The telephone rang early this morning, which is unusual and startled me, unaccustomed to its invasion of my morning's quiet.
It was one of the aunts.
"How is my sister?"
It all started when my parent's living arrangements changed. I became the main contact for all three of the aunts (pronounced ah-nts in my birth state); my father's two sisters, aged 81 and 90, and my mother's sister, aged 75. They all hail from the next state.
When Daddy first became sick and was diagnosed at the hospital, his sisters would call for updates. When he arrived at my home they would call regularly in order to speak to him. Since his hearing was not the best I would put the setting on speaker phone and carry the phone to his bedside and thus began the so familiar conversation of brother and sister. As I heard the manner in which they carried on with each other, it would fill a portion of me that reaches down and defines family. Of course, they never failed to ask about my mother and her present condition either.
Almost weekly the voice of my mother's sister would come over the distance via phone lines wanting to know how her sister was doing. A special relationship developed with her these past months especially since she lost her only daughter back in January 2009. She has managed to displace the connection I have lost with my mother. Her voice is my mother's and my grandmother's, the females that went before me.
After Daddy died, all three of them would call quite often. I learned to position myself, grief needed like-company and the sharing of a life that had slipped from us wasn't instant like email.
As a grown daughter of my parents, I am also characterized as a grown niece of my elderly aunts. I am cognizant of the fact that they have known my father and mother longer than I have. But the history in the shared span crossed is sweet indeed.
Aunt "Easy", who will be 91 in July. I can only hope I will be as strong in body and mind as she is if I get to be her age.