I guess it's time to deal with it ...

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Several times today I have been reminded through social media that today would have been my aunt Kathy's birthday. She passed away, just a week before Mother's Day. I wrote a memoir not too long ago on here about traveling that included her,  it was about how she tried helping my dad, who was single at the time, raise his daughters to become young ladies. 

I grew up without knowing my biological mother. I was born very premature and shortly after I was able to go home I was removed from my parent's care and placed in a foster home. My biological mother threw me against a wall because I wouldn't stop crying and broke me, I actually still have a decent gap where my skull was fractured and run my fingers across it every now and then. I stayed with a foster family until they wanted to legally adopt me, but my dad refused to allow it. After that I was placed in the care of my aunt Sherri and uncle Don until I was almost 3. Once I was back home with my parents my mother ditched us, 2 days before my 3rd birthday. 

The first mother figure that I can actually remember is my aunt Kathy. We moved from Florida to Oklahoma when I was 4 and lived with their family until my dad was able to afford a place of our own. Kathy was married to my uncle Jim, who is my dad's oldest brother. She was what you would have called the "mother hen" of our family. She helped take care and raise a lot of us, and believe me, there is a lot. She had 3 children of her own, who are and were closer to my dad's age than to ours. We always thought of her as the mean aunt, until we got a bit older. 

My grandmother lived with them before she passed away, when I was in the 8th grade, and we taught her how to flip Kathy off, because she was always nagging her. "Granny, uncross your legs you're going to cut off your circulation!" "Granny, take your water pills." "Granny, stay out of the cookies." "Granny ...." We didn't know she was just trying to help, we thought she was just being mean to her. Of course, we were the one's to sneak Granny cookies when no one was looking, how could we have known at the time what diabetes was?

Kathy's laugh was loud and contagious. I remember looking at pictures of her when she was in high school and thinking about how glamorous she must have been when she was young. She had the classic beehive hair style and cat eye glasses, I always thought she looked so cool. Her favorite singer was Elvis and we listened to a lot of him when we were with her.  She was the first person that I knew who struggled with weight issues, I remember that she was always trying the newest weight loss pill that would come out, but they never helped, I always hoped that they would have. She was also the first mother I had ever witnessed to lose a child, and it was utterly heartbreaking. 

I always tell myself that I am going to make it a point to see people I care about when I know their health is bad. I do it with good intentions. But, for some reason I just don't. I thought I would have more time to go see her. I guess I never realized how old she had gotten and how bad her health really was. Time goes by so quickly, I still just thought of her as the aunt Kathy I remembered from several years ago when she was doing much better. 

I did not attend her funeral either. I could not because of the distance and because my girls had things to finish up with school before it ended. Her son is pastor, who is also very arrogant and hypocritical, and he set everything up for the ceremony ... so it wasn't too bad of a thing that I did miss it. My sister told me that it was very short and no one got up to say anything about her or her life or the impact she made on them or about how great of a person and mother she was. I can say that it really pissed me off to know that her son did not allow anyone to do so, and that he did not do so himself. She deserved better than that. 

I will always remember my aunt Kathy as my first real mother figure. I find myself telling my own kids things she'd taught me as a young girl. "Don't eat with your mouth open!" "Close your legs when you're wearing a dress!" "Don't slurp!" "Ladies don't say fart!" Okay, that last one is one that I let slide but have very fond memories of. She was a good woman. She was a good mother. 

I guess today would be as good as any to take some time and think about her. To miss her. To grieve losing her, as I listen to Elvis songs in her memory. This moment will be the most memorable moment of my day! 

Created: Jun 13, 2017

Tags: memory a day, grief, loss, mother, mother figure, story, non-fiction

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