The things that can be said

Losing people can make you quantify who they were, assessing the size of the hole left. When more than one person dies around the same time, the measurements become hazy. They are going to be similar pains, and deeply unconnected at the same time. The two deaths are felt in totally unique ways, yet combine, a jigsaw of strangely matching pieces.

A dear aunt, someone I thought of regularly, even if I saw her only infrequently, joined the great beyond. This was sadly expected and she felt, ultimately, ready to find her next adventure. She truly lived larger than others. She had enjoyed two lives. More.

I can imagine with perfect clarity the tone and lilt of her bright greeting for those she would have finally seen again in the Otherworld. Parents and brother, the grandfather I never met but knew so much about. I did not visit her weekly or even monthly, nor speak on the phone with her – there’s a good chance I inherited my avoidance of answering calls from the way she would never pick up – but she was always present at every family event. Birthdays, Christmas, Anniversaries. If there was a party she could be invited to, she was, and you were guaranteed her attendance.

A woman whose personality was so expansive and singular to her. Things throughout the world have reminded me of my aunt, of how she might share an over-abundance of pleasure at something beautiful, or express her quick opinions on the state of affairs. I would have liked to cook for her again, once more. No one appreciated the little things the way she could, with absolute, committed joy, and no one else could drop the kind of instantaneous, easy curses as she did. She was, in all things, unapologetic for being herself.

And so I’m left thinking, no more of her loud amazement at something in the garden; no more of her carefully large hair and coordinated costume jewellery, which would look off on anyone else and yet, somehow perfect and gorgeous when worn by her; no more terrible, wonderful giant artificial flower arrangements filling her house, making the rooms nearly untraversable; no more of her perfume lingering after our long, long hugs; no more of her laughter and outrage and indignation and smiles and beaming pride for everything her family has done and will come to do. Those in the Otherworld have her now, we are left with memories.