Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Last Holiday

We lost another member of our family today.

My father’s sister, Margaret, died this evening. She had fallen down in her apartment earlier in the day, hit her head, and went into cardiac arrest.

She was taken to the hospital, but she never regained consciousness. She was 88 years old.

The last time I saw Margaret was on Easter Sunday when we went to dinner with her at a restaurant in Sheepshead Bay.

It seems fitting that this last meeting was on a holiday since that’s when I usually saw Margaret and many of my other family members—Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, all the big ones.

I remember calling her the morning my father died to tell her the bad news and she started to cry. My father, too, had fallen and hit his head. That was five years ago and now she’s gone.

It just doesn’t seem right. There’s nothing we can do but stand by and watch our parents’ generation die off one by one. I'm thinking of all those great holiday meals, all those good times, and how so many of those people are gone now.

Margaret was pretty much confined to a wheelchair toward the end of her life and her hands had become terribly twisted by arthritis.

She was active, though, and my sister tells me that just yesterday she went out with some of her friends and had a great time. That’s not bad for the last day of your life.

When my parents were married in 1950, they had their photographer make a set of 3-D glass slides of the wedding pictures.

I used to love looking through the viewfinder at those pictures—the colors were so vibrant and the people are just bursting with life. It feels like you can almost touch them.

There’s one image of my father and Margaret dancing together. They’re both so young and happy. Margaret’s got a big smile on her face and holding…a cigarette?

My Uncle Joe and his wife visited us from L.A. a few years back and one night we went over to Margaret’s place to have dinner.

I thought about bringing those slides so we could all view them again and I could hear some stories about the day my parents got married. But I forgot to bring them.

I told myself that I’d make sure to bring them with me the next time we all got together, but there’ll be no next time now. And who knows what stories I missed.

I like that image of the young Margaret--young, happy, and healthy. I want to freeze-frame my memory and keep that picture of her in my mind for all time.

Rest in peace, Margaret. And say hello to Dad.

4 comments:

Ron said...

Rob, what a beautiful tribute to your aunt Margaret - it brought tears to my eyes. Just from reading this post, I got such clear feeling of her beautiful soul.

I am so sorry to hear about her passing.

"It just doesn’t seem right. There’s nothing we can do but stand by and watch our parents’ generation die off one by one'

Yes, I know exactly what you mean and how you feel because you and I are about the same age, therefore the same thing has been happening to me. My parents' generation is leaving this earth one by and one and it's so hard to watch.

"I like that image of the young Margaret--young, happy, and healthy. I want to freeze-frame my memory and keep that picture of her in my mind for all time."

Please know that I am sharing heart-felt condolences with you at this time, buddy.

Rest in peace, Margaret.

Rob K said...

Thanks so much, Ron. I really appreciate your support at this time. I knew you would understand since we're in the same age bracket. Take care, buddy, and as always, thanks so much!

Jay said...

Once again, I know exactly what you mean, Ron. I've lost so many family members in the last few years, it really doesn't seem right. I'm sending you my heartfelt condolences and a virtual hug.

You've done one good thing though, in writing this post: I will make a big effort to finish scanning the photo albums from my childhood, which I started doing over a year ago, and then I will go down to see my lovely Aunt Babs, who is in her 80s and very frail, and show them all to her. She (of course) is in so many of the pictures!

Rob K said...

Oh, that's great, Jay. Scan those photo albums and give Aunt Babs a hug for me!