Grief is a topic that many people turn their backs on–I challenge you to answer the question because I will!
My Aunt Willie Urbanoski died on Friday, October 12, 2018, and because of family circumstances, we didn’t have her memorial service until yesterday, November 10. We did have a private family burial on Thursday, October 18, 2018.
Yesterday, the service was full of stories, pictures, laughter and tears–a real celebration of a woman who lived to be 98 years old–almost 99 because her birthday was Wednesday, November 7.
A second cousin stationed in England couldn’t attend to service, so her sisters did a live feed to her, so she and her husband could attend virtually–a 21st century way to handle loss.
How do YOU mourn the dead? For family? For friends? We all do it differently. My Mom’s sage advice: do it your way. I have a strong need to attend the memorial, view the body and get closure to the relationship. My best friend, Candy, died in 2012, and I was sick and couldn’t attend her service, and I have regretted it for years–no closure for me.
I wrote my aunt a poem for Christmas, 2012, and a week after my Mom died in March, 2013, Aunt Willie asked me if I would read that poem at her funeral. I said I would, but I’d cry all the way through it. She said she didn’t care because she wouldn’t be there!
So yesterday, I mustered my strength and read it–I got almost to the end before the tears came. Here’s the poem–I hope you enjoy it!
My Aunt Wee Wee
By: Larada Horner-Miller
December 25, 2012
Revised: November 9, 2018
You will always be Aunt Wee Wee!
As a child, Bub couldn’t pronounce “Aunt Willie,” so it came out
“Aunt Wee Wee,” and it stuck.
As I look back through my life,
You have always been there,
Aunt Wee Wee!
When I became an Aunt,
I followed your lead!
I wanted to touch my
nieces and nephews’ lives
the way you touched mine!
I have valued all the wonderful times
we spent together over the years.
You grace so many
of my memories!
As a toddler
I can remember
when I looked into your eyes, I saw a playful sparkle
I love you!”
In my childhood,
at Branson dances,
I remember watching
you and Uncle Hughie dance,
and the fun you had.
I remember 4th of July picnics and fireworks
Bub and I couldn’t wait until you arrived with Black Cats!
You came all the way from Albuquerque!
As a family, we went to Albuquerque.
You shared your beautifully decorated cakes.
We went on shopping sprees to the mall.
Delicious Thanksgiving dinners shared!
Our fishing trips
Our time together at Springer lake
You sat religiously by the lake, pole in hand.
While Uncle Hughie and I set up our poles
My week stay with you in Albuquerque-
A visit to Old Town
The Tram and dinner on the top! I felt like a princess!
As a young adult
You attended all of my major life events:
My 8th grade graduation
Princess at the TSJC tournament
My high school graduation
My TSJC graduation
We’ve continued that
precious relationship into my adulthood.
You attended my first 2 weddings.
No one attended the third.
Lin and I knew you were with us in spirit at ours.
As our second anniversary approached, Aunt Willie repeated often,
WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO?
Yes, Lin and I celebrated our second anniversary
with you in Pueblo— pictures, cake, laughter and love abounded.
I had several special visits while you
were in Logan, UT and now in Pueblo.
Some people I’ve known for a short time
and they only know me one dimensionally.
You have known me forever, and you know the many
sides of me.
You smile, and
you make me smile.
You know all about me,
and you make me feel good
about being me.
You love to laugh and enjoy life.
Often you catch me by surprise
with your witty humor, and we share a belly laugh.
In that laughter
I am no longer 59; You are no longer 93.
We are young again, frolicking on the floor.
My Aunt Wee Wee!
That’s the power you have always had–to make me smile
To make me laugh and
To make me feel good about myself!
What a gift!
I haven’t called you
“Aunt Wee Wee” for years,
but you always will be — my Aunt Wee Wee!
Copyright © 2018 Larada Horner-Miller
How do you mourn the loss of a family member? A friend? I’d love to see your comments. Remember–there’s no right or wrong way to do it!
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