mess."
I was, of course, deeply offended by this - until she explained to me that being a "mess" in "Southernese" meant that I was a riot, a stitch, a hoot. At least that's what she said..., Anyway, I bought it, so please don't tell me she just made that up.
Vi always asked about our kids and my wife by name, though I think she only met them in person two or three times and, as I stated before, it's been 15 years since the last meeting.
Vi never had any grandchldren, so one thing I'm thankful for is that I was able to tell her about the birth of our granddaughter, and e-mail her a photo of her, the first photo taken. Her daughter told me that she and Vi had looked at the picture together, and discussed it, admiring her beauty (of course). I'm glad she got to see the picture before she died, and you'd better believe that I will tell my granddaughter all about her Great Aunt Vi, and what a "mess" she was.