Being with the Living.
Last night my aunt died. She was nearly 80 and a few days ago she fell and broke her hip for the umpteenth time. Auntie Val was intellectually disabled and hers hadn’t been the easiest life. A couple of days ago, after successful surgery, things started to go a bit pear-shaped and my dad rang to say it looked as though Auntie Val wouldn’t be with us long.
My spiritual view is that this meant she was going home, that she would be free of pain, and that she would be happy. Her own mother died when she was young, as did my mother, and I knew that both of them would be there waiting for Val to help her make this journey.
I made a difficult choice not to travel to be with my aunt at this time, as I’m in the midst of leaving the country and still packing and sorting and for the most part she has been unconscious. I began to meditate, and since my dad called two days ago I have constantly “talked” with Val, told her not to be afraid, to go towards the Light and the Love, that Jill and Dorothy were there to help her, to listen for them and to go with them. I knew they were with her, and they are with her now, loving her, welcoming her to the Light that she’s not known in her physical life.
As a child and a young woman and even as a mature woman, Auntie Val was always “my funny aunt”, the one that was “a bit backwards” as we used to say. No one uses that terminology now but that’s what it was when I was little. She was my only aunt – my father’s only sister (and my mother was an only child). It was very important to Val to be an aunt, a status of sorts. She even married briefly too, so to be “Aunt” and “Mrs” was a big deal. She grew up and almost died in the same house. She used to play bowls – not tenpin, not lawn bowls, some other kind of bowls – and she won trophies even. She adored the Royal Family and had a bazillion books about them all. She loved rugby and cricket and knew all the players and what was going on, where and against what teams.
Every Christmas, for some strange reason, her presents to my brother and I would always turn up several days after Christmas. Always. I never figured out why that was.
We didn’t visit much when I was young. My grandad was very working class – he’d worked on the railways – and I’ve always thought my dad was a wee bit embarrassed, at least back then anyway, not now. My mother’s parents were a little on the snobby side, to be fair, although I remember once my generally rough-as-guts Grandad sitting having a beer with my cravated Grandpa and they got on like a house on fire. Auntie Val spent most of her adult life living with that rough-as-guts and grumpy grandad, although his heart was as soft as butter on a balmy day, not that you’d know. He usually had a roll-yer-own hanging out the corner of his mouth. (Grandpa, on the other hand, had a pipe.)
I’ve not gone to see Auntie Val as much as I should have. She would have liked to see me more, I know. When you’re a single career parent your brain is full of other things, something my dad always understood, bless him. And now these last couple of days I made a decision to be with the living who I also won’t see for a long time as I leave for the other side of the world in a few days time.
When I get to heaven one day, Auntie Val will no doubt say what she’s always said when she sees me: “Long time, no see!” Possibly she’ll even still say: “oh my gosh, you’ve grown!”
Auntie Val is in my heart now in a way she’s never been, and just as with the living that I’ll be leaving behind in a few days, I will carry her in my heart wherever I go. Auntie Val’s “true Self” is no longer someone’s funny old, slightly backwards, aunt; she’s become the beautiful Soul she always was, flying to the Light. Bless.