My family lost another loved one to that devil Alzheimer's yesterday. Aunt Carolyn was finally released from her suffering and is at peace.
She was only 11 years older than me and she helped me through lots of hard times and we shared lots of good times.
Family fishing trips, making us all spaghetti; laughing uncontrollably at family fish fries; teaching me how to make pecan pie and cherry pie and how to give a house a good cleaning; being a second mom to my siblings and I; rocking my babies and pouring her love out on them. (Photo - Aunt Carolyn with my oldest son Larry.) She was a fantastic cook and whenever you would visit you knew you were going to get some good Southern home cooking.
She had a way of seeing things the way they were and she didn't mince words. She would not tell you a lie even if it meant saying things to and about people she loved if she thought they needed to be told. She was not afraid to stand up for what was right or to stand against everyone else if she thought they were wrong. I learned from her and the other women in my family to be strong.
I don't have a lot of photos of her. Most of them are in my mind. But she was a part of everything of importance and most things trivial in my life up until later years when we lived far apart. (Photo - Aunt Carolyn with my brother David.)
When my mom was in her last year and a half of her own Alzheimer battle, Aunt Carolyn called every few days to check on her. Even as her own Alzheimer's was starting to change her life.
She would have me call her from the nursing home whenever I was there with Mama. She wanted to talk to Mama and did up until it was clear Mama could not talk on the phone. Then she just talked to me and my siblings so she would know how Mama was. During this time Aunt Carolyn moved into an apartment, then assisted living. We weren't sure how to tell her about Mama passing away but she must have known in her heart because she called me that day to see how Mama was. She and Mama were like sisters, even though they were sisters-in-law, and I guess she felt the loss.
Aunt Carolyn had a heart of gold and she would do anything for those she loved. Her family was the most important thing in her life. Her sense of humor was famous in our family and we smile as soon as her name is mentioned. Even now, through our tears.
She was one of a kind and my family suffers a great loss with her passing. I have only one aunt left in that generation and then we are all truly on our own. If we survive this world it will be only because of what they taught us and showed us by example.