Monday, January 08, 2007

Aunt "M".

Thor's Aunt "M" was probably my favorite of all the aunts. She was always up beat, happy, friendly, quick witted, loyal, smart, and full of determination and humour.

The first time I met her was at the annual Christmas party way back in the day. Eventually the extended family stopped attending the party, it just got so that the entire family couldn't find a large enough facility to hold the numbers that the family grew to. Because the parties became a thing of the past, we only saw Aunt "M" a few times a year. A wedding, a bridal or baby shower, or an unexpected 'run-into' at mom and dad's or uptown shopping. At bridal shower 3 years ago I noticed the Lladro nativity she gave the young bride, along with a few other "small" things. "Heah there "M"... you gave me a hand mixer, and a lousy one at that. What's up?" "I didn't like you! Hahahahah! Besides, this is one of the perks at haivng money. Back then I was poor and probably gave you a mixer I had in the cupboard. She gets the good stuff now, just because I can." and "M" had the biggest smile on her face. She was so happy to give a big gift.

Nine years ago Aunt "M" was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Terminal and only 6 months to live. hmmm. Well that came and went, along with all the chemo therapies. Recovery and then another diagnosis of cancer in her breasts. More chemo, surgeries and more recoveries to go through. Then another diagnosis of cancer in her liver. "What the hell, [she'd] been down that road- why not go again?" In the in between times she would throw herself into her tax job. During the chemo she would delegate and do what she could to keep a handle on her life.

I remember one night, about 7 or so, I was shopping near her town at a Costco. I felt a SMACK on my cart and someone telling me to "watch it, those are MY flat screens your looking at!" It was "M". To my surprise, there she was, bald head and a bright flowered blouse, shopping at Costco. She burst out laughing at my surprise, being yelled at and seeing her shopping. "What? Just because I had chemo this morning I can't go shopping tonight? Shut your mouth and help me get this into the cart." She wanted a large box from another isle and had noticed me before I noticed her. All in all, that's "M": matter of fact with a slice of humour.

She was the popular gal in high school who hand picked three other gals to be her life long friends. They attended her funeral and praised her for her way of searching out the "odd three" and making them feel important. Each year "M" planned and carried out a "reunion" at the beach and each year all the "Lucky Four" would go and spend the week. It started in high school. The first year of college "M" was away at college, but made the plans anyway. She was missed that first day. The second day she showed up, boyfriend in hand and asked the girls to go with them to Vegas...they were eloping. The third day the went back to the beach reunion before setting out for the honeymoon. These reunions eventually came once every 5 years but in the last 15 years or so they began to meet each other once a month for lunch.

"M" was intelligent. Her daughter remarked about her parents' romance during the war via letters. Ones that "M" would correct grammatically and send back to her husband to rewrite. Later, when he had come home, she encouraged her husband to bid on a historical house in the valley that would be moved by the city to make way for growth at a local college. They looked it over found a solution to a major problem that others in the bidding could not solve, and confidently won. The city gladly handed over the deed in exchange for the cash amount: $5.00. During the signing of the papers however the mayor explained the embarrassment of the sale for such a low amount and "M" and her hubby decided to up the payment to $100.00. The house was moved; they lived and reared their family, and nevered moved again.

She was a tax preparer and educator. One of the founders of the tax society in CA. She taught seminars even while in the midst of chemo, bald head and all. She found a certain satisfaction in being able to teach her clients how to find the codes that would enable them to save on their taxes. She wanted her clients to hold onto as much money as possible, no matter what their bracket.

Her son told us about her last "life goals" made on December 9th: "to live until January 2nd, so that her husband could count her as a deduction the next year." She passed away 90 minutes short of her goal. Her son said that was the first time in her life she was early for anything.

I think I heard her giggling at that remark.

add to sk*rt


chronicler said...

Awe, I'm so sorry to hear this. I am glad to hear she was such a delight. Keep sharing the memories, I love to hear them.

Lisa M. said...


This made me smile, and tear.

Thank you for sharing it with us.