Archive for October, 2008

how shall I grieve?

I would have to say I am grieving right now over the loss of a dear aunt.  Her funeral is tomorrow.  Memories of my childhood and extended family rarely leave her out.  Memories of her are sweet.  She was kind, thoughtful, caring, loving, gentle. . . I could go on and on.

She died slowly by starvation.  She did it to herself.  It was unnecessary.

My aunt always went to church.  She exuded kindness.  She did for others.  When each of my children was born, she came to visit.  She brought food when I was sick, she made everyone’s favorite dishes at family get-togethers, she made my favorite cake for my birthday, she always sent a birthday card–and it always arrived on your birthday no matter where she sent it from.

But, about 10 years ago, she lost some weight.  A little too much, really, because my uncle had open heart surgery, and he needed to loose weight.  She didn’t.  But, being the sweet and loving woman she was, she prepared all of his low-fat dishes, and ate the same thing right along with him.  She was an excellent cook.

Always active, working outside in her yard was a joy.  One day came when she couldn’t mow with a push mower any longer.  In fact, she got pinned to a tree with the weight of it, and couldn’t get herself free.

There was really nothing anyone could do at that point.  She was proud of being thin.  She thought she looked healthy.

We have a dear friend that is a psychologist.  He told my husband recently, he stopped taking cases like my aunt’s because there is truly nothing you can do.  I have wondered, from time to time, if when she said to me, “You’d think that someone who looks as healthy as I do, wouldn’t have a problem with (fill in the blank)”:  what if I had said, “You don’t look healthy, just terribly thin.”

Would it have mattered?  Would she have listened?

It has been a few years since the event I described above, but she has slowly gotten thinner and thinner.  About two months ago, she couldn’t get out of bed.  Her husband took her to the hospital.  She was 5 ft 6 inches tall and weighed 78 lbs.

After about a month in the hospital, they got her up to 98 lbs.  It has been a struggle since then, and she finally gave up the will to live, knowing that she would not ever be able to regain what she had lost.  She went on hospice, and died within 48 hours.

She leaves a gaping hole in our family.  I cannot fathom what goes on in a person’s mind to think like that.  I know it happens, I just don’t get it.

It hurts so bad to say goodbye to someone you love who died so senselessly.  Pride is so ugly.  I loved her.  This is all so surreal.


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This is my baby minutes after birth, and shortly before I knew he had Down syndrome.

My husband already had it figured out.

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