Posted by: Jennifer | January 15, 2011

anesthetizing the pain

My great-aunt died this week. She was diagnosed with lung cancer in November after smoking two packs a day for fifty years. By the time the cancer was diagnosed it had started to spread to her liver, pancreas, and stomach. She received radiation therapy in the hopes that it would buy her some time, and it seemed to help. She was sitting up, she was talking and laughing, and she had a good Christmas. After the holiday was over, on January 3rd, she went to sleep and she never woke up. She went into a coma and eventually died, with her husband and four of her seven children at her side.

Last night, her family gathered at her home for her wake and I was invited. Everyone drank and laughed and told stories and there were a few tears. It was exactly the way that Aunt Sis would have wanted it. She has been cremated, and her ashes will be added to the ocean during a Digby whale watching tour in the summer. I don’t think any of this is really going to sink in until the next time I go to my Uncle John’s for dinner, and I sit down at the table, and my aunt isn’t there. I’m dreading that day. For now, I’m just going to stay busy and remember her the way that she was — always funny and talkative and full of joie de vivre.

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