These things; your memories of who she is and was and what she’s done — that is what a life is. And it sounds like she has made a beautiful one for herself, and her family.
I have an aunt like that — well, I have a few. But I have one who also is not doing so well. She has been reduced by Multiple Sclerosis to just a shell of who she was, physically. Her mind is starting to slip away now, too. My children (and all of the children of their generation in my family, which has to number in the 30s or 40s by now), each have what we call an “Aunt Janice” blanket. She makes (or made) them whenever one of her kids or nieces/nephews were expecting. They are in actuality quilts. And they are completely hand sewn. The stitches are perfection. The quilts are the sort that just get softer with every wash. She also made the flakiest pie crusts on the planet, the best bread. She was a literature professor, and could discuss ANYTHING for hours. She took an honest interest in any child who sat down to speak with her (and she still does what she can) and would speak at length with them whether they were 3 or 30. And she would listen. None of that faking interest for her.
They broke the mold when they made her, and every time I have to hug her goodbye again (I live far from her) I assume it will be the last, and it breaks my heart.
But what a life she’s made.
Thank you for bringing her to the forefront tonight. ❤