Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Greatest Things in Life.

The Greatest Things in Life-

Are Not Things.

I had this written in my bedroom as a teenager- when the world seemed so full of material and "stuff". As decades passed, these words remain true to me still. The greatest things in life are not things.

My grandma passed away when I was just a year old. I have no memory of her and I feel sad about that. But she had a sister- my beloved Auntie Irene. Auntie never married, nor had any children. She listened to her mother who didn't want her to marry. The man she fell in love with was neither polish nor catholic and my Auntie, though in love, listened to her mother- took care of her mother and lived most of her life in her mother's home.

My Auntie Irene.

We visited often and wrote letters frequently. She was more than just an 'aunt' to me- though she would sometimes make comments that she was 'just' that... an aunt. Later when she grew too old, too fragile, to live by herself, she moved to our town. Though she missed her home, I was secretly and selfishly happy. A woman I had grown to love and respect was now living so close and because of that, I enjoyed Tuesday dinners with her each week and grocery shopping trips with just the two of us. Over that time, I gained more than I could imagine. One of my childhood mentors had become a friend.

My Auntie Irene.

I remember her face when I rushed to her apartment and held out my hand. She looked at the diamond, tears in her eyes. She was so happy for me, and yet I could see that she was also sad. Sad for herself. "It's so beautiful," she whispered. "It is just what I would have wanted."

My Auntie Irene.

We laughed together, and as she aged I would care for her, wash her feet, tuck her in bed, kiss her goodnight. As she became more and more sad about her life's circumstances, I gave her a journal and instructed her to write in it something she was thankful for each day.

On the day I took a test- a test that would tell me that in nine months another amazing woman would be born, we buried my sweet Auntie.

My Auntie Irene.
Who never wed.
Never had children...

But oh she did!
She had us!
She had me!

I can't imagine my life without her influence- without her laughter- without her guidance. I can't imagine my life without her! I sometimes wonder what if she had married, had children of her own... would she have loved me as much? Would our relationship had been as special? Would I be exactly the person I am today? Perhaps not. But the 'whatifs' do not matter now. The truth is that she loved me as if I were her child. She loved me as if I were her own. And I only pray that she knew how much I truly loved her in return.

The children that grew inside us, are not all in our lives. But children will be in our lives- if we choose to, we can be that someone- like my Auntie. We can change someone, love someone, mentor someone, share ourselves.

I do not know why my Auntie's life went the way that it did. I do not know why she passed on a lifetime of love. I do not know why. But I do know that God put me in her life for a reason and she in mine.

There will be others. Perhaps that is why. There are other lives to touch and mentor and share with. And though we wished we were touching and mentoring and sharing with the ones we are missing, I sometimes wonder if there is someone else out there that needed us more. Needed me more. Needed you more.

And one day those children will grow up, and reflect and be so grateful. Grateful that the greatest things in life, are not things. And that God gave them a gift, YOU!

In that journal my Auntie wrote many things she was grateful for. She wrote that she was grateful for me, but I was oh so much more grateful for her. And I pray that she knows that. But one day I will tell her, and tell him, and tell baby E.

I love you sweet Auntie.
Thank you for being so wonderful to me.
Thank you for holding my babies until I get there.

Goodnight Irene,
I'll see you in my dreams.


  1. It sounds like you were very lucky to have each other and she is the perfect person to be taking care of your precious babies.

  2. What a beautiful glad she holds your angels in her arms. Love. Nan xxx


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