It’s been almost one week since my Aunt Gladys passed away. She was almost 99. She had a very full and mostly healthy life and I was very fortunate to have spent a great amount of time with her.
Aunt Gladys had 4 children; each of her children had children and grandchildren. By the end of her life, her family had grown to a total 29 with one on the way. When I would visit my Aunt, Gladys, we talked about everything. She kept me caught up on her large family, which she was very proud of, and I loved to hear her talk about “the old days.” The ones when she grew up with my mom! She had so many stories about our family members, some I had met, some who had passed away before I was ever born. She came from a family of 4 (one sister and 2 brothers) and had lived through the Great Depression. I loved pushing her around outside in her wheelchair when the weather was nice and I will miss the conversations I’d have with her when we were alone. I miss the stories she would share and the memories of her youth that she had. I learned so many things from just listening. Some pretty funny things about my mom!
You see my friends, our parents and grandparents, aunt, and uncles are the keepers of our stories. They are the reason we are here. They are also the ones that know our entire story from the beginning. Something that has gotten lost in our generation is conversation, and especially conversation with our elders. The value in their knowledge and their story telling ability is not appreciated. I am happy to say that I have no regrets with not having enough time with my mother or my aunt while they were here. I cherish the memories I have and what they have taught me. I miss my mother almost daily and will miss my Aunt Gladys as much as she was the last link to my mom of her generation. I can dearly say that what they taught me and shared with me will never be forgotten.
Yesterday, I had the opportunity to photography Gladys’ Legacy, all 30 of them (it included one baby bump). As you can see from the photo, I know she was one proud mother, mother-in-law, grandmother, and great grandmother. It was very sweet and heart wrenching at the same time to know she was not there to see this photo being taken and to know that we were there for her. I know she was there in spirit, looking on. If you are blessed enough to have parents, grandparents, aunts or uncles who have long stories to share, take advantage of hearing how your story began, and how far back it goes, you won’t be sorry. It’s a gift. Gladys had 98 plus wonderful years and I will truly miss her!