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28 December 2012

Thinking about you.

I haven't written in quite some time.
I have an aunt, she's in hospital right now. She wouldn't want me to say who she is or anything like that. She's private, always has been. That's my perspective anyhow. I don't know if others feel the same way. Regardless, she would be pissed if she knew I was writing even this amount. I could be wrong. Maybe she wouldn't be mad. I bet she'd be happier if I called instead of writing about how shitty I think it is she has to be in hospital at all, let alone over the holiday season.
I was going to call on Boxing Day. I was planning to call. I told people I was going to call her on Boxing Day.
I freaked out about calling at all.
Why?
Boxing Day 2011 was the last time I had a conversation with another aunt, my Aunt Mary Anne. I was scared the same might happen with unnamed aunt - You know what? I was just thinking about her name and I don't even know what this aunt's middle name is. I'll have to ask her when I do call.
Last conversation I had with Aunt Mary Anne was on Boxing Day last year in the parking lot of the now closed Roger's Video. I was talking to her on my phone in the parking lot while she was visiting with family at my brother and sister in law's house. The new tradition started that year. I haven't been to one yet. Maybe soon.
Sitting in my car in the parking lot of the now closed Roger's she couldn't hear me very well and was going to hang up the phone without talking much - she was tired and frustrated and I think realised that time is too short to waste trying to talk to someone who isn't understandable - I said "WAIT!" and I took her off speaker phone and held the phone and stopped being so lazy about the whole thing. I knew she was sick. I wanted to talk to her.
We were on the phone maybe ten minutes, maybe it was less, maybe it was more. Our conversation was real. You know what I mean? We talked about real things and feelings and fears and realities and we were sad. We both were. I'm glad I got to talk to my Aunt Mary Anne.
Less than four months later I was flying home as she lay dying in her bed in her new home - the home she loved so much - with her family - her family she loved so much. I was blessed to be able to spend that time with her and help her and her family during that time. We were all sad. We felt real feelings and saw each other - really saw each other in those moments when the wind blew the right way and feelings shook out like leaves falling trees. It was spring though. Didn't feel right.
On the journey to Harrow I wrote something for my aunt - about my aunt. My cousin asked me to read it at her funeral. I did. I'll transcribe it here:
At times I feel as if sermons are bouncing around inside my head simply searching for an escape route. "A photo is worth a thousand words." I get it now. My Aunt Mary Anne ALWAYS had a camera strapped around her neck. She saw so clearly what so many miss. Her thoughts caught up in the silence between the image and the lens. I never heard her before - funny that - imminent death draws us closer and seeming to understand the dying just a little bit better...a little more clearly. Or at least my perception seems to have widened my peripheral to capture the voice my aunt appeared to desperately shield from the rest - she wasn't. She was showcasing for all to hear in her images captured - those images interpret the silent words collected between the lenses.

I miss her.
I'm scared for my aunt in hospital now. I shouldn't distance myself when I'm already physically so far away. I should be calling the hospital to say hello. If I'm going to be honest - I'm afraid to feel sad. I'm afraid of mortality. She deserves better than that. And so do I. She's awesome. She does call me a bitch every time I see her. I think that's just her way - and it's skinny bitch lately so it's really more of a compliment. Her way of saying "I love you." Ha!

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I cried...yep, you're a bitch ;)
<3 Jen

Anonymous said...

it's hard to type with tears streaming out of my eyes. darn, now my fingers are all wet from wiping the tears. let them fall. i miss mary anne margaret (vollans) trealout. she helped me define myself as a person as we grew up together, only 13 months apart in age. that's close. we were close. you get that way when you share a bed until you are a teenager and you really don't mind it at all. (sharing the bed, that is)I am glad we were close and i am very glad that you, Lisa, are able to see more than the obvious. to really see. her camera was her way to let us see into her eyes and into her smile. and into her heart. Lisa, your words are powerful and kind. just like you.

Lisa Vollans said...

Follow-up...I called unnamed aunt. I never asked the middle name, but I think I remember what it is. The conversation was nice and it ended with me saying, "I love you." and her saying "I love you too babe." Awesome. I walked through the fear with a gentle step and realised fear is just a thought - not something other than what I imagined it to be.