My Aunt Janet is dying. There, I said it. A couple of days left on this Earth from what I have been told. I type in honor of her....
Aunt Janet got me into blogging. I used to blog daily. About life. About the bitches at work. About friends. About my kids. About the love of my life. No judgement. I didn't write for anyone but me. Grammar didn't count nor did spelling. If you are reading this - get over it. It's been a long time, but I am back.
I write today to make my Aunt Janet maybe smile and maybe she can know what a difference she made in my life. To those who might not know me - my mom was a saint. Yes, an absolute Saint. She was a petite, graceful, soft spoken, God-fearing woman who never swore, gossiped or said an unkind word about anyone. Sweetest woman ever and she devoted her life to God and her family.
Why do I bring up my mom when this is about my Aunt Janet? Unfortunately, I am not much like my mom. I never understood how such a beautiful woman could end up with such a loud mouthed, giant, speak her mind woman like myself. I try to emulate her but....
My Aunt Janet helped me understand. You see - I am my Aunt Janet. Now - she is still way more Southern Belle than I - but I am definitely more her offspring than my mom's!
Let the rambling now begin...
My Aunt Janet taught me so much. More than anything, she taught me that yes, maybe my mom was the perfect one but I have just as much to contribute to this world. And I am thankful.
My Aunt Janet made a room come alive. She was a teacher by trade, fabulous wife and mom. She didn't teach for very long but she was always a volunteer. I think that is why I always volunteer for everything - sometimes, too much!
When I was in school, she volunteered at Louisville's children's museum. I went with her several times. So much fun! I remember an event where we dressed up and went to some big fundraising gala. I felt grown up and important and felt like I was hobnobbing with the best. It was great. They had wine and fancy clothes and I want to say some music. I might be wrong on that. It had something to do with a gallery showing about dresses from a decade? I don't know - I might have that totally wrong. The point - it was awesome. One of my favorite memories ever.
When I was engaged to Mel, Aunt Janet and my cousin Ben (who passed a few years ago from the family cancer curse) decided I needed to be educated in the ways of money. My mom and dad were the best parents ever but they weren't loaded to put in plainly. We were a meat and potatoes kind of family - not a shrimp with cocktails crowd. Please don't misunderstand - my parents gave me everything I ever needed and were the very best role models for love and good parenting that I could ever imagine. But they moved in a different circle than my Louisville family. So, I dropped out of college and moved in with Aunt Janet. I became sort of a social experiment. I read, I learned to entertain, learned how to manage money and how to be more social with those with affluence and cook meals that were more than mundane. More than anything, how to fool people into believing that I was just as swanky do as they were!
Every time I make chocolate pie, I think of her... I still can't make crust.
Then she moved. All the way to California. It was hard. I liked having her around. It was always an entertaining time when I could be around her. Always a story - always a laugh.
I kept track of her through her blog. She blogged daily although lately, it has been less and less. I loved reading her rants and raves and stories. It made me feel like I was still around her. What a gift she has given all of us. I will refer to those blogs whenever I miss her...
She continued volunteering. I remember that she worked with a homeless group and would literally find mattresses. She volunteered at an elementary school regularly. My favorite thing that she was known for was marrying folks. She preformed the first gay marriage in her county - and made the news. My favorite stories were her adventures from the courthouse...
I won't even mention the weight. We both struggle. And it sucks.
Aunt Janet married the most wonderful man - and I searched for a man that would treat me just as wonderful as Uncle Marty treated her. My Chris is part Uncle Marty, part PaPaw, part Dad. And I am the luckiest person ever.
So - that is my very brief introduction to my aunt.
How does one even begin to describe how much a person has influenced a life? She has been my guide to laughter, strength, forward thinking, acceptance. I am not my mom. She was just a different person than me. I try to be my Aunt Janet every day. Strong, free thinking, loving, volunteering, speaks her mind and loves life. Maybe a curse word and a glass of wine or a bit of Bourbon. A true Southern Belle.
So until we meet again, I love you. Please watch over me. We will talk often. I tend to talk to Mom on a daily basis. She will probably be glad to see you. I am way more than she can probably handle and she will appreciate the help.
I love you so much....