My brother offered a toast at my aunt’s celebration of life this week that struck me as perfect; “She was quirky, but she loved us”. With that, eight or ten of us each raised a small glass of Irish whiskey and extended a salud.
Rosemary Holland, my aunt, left us a few weeks ago and the last few months have been a whirlwind. Rosemary (or Roe to those who knew her) was having massive back problems that left her bed ridden and elected to have surgery. The doctor explained the risks and the probable negative outcomes and without taking a breath she decided to have it. It was the effects of the surgery that would eventually take her life.
Her decision to move forward with the surgery without giving stock to the negatives was about as emblematic of her life as you can get. Roe lived her life unapologetically and without remorse.
Strangely, it was part of her charm. Part of it, but not all of it. She was also generous, funny, had a contagious laugh and as mentioned earlier, she was quirky.
It’s her quirkiness that really stands out. She lived with a certain amount of techno fear that a lot of people her age has but he means of combating it were what makes it strange.
For example, she had a collection of Kindle devices. As she lost mobility and couldn’t get to her computer as easily, she turned to a Kindle to satisfy her online needs. The problem being, she didn’t know how to close the windows she would open. Her Kindle would bog down with the open with the thousands of open windows and she would get frustrated. We showed her and showed her how to close them, but it became easier just to use one of those windows to open Amazon and order another Kindle. Her Kindles were, for lack of a better description, disposable.
I suppose that was part of her. What’s the easiest answer as opposed to the best one?
I remember having a dinner purchased on QVC and mailed to her house. I picked out (and picked up) my Christmas presents for years. I watched for years as she purchased the first car she looked at or even the first condo she walked through.
Maybe it was the easiest way, sure, but she also wasn’t really caught up in “stuff”. Perfect was almost never the enemy of the good for her. She liked what she liked and that was enough.
She liked the color aqua, perhaps too much. She had a purple air fryer, basically new, but then discovered an aqua one. Obviously, you replace your brand-new air fryer with the aqua one, when you like what you like.
She liked what she liked and she loved who she loved. I was fortunate to be one of those people.
I am fairly critical of myself and some of my decisions, but she was deliberately oblivious to them. She wanted nothing more than those she loved to be happy. Perhaps she had funny ways of showing it, probably because of the pedestal she put us on, but she just wanted joy for us.
As she got older a lot of the responsibility of caring for her fell to my mother, my wife, and myself. It was something this unapologetic lady felt apologetic about. It never bothered me. I always felt like it was a way to give back to someone who gave so much.
The lesson here girls? Beyond the missing someone truly important to us? Maybe don’t get caught up in the stuff. To be honest, it’s a lesson to learn but she wasn’t always the best example.
Roe once went to a psychic and she told Roe that in past lives she tried to “buy” love instead of giving from herself. She definitely needs to work on that her next time around as well. She loved each of you so much that sending you gifts in the mail made her happy. Making sure the Christmas tree was bulging underneath made her happy. But it made her happy because you were so happy.
Your joy was her goal.
It’s a good way to live.
The lesson here, is just that. Don’t get caught up in the stuff. Do you think at the end, there was anything beyond yourselves that we could bring to the hospital that would have lifted her spirits? There was no toy, no snack, no “thing” that made her happier than seeing you.
That’s the thing about life, you get the chance to see what is really important when its too late to appreciate it as long as you’d like.