|Sisters - my mom (left) died 8 months later, aged 90|
Of course, there are many different types of fears and facing any one of them is easier said than done. Lately, I have put off contacting my favourite Aunt at her retirement home in England. She would have been 96 last week (but is she still alive and of sound mind?) I badly wanted to telephone her for her birthday but was afraid of the result. My cousin, her daughter, does not 'do' computers and hasn't answered my snail-mail letters and neither does her husband, e-mails obtain no result. I see that my last letter to my aunt, last November, was unacknowledged. Did it get there at all? Our postal system is a disaster. Finally, last week, my cousin's husband did reply to an Urgent e-mail: yes, she was fine - he was just off to buy her weekly supply of frozen dinners for her carers to prepare. I knew she was in a wheelchair and now had been suffering from Parkinson's. I plucked up my courage and phoned. How delighted and relieved I was to hear her voice, sounding almost the same as always, she knew immediately who I was, remembered all about my family, even my grandchildren's names, she joked about her advancing age, not mentioning her ailments or difficulties and we had a marvelous chat until I could hear she was beginning to get tired. My mother died 8 years ago, and my father 4: I still can't believe they have gone. This aunt, my mother's younger sister, was a huge part of my childhood and I loved her dearly: she was always going out of her way to help others. She is my last tenuous grip on the past. She is the last one left. She has been a widow for about forty years. She told me that for her birthday this year she had lots of beautiful cards and four bouquets of flowers. She received my card, she told me, after only 4 days in the post. She still reads books . I think I will write her more often.