Last Saturday, my Aunt Beverly passed away after a very long, very very hard life. She waited for me to come to her on Friday, and on Saturday morning, before anyone was up and about their business, she left quietly.
Although she was the most obvious of the victims, my mother, the baby, and her brother suffered too. My Uncle Laddie lied about his age and joined the Navy at 17, hating it, but taking the only way out. He fought alcoholism for the rest of his life. My mother stayed with my grandmother, then married my father at 21, later divorcing him when I was barely two. She begged my grandmother to let her come home, and then never escaped again. My grandmother raised me as if I were my mother's sister. My mother was an alcoholic, albeit executive level and high functioning, for as long as I can remember. She died of liver failure in 2005, outliving her mother only four years.
Why? That's what I've been asking myself. I look at a picture of the three of them as children with their whole lives ahead of them and wonder how they could get up every morning and make the same decisions. Every day. Day after day. It breaks my heart. None of the three siblings could ever forget their mother and move on with living their lives. I think they always felt powerless: caught by fate.
I am feeling strange these days, like someone without a history. Questions come up and I want to call my mother and ask her, but she's gone. As an only child who grew up without any extended family, the death of my aunt has left me feeling lost, as though the last link to my childhood is gone.
Why am I telling you this? I've been going back and forth about posting it. I often write personal things and then delete them before hitting "publish." I guess, in the end, I just needed to say it.
I may yet delete it.