Thursday, July 15, 2010

Farewell - Aunt Tammy

Sometimes, I get reminders ...we all do, I suppose.  Some are like a swift kick in the pants.  Some are like a gentle nudge from a dog who is patiently waiting for a scratch behind the ear.  My MooseBoots journey provided one of the former category today.

I should have known from the start.  I have been tired, exhausted even.  The politics and stress of work are such drains.  This is something I am trying to address on this path.  This morning, however, I popped up out of bed and decided to go for a walk.  I have been talking, ad nauseum, about starting to exercise more often.  So, out the door I went with both dogs in tow.

It was nice being out.  We walked to one of my favorite spots ... I really haven't visited in such a long time.  Being under the canopy of leaves in the early morning light was refreshing, invigorating.  Of course, I needed to cut it short and walk back.  In total, the walk was about 45 minutes. 

As a result, everything else prior to walking out the door was out of order.  The dogs went out before they were fed, for instance.  I even opted for a simply bagel with peanut butter instead of one of Wendy's delicious breakfast sandwiches with our own eggs.  I was already anticipating the worse at work.

I walked in to find an unanounced meeting in process.  It was one I was supposed to be at, apparently.  I attended.  During the meeting, my phone rang ... it was Gar.  I let voice mail get it and returned the call afterwards.

My aunt has been ill.  Her health has never been great, but really took a turn a few years back with quadruple by-pass surgery.  Gar had called because the home health service had been in and said, "she has hours left."  She was only 48 years old.  I promptly called Wendy to share the news.  I was not sure if I would be leaving work or waiting until lunch.

Then ... I remembered that two years ago, I missed my grandfather's funeral because of this job.  I was torn ... my absence could jeopardize a multi-million dollar order that is already on shakey ground ... but, I feel like my family has suffered enough for this job and that the right thing was to leave immediately.  I waffled a bit and then did the right thing.  I told my boss that I was leaving and would likely be out the rest of the day.  That single act felt so good, and right, that I was instantly calm and collected about the quandry I was, only moments before, in.  Obviously, I knew what was right on some level.

I stopped by the house and picked everyone up.  We went to see her.  She was sleeping and remained that way all day.  It was incredible to see all of the family members by her side.  She had confided a few days ago that she was afraid that she would die alone.  We were not going to let that happen.  After several hours of talking with everyone and waiting, I decided to leave for a bit.

We came back home.  We checked all of the animals and gave them food and water.  Then, I worked on a basket that I have been making (my first).  Then, I retrieved my birch log to try to peel it.  I could not, but decided to split it to try to make a drum frame.  I worked for quite a time on that, thinking about my aunt.  At the exact moment that I decided to stop, thirty minutes before we had planned to go back, my aunt passed into the next world.  Wendy met me at the door with tears in her eyes and broke the news.

We went back to give our last good-byes and wish her well on her new adventure.The girls were brave and each said her own farewell.  We comforted each other and the other guests.  We shared stories about her, laughing and crying.  She was incredible ... Gar was incredible during this entire process, too.  We looked at pictures ... it was so natural.  We left shortly before the funeral home came to pick her up.

So, the reminder ... re-assess and stick to your personal priorities.  Very few people will offer that which is the right action for you without your suggestion.  Let all of the people in your life know how you feel, don't make them guess.  Life is short, you could be dancing today and gone tomorrow.  Enjoy what you are doing, or find something you can.  This is why I have chosen my MooseBoots path ... perhaps, there is more I can do to fully embrace it.

Farewell, Aunt Tammy.  We will meet again.


  1. I am sorry for your loss, my friend, but so very thankful you trusted your instincts enough to do what you needed to do.

  2. So sorry for the loss in this life, but thankful that you were comforted by the experience.

  3. Rach and Hope, thank you both. It is unfortunate that it tales such events to bring everyone together or to remind us of these simple truths. Again, thank you.

  4. As you know, Deus Ex Machina, we came very close to losing my sister-in-law this winter, when she was involved in a very serious car accident. From the moment my husband told me the news, I knew that I would do whatever it took to be there for her and her family. Visiting her nearly every day at the hospital for months, updating a blog I set up to keep everyone informed on her progress, putting everything on hold, basically, to be able to "do the right thing" - what I knew in my heart I could do to help her to the best of my ability.

    It's amazing the sense of calm and righteousness that settles over us when we set our intent and purpose to serve others ahead of ourselves, no matter what it takes. All the chaos and anxiety that leads up to making the decision to "do the right thing" are instantly gone, as you found out yourself.

    My sympathies to you and your family, but how wonderful that you could all be there together during her final physical time in this realm.


  5. I send my condolences to you and your family.

  6. Julie and Woolysheep, thank you both very much.


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