It seems when someone I love passes away, an image of them solidifies in my mind. A look or expression that cuts deep into who they were to me. When my grandpa died, I saw over and over again the look on his face when we would walk through the front door. Exuberance, elation, welcoming, arms stretched out for hugs. I remember him this way. I have a lot of memories, but this is the enduring one.
My grandma's sister passed away yesterday. My great aunt. She was 82, and lived a good life, loved by many. To me, she was my grandma's sister. I was thinking today about what it was about the two of them together. She made a different part of my grandma come alive. She always had a mischievous sparkle in her eye when she smiled. When she and my grandma looked at each other, it was like two little girls sharing a secret. Jokes, sarcasm, teasing...whatever it was, they sparkled.
I never realized until today how few sister relationships there are in my family. I'm the niece to many uncles, so the relationship between my grandma and Aunt Rosemary was one I paid attention to as a child. My grandma always described her older sister as so outgoing, as the life of the party, the one the boys paid attention to. Said with a hint of jealousy that only a shy younger sister could feel. Yet mostly she expressed a tremendous amount of admiration and fondness. I always loved how it sounded when my grandma said her name, Rosemary. It's funny, but I wish I remembered more. More moments and more time spent with her. But that is what is staying with me.
Rosemary, the one whose eyes sparkled when she smiled, who exchanged knowing looks and brought out the mischievous little sister in my grandmother. You'll be missed.