Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Last night, I attended a wake for my Great Aunt Helen, who passed away at the ripe age of ninety-five. She was one of my grandfather's SEVEN sisters. (That's right...I said SEVEN. One boy, seven girls. The man had the patience of a saint.) Aunt Helen was a sharp little firecracker right up til the end and she was a wonderful, hilarious, strong and incredibly loving woman. In the 1990's, My aunt lost two of her four children within a few years of each other- one in a tragic car accident and the other to cancer. Not long after, her husband, my Uncle Jerry, suffered a stroke. She became his nurse and cared for him 'til he passed away. The amazing thing about my Aunt Helen was that despite the amount of loss she endured in such a short period of time, she was still one of the funniest and most positive people I knew. She made everyone feel special and loved, she stayed "with it" and kept up with the times, even mastering Wii Bowling recently. She often greeted us with, "Come give your beautiful aunt a kiss!" Her laughter was contagious and her heart stayed young. She was someone soooo worth knowing and completely unforgettable. I, along with our whole family and her many, many friends, will miss her very much.
Following the wake, as I channel-surfed in my parents' basement, I happened upon a documentary on PBS called Young@Heart, about a chorus of senior citizens in Massachusetts singing modern rock and R & B songs- like "Schizophrenia" by Sonic Youth and "I Feel Good" by James Brown. It was quite moving and incredibly endearing. I was moved most by their performance at a prison of Bob Dylan's "Forever Young". I sat there with tears streaming down my face and couldn't help but think of my Aunt Helen. Isn't it strange how things line up like that? She was a perfect embodiment of someone staying "forever young" right up until the end.
Check it out for yourself- "Forever Young" performed by Young@Heart
Oh, and if you have heart, I encourage you to watch this film.