The New Year was but one hour old when my Aunt A. passed away. On New Year's Eve day, I received a message that Aunt A. had suffered a massive stroke and was in hospital. We all prayed, and then she was gone.
I sit working off and on at the computer, waiting for details of her passing and news of the services that will mark our loss in time's ledger. Grief snatches at me small desperate lunges.
Time is set aside during the day to sit by the front window and glory at the sky, occassionally to read. I wonder about serendipity, as the book The Uncharted Heart places its protagonists in "New Ontario", the area where my Aunt A. taught, married, lived, and died.
Today's photo is scanned from a note I recieved from Aunt A. December last. [The card containing the note was designed for use by supporters of the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.] In it she talks of the north and the people I remember from childhood. Her stories enriched my understanding of myself and where I came from.
This is the second New Year that has brought with it the death of a beloved Aunt. We were stunned early in January 2000 by the sudden loss of my Aunt M., the baby of the family. Now the eldest, Aunt A., has passed away suddenly.
As I revisit my January 5, 2000 journal entry, the photos remind me of the depth of my loss. The briefness of our time here is impressed upon me once more. Those precious souls we love will not forever write, or call, or simply exist comfortably out of our sight but within our reach. A woman of mature years myself, I wonder that the smiling child in the photo is so bright within me still. From her flows the shock and disbelief at the passage of time and the nature of loss.
The landscape is postcard perfect today. Every window I peer from yields blue sky, led down to pristine white by dark and waving branches and trunks. The older I become, the more vulnerable I am to the joy of light.
I have been puttering about in the kitchen most of the day. Our current supply of baking apples is now exhausted, peeled and chopped and baked into the bottom of a cake. The aroma of cinnamon and apple fill the house.
The last of the turkey bubbles in the soup pot. We usually let it simmer for several days before removing the meat, straining the broth, and adding herbs and vegetables. The longer it takes, the better it tastes when all is said and done.
We have eaten all the pies, the chocolates, and the ice cream. We have enjoyed every bite and nibble of these rich foods and now it is time to return to saner habits of eating. The dietary transformation begins with the consumption of a very large orange, sent to us as a gift from Florida. Although this represents healthier eating, the fact is well disguised by the taste and texture of juicy, sweet fruit.
Slowly, I have been moving the gifts from underneath the tree to their new and rightful homes. This week we will take down the Christmas decorations and cart the tree outdoors to await proper disposal. Needles will be showered from the family room to the door and beyond. Pine needles are easy enough to sweep up, but they cling stubbornly to carpets; from whence they will lodge painfully in an unsuspecting foot. I never manage to find them all.
So, here it is, the second day in the year 2002. The new year will unfold as it will, a mystery more compelling than the best of stories, and an opportunity that will come only once in a lifetime.
|RECIPES :: Cast
A note from Aunt A.
By the Easy Chair
The Uncharted Heart
by Melissa Hardy
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Sunrise 7:56 AM EST
Sunset 5:01 PM EST
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