I lost an aunt this week. I looked everywhere, and finally found her again, in the last place I looked - my heart.
She was the aunt who was always around when I was growing up. She was an integral part of the development of our lives, so much so that my parents named my youngest sister in her honor. My aunt did crafts with us, and hosted midnight feasts and enormous family gatherings. She provided a quiet haven when I was studying for exams, and took care of my grandparents for many, many years. She could be outspoken and stern, and sometimes terrifying, but she had the softest heart and the biggest hugs (one of my brothers recalls her once breaking his glasses during one of her loving hugs). Her sense of humor and love of laughter always cracked through her outwardly tough exterior.
I had the uncanny experience of dreaming about her the day she died in South Africa. In my dream, she was telling me in no uncertain terms, that I ought to be wearing a bra! It was perfect!
I have so many childhood memories that involve her, and these have carved a special place in my heart that is reserved for her.
Rest in Peace, Aunty Maryann.