So fellow travelers, yesterday brought a gathering of cousins and another farewell. My husband’s aunt passed from this life peacefully, a week ago today.
Aunt Mary was the oldest and, at 102, also the last surviving of her seven siblings. She always insisted she would live to be 100 and like anything she set her mind to she succeeded beyond expectations.
(Photo: celebrating Mary’s 100th birthday November 2018)
She had no children of her own, so her nieces and nephews became her support system as she aged. Fiercely independent, she held onto her life at home as long as possible and when she moved to into long term care, my husband and his cousins continued to provide additional support and visit when possible. Last spring, Covid19 protocols changed “when possible” to “not possible.” While our deepest regret is not seeing Mary before she died, it is reassuring to know she received the best of care right through to her last days. She died peacefully of natural causes.
Yesterday morning, I rose early to feed and walk our dog before we headed into the city for her memorial. Sunrise painted the winter sky with brilliant colors of pink and rose. I thought about a plant we brought home from her house ten years ago. The day after we received the news of Mary’s death, it bloomed for the first time in several years. From those two moments, came this haiku in her honor.
Winter sunrise glows
Sacred flower gently blooms
One soul rises free
(photo: Mary’s Christmas cactus (schlumbergera truncata) Monday Jan 4th)
I am grateful my husband and I were able to gather safely with ten of his fourteen living cousins, many of whom we have not seen in several years. The Russian orthodox service was beautiful and, even through his mask, the young priest singing the liturgy invoked a beautiful, compassionate angelic presence. I have no doubt Aunt Mary’s soul carries all our love and respect as she continues her journey home.
Mary Lyboult (neé Dominica “Minne” Rahalski) November 23, 1918- January 3, 2021
Walk gently on the path my friends and let Love Light the way