By Leo Babauta
I just got word yesterday that my Auntie Kerry died suddenly and unexpectedly. She wasn’t old by any means — certainly younger than my mom and young enough to expect many more years with her grandkids ahead of her — and her death has been a shock and a huge blow to my family.
It’s especially difficult to comprehend, because after not seeing her for years, I was able to spend some time with her recently when she came to Guam this summer for six weeks. She just left a few days ago, and almost as soon as she got home to California, she died.
I won’t go into the details of her death, but I will say that I’ll miss her, tremendously. She was a very good person at heart, and even if she had her share of human frailties (who among us doesn’t?), she was kind, and fun, and full of life, and loving, and talkative, and a wonderful person to count among your family.
She leaves behind her husband Bobby, her beautiful daughter Heidi, two tall, strong sons in Chris and Danny, and two gorgeous granddaughters. My heart goes out to them during this time of grieving and loss. The rest of my mom’s family, which includes my two grandparents, eight siblings (minus Kerry), and many grandchildren and greatgrandchildren and cousins and such, is taking this loss very hard.
What can you say to people you love who are going through such a hard time? Not much, except to be there for them, and to show your love for them. To my family: I love you immensely and I’m sorry for your pain.
My Auntie Kerry was a great figure throughout my childhood and adolescence — I’ll always remember her for her energy, for being so fun, for being someone I could always talk to, for being such a good person. Really … I’ve rarely known someone as good at heart as her, and I’ll miss the love she gave me and the rest of the family.
She wasn’t well for the past year or so, and she was going through a very tough time. I’ll never know what she was going through, but I’m sorry she had to suffer and I’m glad her suffering is now at an end.
The little consolation I can find is that, at the end of her life, I was able to spend time with her again. She came to my wedding, and danced with me, and told me how proud she is of me. Before she left Guam, she told me that she was so happy for how I turned out as an adult, and that touched me. She was able to meet my kids, and get to know them all a little, and I’m happy for that.
Her death reminded me that you never know how much time you have with someone you love … and that you should cherish that time, and make the most of it, and always, always show your love for that person, as much as possible.
I’ll miss you, Auntie Kerry.