With an oh-so-light white dusting of snow outside and my tree lights bringing color and peace inside, I sit comfortably counting my blessings with a very bitter sweet sense.
Yesterday, on Christmas Eve, my dear Aunt Rose died. She was my mom’s younger sister, a beauty who turned heads and warmed hearts until her final days.
Auntie Rosie and my mom, known to her own nieces and nephews as “Auntie Annie,” were quite the pair. They never, ever, ever spoke an unkind word to each other or about each other. They liked to tell us how they never fought or argued as children, that they actually sang together when doing household chores.
We teased them, of course. The perfect sisters, the singing sisters. They laughed and stood by their story.
I stopped at my cousin’s to say goodbye to Auntie Rosie two days before she died. I nearly gasped when I entered her room and saw my own dear mother. She looked so much like my mom who died in March of this year. Why wouldn’t she? They were sisters, the happy, singing sisters.
Auntie Rosie was one of those adults who made every child around her feel safe. She wore a protective aura that drew you in and made you want to stay close. I often found an excuse to do so.
Late in life, after her husband died, Auntie Rosie spent a lot of time with my mom and dad. She’d arrive on a Friday afternoon with her overnight bag and spend the weekend baking cookies and talking old times with my parents. She brightened their days to be sure.
As Mom’s memory began to fail, Auntie Rosie covered for her. She’d make light of mom’s mistakes and occasional confusion. Not long after, Auntie Rosie began to show signs of memory loss herself. But when they were together, nothing escaped them. They were “spot on.”
Auntie Rosie’s passing is especially difficult because she was so close to my own mother. The singing sisters were completely devoted to each other. They were blessed to have each other. And we are blessed to have had them.
Annie and Rosie, I imagine, are up there and all around us, making music together again. And they will forever.
Anne Marie Gattari is president of BrightStar Care of Grosse Pointe/Southeast Macomb, providers of companion, personal and nursing care services that help keep parents and grandparents in the comfort and familiarity of their own homes