Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A bright spot for a sad time...

My Aunt Aileen passed away this morning.  She wasn't my aunt by blood.  Her husband, my Uncle Jack who is also my Godfather, and my father have been best friends ever since they met in Kindergarden.  She didn't die from liver cancer, rather she was in remission from it.  What her body ultimately could not take was all of the aggressive treatments to combat the cancer, and her organs began failing her.  As Ted often says, "Sometimes it's hard to tell the poison from the cure."

I don't post this to find a barrage of people being sorry for my loss.  And while I am very sad, I'm brokenhearted for my Uncle and I'd rather you hold him in your hearts and prayers.  What I am going to do is send him a bouquet of Shasta Daisies.  While some might think that sending him a bouquet of my favorite flowers would be silly and a bit selfish because he has wished all condolences and such be sent in the form of donations to the American Cancer Society, I want to hopefully give him what my Aunt once gave me.  Strength.

The earliest remembrance I have of death and grief was when my Grandmother Marie passed away.  I can't remember exactly how old she was, or how young I was, but I do remember how terrible it was for me, my family and my Grandfather.  I also remember that in the midst of all the condolences and cards and flowers sent to the family, my Aunt sent me a separate, small bouquet of sunny daisies with a note that simply said "A bright spot for a sad time..."  That one simple, beautiful gesture has stayed with me all of this time, and I suspect it is why they are my favorite flower.

I don't know if I ever told my Aunt and Uncle how thoughtful and significant that gesture was, but I am going to print out this blog post and send it to him as well.  I think it's important to be reminded in a time of sadness the beauty the person we mourn brought to the lives of others.


  1. She was one the most spectacular people I've ever known. My heart aches that Mallory will never know her. It really is so sad.

  2. What a pretty lady - both of you, actually. RIP, Aunt Aileen.


  3. Not gone...but only gone before,
    To where love lives on evermore.
    Not lost........but only lost from sight,
    As one who walks ahead at night.
    Not parted....only just apart,
    In memory held close in my heart.
    Not of the past..........but now to be,
    A part of all eternity.

  4. I think that I was maybe 15 when Grandma passed away. Aileen was truly one of the most enjoyable people I have ever had the priviledge to know and I know that there are so many people who will miss her tremendously. She touched so many people's lives.

    Love, Aly

  5. It makes me wonder if I've ever done anything that reverberated so loudly into the future. Thanks for sharing. -Kevin

  6. What a beautiful thing for her to do for you. She truly had a beautiful, thoughtful soul. I know she's out of pain and at rest, not having to fight that awful disease anymore.
    Hugs Michele

  7. I'm sure that you have Kevin. I'm sure that you have; You seem like a straight up type of guy. The picture above is pretty much how I remember Miss Aileen... Even though I only met her the one time early on in Michele's and my relationship... That was her.

    Cancer... What a nasty fucker of a disease; It's so... I can't think of the term to use; "Non discriminant" is about as close to it as I can muster. "Unfair" is another one and that's the most appropriate but nothing in life is fair (Or so they say) but it just gnaws at me... The fact that this beautiful, sweet woman who made the most beautiful gesture to a grieving child, has fallen victim to such an insidious and nasty disease whilst the world keeps turning happily ever after.... I can't describe my feelings... I don't know what to say. "A bright spot for a sad time."

    (The phrase still makes me cry.)

  8. It's times like this that I rely on the words of others who can express love and sorrow as I never could:

    A Gleam of Sunshine.
    By - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

    This is the place. Stand still, my steed,
    Let me review the scene,
    And summon from the shadowy Past
    The forms that once have been.

    The Past and Present here unite
    Beneath Time's flowing tide,
    Like footprints hidden by a brook,
    But seen on either side.

    Here runs the highway to the town;
    There the green lane descends,
    Through which I walked to church with thee,
    O gentlest of my friends!

    The shadow of the linden-trees
    Lay moving on the grass;
    Between them and the moving boughs,
    A shadow, thou didst pass.

    Thy dress was like the lilies,
    And thy heart as pure as they:
    One of God's holy messengers
    Did walk with me that day.

    I saw the branches of the trees
    Bend down thy touch to meet,
    The clover-blossoms in the grass
    Rise up to kiss thy feet,

    "Sleep, sleep to-day, tormenting cares,
    Of earth and folly born!"
    Solemnly sang the village choir
    On that sweet Sabbath morn.

    Through the closed blinds the golden sun
    Poured in a dusty beam,
    Like the celestial ladder seen
    By Jacob in his dream.

    And ever and anon, the wind,
    Sweet-scented with the hay,
    Turned o'er the hymn-book's fluttering leaves
    That on the window lay.

    Long was the good man's sermon,
    Yet it seemed not so to me;
    For he spoke of Ruth the beautiful,
    And still I thought of thee.

    Long was the prayer he uttered,
    Yet it seemed not so to me;
    For in my heart I prayed with him,
    And still I thought of thee.

    But now, alas! the place seems changed;
    Thou art no longer here:
    Part of the sunshine of the scene
    With thee did disappear.

    Though thoughts, deep-rooted in my heart,
    Like pine-trees dark and high,
    Subdue the light of noon, and breathe
    A low and ceaseless sigh;

    This memory brightens o'er the past,
    As when the sun, concealed
    Behind some cloud that near us hangs
    Shines on a distant field.

  9. So sorry I did not read this sooner.... I have been so busy with retiring from the FD I seem to have neglected some friends in need of support ((HUGS)) to you sweetie and if you need more ....... you know where to get them............