Some lives are harder than others. My Aunt had one of those.
Born late in life to her parents, she was always loved, but the family had moved on from small children. Some in the small town in which they lived thought she was actually the illegitimate daughter of her older sister, age 18, who would eventually become my mother. Of course, she wasn't, but the stigma would follow her like a cloud through life. A dark cloud followed her everywhere.
She was caught in a fire that destroyed the family restaurant, while still in her crib. Caught in the back, she was left to perish until her older brother broke free from those holding the family back and raced in to save his baby sister. He would be known as the family hero, especially by her.
They rushed her, wrapped in sheets, from the small town of Gerlach, 100 miles to the nearest town which was Reno, Nevada. She was badly burned, thought not to make it. She did. She was always bucking expectations.
Scarred for life, she had a tough one. The same uncle once said that she never mentally matured beyond age 18. He was right. She never did.
She was desperate for love. Desperate for someone to care enough for her to give her what everyone around her had. But only used and abused, it never happened. She never quit looking - in all the wrong places.
A son, without the father. Raised with the help of her mother. A prison term of 18 months for a mistake made while trying to ingratiate herself with the wrong people. No one was ever hurt, or a victim of any crime. She never got over it. Never recovered from it. Was forever terrified of authority. Her one and only brush with the law. Cementing the fact that the poor go to prison and the rich hire lawyers that evade even the most heinous crimes.
The last ten years were in bed, cared for by her son and his family. Felled by congestive heart failure and diabetes, one leg amputated, the other in jeopardy. Beautiful grandchildren that she adored, so proud of their accomplishments.
After my visit earlier in the month, she evidently didn't make it home again. I have no idea why she wasn't taken home that day - she was waiting to go. But instead she was sent to a convalescent home. It must have been such a blow. All she had with her were some pictures of her dogs - long gone, but not forgotten.
Her heart stopped five times last night. They revived her every time.
Until this morning.
Now she can go home, walk into the arms of those that love her, free from pain.
Rest in peace, Auntie. Give my Mama a kiss, okay?