Today marks one year since Aunt Judy died.
There is a part of me that will never entirely believe it. I look at pictures of hers I grew up seeing now on my walls, gifts from her on my bookshelves, and it still doesn’t seem real. She was such a constant in my life, I just feel…lost so much of the time. I’m still eager to share new stories with her, only to realize she’ll never read them. That light we all lost with her still feels painfully absent, and I continually doubt I can live up to the potential she always saw in me.
This was the last email she sent me. My dad had died earlier in the month. Then my bunny. And I didn’t know it yet how much more I’d lose, how nothing would be the same again, nor how just a few days later she’d be in the hospital and wouldn’t come home again.
“I’m here for you, as always, for whatever.”
I try so hard to believe that. I do.
Death anniversaries are significant for most people, but it’s the year and a day that matters to me. That’s when the soul has been through some processing time and is free to return, to be reborn. Nothing is harder for me than faith, but I think it’s more that one believes rather than what one believes, so I choose to celebrate her tomorrow. To read her stories and hear her voice again and to remember she believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself.
When I lived with her for a year and a bit, I introduced her to the height of indulgence for me: Hors d’Oeuvres Day. Usually I do it on my birthday, but we’d sometimes hit M&M’s, stock up, and just randomly watch movies and eat appetizers all day. She’d show me her favourite films she was excited about, I’d try to talk her into some terrifying horror movie, and we’d binge-watch TV shows. And drink daiquiris. So in addition to trying to be kind, to share that light she gave others, that’s my plan for the day and I ask you, wherever you are, to take even a few moments to do the same.
Encourage someone, show them what light they have inside them. Be kind to yourself. Eat some good food, watch some good movies. Drink. Laugh. Love.