On the 29th July, 1996, it was with great sadness that we learnt of Aunt Heather’s passing … here we are, 22 years later, and our all our happy memories remain wrapped with love. My last time with her was when I drove her to the airport so she could go to Melbourne to visit her much loved family. It was a strange time, different to all the other times I’d done the same.
Firstly, she asked that my husband meet us in a coffee shop for morning tea… before we left. I said she could stay with us the night before, so that would give us plenty of time… she’d stayed with us more and more over the last year. She was not just my Aunt, but a dear friend, with both of us, as she had been with my mother. However, she insisted that we went out for morning tea, her treat. All went well, lots of chat, but not so much laughter as there usually was.
When we got to the airport, she was insistent that I didn’t stay with her as I normally would, rather just drop and go. It had never bothered her before, but she was getting quite upset, so I agreed. I was worried about her as she’d not long come out of hospital after an operation, though she didn’t seem to be ill, just very quiet.
I wasn’t to know that that would be the last time I saw her… a little while after she passed, I wrote the following…
FAREWELL, AUNT HEATHER
How do I write a farewell to our much loved friend and Aunt
Do I talk about the many years of companionship we’ve shared
or each other’s troubles we’ve tried to share and lighten..
As I recall the warmth and hospitality, always given without a second thought..
or the understanding phone calls “just to see if you’re ok”
perhaps the shared recipes, Aunt’s famous apple pies..
the helping hand with sick children
or just the offer of a few hours to take a break.
All of these things and many more..
and yet, none of us were prepared to say goodbye.
Rest in peace, dear Aunt and thank you for sharing our lives.
©Crissouli August 1996
Image: Heather, with her father, Tom