Today is my Aunt’s birthday.
I was two when she passed, my memories are limited, trapped in a haze of childhood, back when days bled together and time held less weight. So if asked to recall the sound of her laugh or the way she held herself I would come up blank.
But my whole life she has lived on in the memories of my relatives, I’ve heard stories upon stories. I know she was funny, beautiful and magnetic. I know she was a tomboy growing up, I know she was a fool for love. I know she was brave.
My mom always told me we had a connection, that we immediately clicked. I grew up trying on her old clothes and jewelry, admiring her smile in photographs or old home movies.
I felt robbed for a lot of my life, robbed of the fact that this force to be reckoned with had been taken before I could truly know her. That she wasn’t there to talk about boys or mean girls at school or my hopes and dreams.That I didn’t have my own stories.
When I was 19, about to head off to Europe alone my mom and I found a journal tucked away in a box. It was only filled a fraction, but the handwriting was small and cramped, an excited scrawl across the pages, minimal spaces between words. A journal my Aunt had left for me, filled with tales of her youth, and sage advice she had collected throughout her life. Words that I carry with me every day:
“The flesh is weak (which you’ll understand in time) but listen to your head and your gut instinct.”
“I can tell you this, don’t let anyone ever tell you how long it should take to get over something or someone. You must take the time to mourn a loss of any kind. It’s healthy Rachelle.”
“Education is important but don’t forget to travel as well for I feel that’s another good teacher.”
I’ve said this before, but I feel her presence in everything that I do. She’s a guidepost, a feeling in my bones. She helps me navigate the choppy waters of life, and I’m eternally grateful to her.
I’ve been blessed in my life with amazing women, a mother who is incomparable in her kindness and consideration, beautiful and vibrant with a laugh that fills rooms. Friends who are independent and strong and funny, with voices that speak loud and proud. Women who have introduced me to music and movies and a side of myself that is strong.
Today I think of everything my Aunt has given me.
“Right now I’m trying to take you on a journey of my life. I hope you enjoy the ride and hang onto your hat cause the tops down.”
Happy Birthday Aunty Kit ❤
until next time,