Sunday, April 19, 2015

Love, Aunt Pam

When I first began blogging, one of the things I loved most about it was the connectivity with other women. As time went on and things like Google Reader made it so easy to read without actually accessing the page, I stopped commenting on other blogs and noticed the same decrease in my own comments. It made me so sad--I wondered if anyone was still reading or if I was just saying boring things and maybe I should turn off comments or just stop blogging?

But I always knew I could count on comments from my Aunt Pam. Invariably, a few hours after I would publish a post, I would receive an email with a comment from her. The comments always told me how adorable my children were and what fun memories I was making with them, and would often share a little anecdote about when she had done something similar as a child. And they always ended the same way: "Love, Aunt Pam."

Three years ago, my aunt was diagnosed with a very aggressive type of cancer. For those three years, as she underwent nearly constant chemo and radiation treatments, she continued to write to me and tell me how much she loved me. As she grew more ill, her comments became shorter and often would say simply, "Wonderful post. Love, Aunt Pam." Eventually we just began emailing. And some time after that, she became too weak to return my emails and went into hospice care.

Last week I was thinking about her. I put up a post with a few pictures and emailed her the link, but I never heard back from her.

Yesterday, my mom called to tell me that my aunt had died in her sleep. I was so grateful that she was released from intolerable pain as her body shut down, but I was heartbroken at the same time. My aunt has always lived far away from me, and I haven't seen her in person since Abigail was a baby, but she has been such an amazing example to me of how to truly reach out and love someone from afar. She has been a large presence in both my childhood and adulthood, and has quietly reached out to support me in some times when I felt completely alone and isolated from anyone else, and did so on such a constant, continual, and quiet basis that it always felt completely natural and utterly loving. I spent a long time this morning reading through all of her emails (and there were so many!).

I am so grateful for her loving support in my life, and while I am so, so, so grateful that she is free from pain and illness, I will miss her so much.


Handsfullmom said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. It's amazing how those little acts of service really add up over time.

I've also noticed the same decrease in blog comments over the last few years. I think it also has to do with other social media becoming more popular.

It was fun to hear from you about running during pregnancy. Thanks so much for the comment on my blog. I had to stop running two weeks ago because I just didn't have the circulation in my legs and arms that I needed -- it felt just like running after I'd lost a lot of blood last year. Plus I started having contractions and side stitches in my belly.

But I'm going somewhat crazy without the running. Walking seems so lame in comparison and I miss meeting my running partner. Plus there's just something about the psychological boost of knowing I'm fit enough to put in a good five miles and feel great at the end of it.

Meghan said...

Beautiful tribute, Rachael. Pam always asked me about all of you, and she was a fan of all your blogs and Facebook posts. We all feel her loss deeply.

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