Today we met a bunch of family to celebrate what would have been my Aunt’s 100th birthday. Well she is really my Great Aunt but she was always known to me as Auntie Lil or Agg.
She was quite a character and made it to 94 before she left us. Even that was a surprise, we were all expecting her to outlive us.
She died after almost two weeks in hospital on a Sunday morning after the family spent Saturday taking it in turns to sit with her.
Even on the morning of her stroke she had been out shopping and was largely fit and well, so seeing her like that was hard on us all.
I had seen her just a month before and she was full of life, the photo’s I took of her mucking about at the party, ended up being the last ones of her.
I remember saying ‘Tellah’ and making sure she got in the car safely, and then a few weeks later, we were sitting in the hospital with her not really knowing who we were. It’s funny how life goes.
I always remember her sitting in the corner of whatever family party we were at with a glass of Guinness in her hand, brought in just for her by whoever was hosting the party, as we knew her so well.
She would then proceed to help washing up towards the end of the night, which normally meant you would end up a couple of glasses short the next day.
She was always winding you up in a good way and had a thing for collecting the insides of Christmas crackers. We found loads of the bits when we cleared her flat which made us laugh. We’d always wondered what she did with them and the answer was fill her drawers!
She lived in a flat with the worlds narrowest stairs, most of us found them a struggle but she flew up them with no fear. They didn’t even have a light on them, you had to turn that on from inside the flat and she didn’t leave it on. So one of us would have to brave the stairs, almost on hands and knees and get it turned on for everyone else.
I did like to wind her up because she always made me laugh. She would tell you to ‘get out of it’ and give you a poke in the ribs or a slap on the hand, I can still hear her telling me off now.
When her Grand-kids went to Australia to watch the Test Match for Christmas she came to us, and we have a good picture of us all round the dinner table. It’s still in a frame in our lounge.
So make the most of the time you have with your family because you never know how much time you have with them. Don’t hold back from telling people you care about how you feel. Remember to hug people and listen to their stories because one day those memories might be all you have.
Most importantly remember to take photo’s. Not just posed ones, photo’s of how people actually were. Off the cuff photos of people talking in groups and sitting around laughing are my favourite. Because that is how we all were today, sat in the middle of a busy restaurant talking in groups.
We all moved around the table chatting and said how much we were enjoying it and how we should do it more often and not just for a special occasion. We even left the restaurant and spent 20 minutes standing outside talking, before we left them all to it and drove past to find them all still talking.
But this post is about remembering someone we lost, who even though they aren’t here, meant enough to 17 people for them to get in a room and toast her 100th Birthday anyway and I think that photo is one of my favourites of the day.
Auntie Lil might be gone but she certainly hasn’t been forgotten.