ladysprite: (WorldSoBig)
I had a wonderful weekend, with friends and love and support, and I was surprised in the best possible way with how caring and compassionate and welcoming and helpful the people in my life are, whether they're old friends or people I just met.

And then we came home and found out that, while we were away, [livejournal.com profile] umbran's mother passed away.

She had been having health problems off and on for a little while now, and I know we were both worried about her, but with her living in Latvia there was precious little we could do except worry, and give what advice and support we could send from a distance.

Her passing is a surprise, and a sadness, but at the same time... we don't have to worry about her anymore, and we don't have to imagine what problems and pain she may be facing. It's a small blessing in the face of this.

I miss her. She was good to me, from the first day I met her (admittedly, several years after we started dating). She treated me like her own daughter. She taught me how to bake her favorite breads, and gave me books on Latvian customs and clothing, and made me skirts and sent me birthday cards and more bits of amber jewelry than I can count. When we got engaged, she was the one who was adamant that I not have an "affordable" ring, and arranged for the family's heirloom jewelry to be delivered from overseas so I could be properly bejeweled.

I know my memories of her are obviously and profoundly different from [livejournal.com profile] umbran's, and that I got the Good Parts version, but what stands out to me most of all is how she always sounded like she was about to start laughing. I felt so lucky to be welcomed into her family and her heart.

So. Gratitude for having her in my life for as long as I did, pain for having spent these last few years with her so far away, sorrow at her passing, joy in her memory.... it's an emotionally overwhelming evening.

I miss her.
ladysprite: (MoonSun)
RIP Barbara Collier.

My great-aunt has died. I'm not sure whether it happened last night or this morning; I didn't think to ask. I got the phone call from my mother this morning, as part of the family phone tree - we're getting pretty good at this.

It wasn't unexpected. Like I mentioned earlier this week, she had a stroke a while ago and has been functionally gone for the past year and a half; at the family reunion last weekend the decision was made to stop her life support. Honestly, deep down in my heart of hearts, I'm glad for her that she's passed. The way she was... that wasn't any way to live, especially not for a woman as vibrant and energetic and no-nonsense as she was - one of my favorite memories of her was at her 90th birthday party, where I didn't get much of a chance to talk with her because she was too busy dancing and flirting with her new boyfriend.

I'm running out of things to say, in posts like this. I remember her. I love her. She never had children of her own, so in each generation she'd pick one of the nieces and make them her special kid. First it was my mother, then me. Each summer I'd spend a month at her house in Maine, and she'd take me to the beach and to her farm and let me read her yellowed old books and give me the time and attention that parents can't always give a kid. Her first husband was a dairy farmer; he died when I was about ten-ish. She remarried a few years later, and it took me a while to forgive her for that - it meant that she sold the farm and moved away from the house that I had always secretly thought of as my real home, and that I had to share her with some old guy who had liver spots and a funny voice, but I eventually came to love Uncle Francis, too, mostly because she did.

I want to be like her. There are so many other things I could say here, but that's the only one, I think, that matters.

And I feel like a horrible person because I think I'm not going to her funeral. It falls on a day that I'm not working, but.... I have been too much surrounded by death this year. I love her, and I love my family, but I don't know if driving to Kennebunk to spend a day surrounded by distant aunts and cousins, wallowing in our shared grief, is going to do anything other than make me even more miserable. I know I should, I know that it's important to fly the family color, but what I want, and what I need, is to be around people who love me *AND* know me, to be outside, to walk and breathe and spend time in my own head, not being the Good Daughter and the Good Niece and holding up everyone else's sorrow.

I love you, Auntie Barbara, and I miss you, and thank you.

And please, God, let this be the last one for a little while?

Please?

Passings

Aug. 16th, 2010 12:18 pm
ladysprite: (WorldSoBig)
There are maybe three men in the world that I have thought of as my father. One won this right purely through genetics, another through friendship and being a role model, and the third when I had the good fortune to marry his son. This is about him.

I was blessedly lucky when I acquired my in-laws; more so than most people I know, my husband included. They were kind, cheerful, welcoming people who accepted me into their family with open arms, and they never made me feel left out, unwelcome, or like I wasn't good enough for them or their son. I found acceptance with them that I rarely have anywhere else, even though I only saw them rarely.

My father-in-law.... what can I say about him? He was a tall man; quiet and thoughtful, with a dry sense of humor that he kept hidden at first - a lot like his son. He was kind and attentive to his wife, he treated his sons with respect, and his grandchildren with love and affection. And he gave me the same kindness and respect and love that he did all of them. There was never any question as to whether I was part of the family - if [livejournal.com profile] umbran loved me, then I was, in every way that mattered, family.

He was a good man, and he made me feel good about myself. I wish I had more to say about him here, but I never got the chance to talk with him or get to know him more thoroughly - like I said, he was quiet. And I never will. A few years ago, he and my mother-in-law moved back to Latvia, and last night we got a phone call telling us that he had passed away after an unfairly yet mercifully short battle with cancer.

It's not fair. I didn't get enough time with him. And I know that even if I had seen him every day since I became his daughter, that those words would still be true.
ladysprite: (WorldSoBig)
I did not need this now.

I just got word from my mother that my dad is being treated for lymphoma, and that it's... not going well.

Those of you who know me well enough to know my history with my father will know that this is a complicated, messy, miserable situation - beyond the obvious trauma of a parent being treated for cancer, he and I have a lot of baggage in our relationship.

I am a big bag of jagged little pieces right now. I don't know how much more I can take.

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