Another Party In Heaven

Talking About Aunt Belle

My Aunt….my mom’s sister (mom passed in Jan 2001…she was 78….uterine cancer…died about a year and a half after diagnosis)….passed yesterday, on my mom’s birthday, Mar 15. My aunt was 87, my mom would have been 94.

My aunt was in a nursing home until a week ago when she was moved to a hospital due to recurring pneumonia, difficulty swallowing, she had stopped eating solid food, and was having trouble with liquids.

About 15 years ago, her children moved her from Arizona, where she had lived with her second husband for 18 or so years (until a few years after he died of Alzheimer’s), to the Bronx, to a not very nice assisted living/intermediate care/nursing home facility. She always missed Arizona terribly.

Eventually through my brother’s efforts, she was moved to a much nicer assisted living facility, and when she needed more help than that facility could provide, was moved to a nicer nursing home. This is where she has been for the last 4 or 5 years.

She had a son who was 15 minutes away (until recently moving out of state) who visited when he could. She had a daughter, 5 to 6 hours away, who visited her when she could.

Anyway, my aunt did not want a funeral service, and she wanted to be cremated. She wanted her ashes scattered in a favorite spot in Arizona, near Tucson, where she had lived with her husband until he passed. She scattered his ashes in the same place.

Her children intend to honor her requests.

I saw my aunt twice in the last few weeks (I am a couple of hours away). I knew she was heading downhill, and she and I had talked about her being ready to die. I knew from the conversations with her daughter the last few days that the end was very close. I was thinking of going back to see her one more time when I got the call from her daughter that her mom had passed in the late morning.

My wife Emilee and my aunt had talked almost everyday for the last two years up until Emilee did not have the strength anymore. I tried to be her stand in for some time, until my aunt stopped answering her phone and it was difficult to get in touch with her.

My ex-wife also made it a habit of visiting my aunt when she could, and spending some time with her. That really was a blessing. And, my daughter in law had brought her daughter (about a year old) to see my aunt. She absolutely loved the visits. She was a sweet lady, and they all liked her.

She was upset when I told her Emilee had died, even though she knew it was imminent. It was not long afterward, that she told me she wanted to die.

I was sad that no one from her family was with her, even though I had said goodbye. But, I knew she went to be with my mom on my mom’s birthday.

I know they all had cake yesterday….my aunt and her husband, my mom and my dad, my Emilee and her father, my grandparents, even my dog Harmony….I know they all shared in the cake, and helped bring my aunt into the light.

I had said yesterday morning in a text to my brother, that I hope she dies today on mom’s birthday. Then I had to call him later and tell him the news.

Neal Klein
Life After Emilee, on the loss of my wife to pancreatic cancer. I’m not accepting comments right now but please feel free to get in touch via my Contact page.