The first few days brings sadness as it marks my beloved Aunt Ercie's anniversary this Saturday. Three years ago she was killed in a horrific level crossing train crash in Australia that took eleven lives and injured twenty three others.
Precious Aunt Ercie and me six months before she died.
Just when I thought our family had suffered all the tragedies they could, we were hit with another one, so shocking that I thought I would be prepared for the next death that I would be confronted with, that I would have the tools to cope. But I've learned death and grief are always the same, no matter how many times you face them, it is always painful and manages to shut down your world.
In the days after the crash when we didn't know if Aunt Ercie survived or not, it was another intense trip of shock, disbelief and hope, where I survived on dry toast and family phone calls, updating me with any news and then finally, confirming our worst fears....that precious Aunt Ercie wasn't amongst the survivors.
And I haven't written about Aunt Ercie before as its difficult and unbelievable that our family should suffer so many losses, but I've learned there are no rules in who or when your next beloved will depart this life. I think knowing that NOW, makes me appreciate every single day so much more.
After Mom died, Aunt Ercie filled a gaping hole in my life. She became like another mother to me, calling me from Australia every two weeks without fail and knowing, somehow, all my important hard dates on which she would call and fill my blue cup with sunshine, listening to my sobs over the phone and offering her love as best only she could. I was amazed that my seventy-nine year old Aunt would take the time and be so so kind. I miss her calls so much now.
I was lucky to have spoken to Aunt Ercie two days before she died, she was excited about the train trip to see her daughter Heather and I still wonder about fate and whether God, or whoever really does have a plan for us all. You see Aunt Ercie only ever travelled First Class, but this fateful day she chose not to.....the First Class carriage passengers all survived! And the train didn't leave on time, it waited for a ticketed passenger that never showed up, that MAYBE, would've made a difference to the timeline and how the accident happened. I will always wonder!
But I take comfort in knowing I always thanked Aunt Ercie for her calls and told her how much she meant to me, another lesson I've learned through loss. And, because of her kindness I have reconnected with her daughters, my cousins, who have become like sisters to me......grief has brought us together. So this week, its payback time for all the special calls Aunt Ercie made to me. I'll contact her children and offer my support and we'll reminisce about their generous Mom whom I miss too. I still have a message on our answering machine from her a few days before she died, which I'll listen to as it soothes my soul and now, makes me smile.
And then there's the last day of June, which will be Savannah's eleventh birthday. A day she won't be able to celebrate with us ever again. I wonder what it is that eleven year old girls like these days and I imagine what it would be like to have her friends running around our home, making a mess and giggling. Where brightly wrapped presents should be stacked up on our table waiting for her to rip open.....I will always wonder!
Savannah's 4th birthday, also her last.
So I think I'll just skip this month of June, pretend it doesn't exist.........or.......confront my sadness head on and tackle it and turn it into something positive......I guess we'll see! x
Today's post is in honor of my beautiful Aunty Ercie and her four children - Kaye, Heather, Lynne and Allen...I love you all x