Yesterday, my Aunt Trudy passed away after experiencing complications from her back surgery. I'm still shocked and I just can't believe that she didn't make it out of the hospital. It hurts me to know that my aunt's last few years were filled with terrible physical pain with her back and hip, plus the sadness and stress with caring for my uncle and grief over his death last April. It's been very rough. I have solace in knowing that she is no longer hurting. It's so, so hard to watch a loved one go through so much pain.
I had a small family, but a really close one. Most of my childhood vacations and holidays included my aunt and uncle. We went to Maui nearly every year. They were involved in all of the special events in my life. My aunt even traveled to New York and Northern California to get me settled in college dorm rooms. My first car was my aunt's grey Honda Prelude that I got for Christmas in 1994, when she got a brand new Lexus. It was a great Christmas!
My aunt was fun and social. She loved traveling. My aunt was my adventure buddy. When I was thirteen, we went on a Disney Cruise (Big Red Boat) and my mom wasn't interested in getting off in the ports. My aunt went all around the Caribbean with me and memorably haggled like a champ to have my hair french braided, bring the price down from twenty to five dollars! In recent years, my aunt and I took several trips to Las Vegas, including one to celebrate her 60th birthday. We've gone to countless plays, concerts and movies over the years. My aunt has been one of my best friends.
When she was younger, my aunt used to breed and show Norwegian Elkhounds. She even had a champion dog that she showed at Madison Square Garden in the Westminster Dog Show.
My aunt was on three game shows in the 1960's. She won a couch on The Price is Right and got to spin the big wheel! Doesn't everyone dream of spinning that wheel?
She loved to golf and was really pretty good at it! Getting back to golf was one of her main motivations in having this back surgery. She missed the game and her friends in her women's golf club at Green River.
My aunt was funny and vivacious. She could easily joke about herself and was the life of every party that she attended. I wish that I had her social skills!
I knew it before, but this year I have really realized the quality of my aunt and uncle's friends. They have amazing friends, who are really family. Friends who have dropped everything to help and be there. It has made me really reflect on the quality of my own friends and I know that I'm also a very lucky person. This is something that I won't take for granted and I have a new resolve to be an even better friend to those in my life.
Here are some of my favorite pictures of my aunt.
My aunt was beautiful, caring and just a wonderful person. I loved her so much.
I don't know if I believe in the concept of heaven, but I really hope that she is someplace nice with my uncle and my mom.