My auntie died this morning.

She had Covid-19 and had been in hospital with an unrelated problem.

I miss her more than I can say.

Not that I saw her a lot, but she remained my main connection with where I grew up, with my father’s family and with something I didn’t know how to relate to without someone like her. Saying I miss her sounds odd like that I suppose, but just knowing she was there felt like a sheet anchor that held me stable within the changing world.

When my parents died and I suddenly realised that all those questions you meant to ask were closed off to me now, she could still answer many things. If I needed to know things, if I needed to get in touch with people in town I knew who to go to.

Her sons are still in the town and my feelings obviously pale into insignificance next to theirs. I can only send them my condolences, love and my thanks for their mother and her unfailing good nature and kindness.

She helped my mum when my father died and I was out of the country. She was lovely to my daughter when I took her to see her she and she sent her and my son birthday and Christmas cards and presents unfailingly to the end. She was a lovely person and remains a warm secure memory about a place I have oddly mixed feelings about.

I should have told her I loved her more. She was so kind and I am a terrible correspondent and she should have heard more often than she did how much it all meant to me.

We mostly saw each other in recent years at family funerals. The irony is not lost on me. The opportunity to correct my inability to put into words and actions the affection I felt has gone. I can’t do what I kept promising myself I would do and write, phone and visit.

There are reasons I didn’t but when the hard reality of an ending arrives like this, it makes it clear they were not good ones.

It’s probably too late to change my nature and fix the problems associated with it, but perhaps her death can be a catalyst for me to at least try.

My love to her and her family.

Thank you.

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