I lost my aunt Olivia last friday, she was a 79 year-old tiny woman, full of kindness and a permanent easy-going attitude. She died right by her son, who had spent the night with her at the hospital.
She went out in peace. She lived a good life, sure there was a period in which she had to put up with a lot over thirty years ago, but it worked out for the best that she stuck it out because I’d say that the last 20 years were blissful years for her. She was always in a good mood, at least when she was around other people. She only had good things to say about others, and people only had good things about her. She was this old-fashioned fragile rose and my uncle treated her like a queen.
Needless to say, it was very hard to see my 88 year-old uncle emotionally destroyed, afraid to be alone and uncertain of what his life will be without his faithful companion. This is my rendition for the both of them.
My uncle is the oldest of five children and my dad was the fourth, so there is a 15 year-difference between them. My uncle and aunt Oly raised my dad since my dad was a teenager, which is why aunt Oly was like a mother to my dad.
Last time my wife and I went to visit them at home, aunt Oly and my wife talked and talked while my uncle and I looked at the city lights from his balcony as he gave me relationship advice. His advice didn’t come in the form of cautionary tales, it was about how to make the relationship last with quality. It’s not about just sticking with someone for a long time just for the sake of lasting, certainly not if you’re misserable, that isn’t a fulfilling life, that’s a prison.
One of the many things my uncle said to me as we looked out the balcony that night, stayed with me throughout this past weekend, especially as we put aunt Oly under ground, it was about gratitude toward one’s spouse or life partner. Gratitude went back and forward between them all the time. She felt grateful that my uncle took care of her all her life, grateful that he made something of himself and took take care of her and the kids in every way, including my dad. My uncle treated her like a queen, and she felt that every day for decades.
She was grateful that her kids all grew up to be good people, who also learned to take care of aunt Oly. She was grateful for her man, for her family, her kids, grandkids, and even a newborn greatdaughter. My uncle is also very grateful for aunt Oly, for giving him great children and for raising them right, for giving him love for 6 decades, for being a great companion, for being there for him no matter what, for being the fuel to his fire, and much more.
My uncle told me that being grateful for the other person, keeps the relationship alive. Being grateful has worked for me since that day. I’ve told my wife on several occasions how much I appreciate her for all she does for me and the kids (our two cats).
I believe gratefulness makes you do things for others that would otherwise be a burden, an inconvenience, even feel like being taken advantage of. It’s all about doing the things you’d do for the other person if you had just started dating them.
If I learned one thing about aunt Oly, it was to be grateful for (and faithful to) my wife. Hopefully I’ll give her a good life, like the one my aunt Oly had.
1936 – 2016