Sunday, My wife, the kids and I went to the 80th birthday celebration of my father's eldest sister. One of her granddaughters put together a slideshow of photos and videos of events and relatives. It was quite interesting but I had a teary eyes through the whole thing, as I grew up with a lot of the people shown and so many of them have passed on.
This morning my youngest aunt died just a month and a handful of days past her 49th birthday. She fought the good fight against metastatic breast cancer for the last two and a half years. While we may not have been all that close as adults when we were kids she was more like a cousin than an aunt. (For the record I have cousins that are nearly as old as my parents). My father made the observation that he'd never seen anyone show such grace and good outlook as my aunt in her final years.
Despite the disparity in my two aunts ages I can make the observation that everyone's life is the same length, one lifetime. It's up to each of us to fill that time as best we can and to ensure that our lifetime is joy for others. I'll remember three things about my aunt Paula, she almost always had a big smile on her face, good or bad you knew were you stood with her, and being put in a headlock for splashing her at a lake where my parents rented a cottage. I did mention the knowing where you stood part.
I went to visit her a week ago and frankly she was just barely there mentally, the painkillers take an awful toll on mental acuity, but she still smiled her great big smile and finished the visit with her signature line, "See ya in the funnies!" I still have no idea what it means but see ya in the funnies Paula!