Grieving with Cookies.


My Aunt Pat (left) and my Uncle Bill (right).

Shoving cookies, one after the other, into my gaping maw hasn’t helped.

Watching endless hours of television and films hasn’t helped.

The methods I’ve chosen to grieve just aren’t working.

You see, I’m a private person, (no one reads this thing) and my Aunt died a few days ago. She was the oldest of 4 sisters, my mother being the youngest.

I haven’t told anyone but my Dad and my business partner because I just don’t feel like sharing her life or my grief on Facebook or Twitter. She was more than a solicitous quickly drawn paragraph for responses. And she was so much more than an ‘I’m sorry for your loss.’ to me. That’s just my style, no offense to those that reach out, which is a normal thing to do.

She started out as the Aunt I knew relatively nothing about. We lived in a different state when I was growing up, so my visits were relegated to holidays.

When I was 33, I had made a career change, to spend focused time on my screenwriting by moving AWAY from Los Angeles. It was a good decision at the time and my Aunt invited me to stay with her until I felt settled in Dallas. She brought me into her family like I was one of her kids, even though we were blood strangers.

It was awkward at first because we really didn’t know each other but after a month or two, I realized, from an interests point of view, I was looking at a damn mirror of myself. This woman loved science fiction and indulged me in multiple what-if conversations and movies nights and as I began working on some of my first screenplays in her house. Her addiction to the Law and Order franchise of shows leaked into my interest pile and I started watching them with her. Every time I walked into the room, that show, whether it was SVU or Criminal Intent or L & O, was on the television.

It started with me catching a few minutes of the show as I headed for the kitchen, which then turned into a scene, then more, then an entire episode…and pretty soon we were watching all the shows, all the time. That time with her and those shows inspired my first feature screenplay. And because writing for me was and is a deep and personal activity, she became a woven part of that treasured memory.

Not many people reach my core, but she was one of them.

And I don’t know how to move forward.

With the pandemic, time is elongated because the funeral homes are over-burdened. Thinking about the morbid details of her waiting to be sent to the great beyond give me anxiety.

There’s no one to talk to about this, and to those that I have, it’s been a miniscule admission of detail.

I can’t work, I can’t concentrate, the cries come in spurts because my love for her was buried deep and strongly attached to the center. I visualize letting her go like digging for a silver chain that’s been growing under a giant redwood for a century.

I am so very grateful I could see her a day or so before she left this planet. With her kids, and another nephew, we had all come together to coordinate the delivery of an electric chair that would help her stand up and lay down because she needed to be able to sleep in it. I texted her the next day and she told me how well she had slept that night. If you knew her, you’d know why that was key and how hard sleep was to come by.

On that day, we talked about Christmas, which had come late because of the pandemic and her recent hospital visit. She tried a few times to order my Christmas present and if you knew her, you’d know how difficult that could be. I said to not worry about it and concentrate on feeling better. It wasn’t important, it was just a material thing. I wanted her comfortable and safe.

Apparently the stars aligned for her and she did get that order in because my cousin delivered that material thing and that’s the only time I’ve lost myself in tears in public thus far. I can’t even part with the box it came in. I knew the struggle involved to coordinate ordering the item and to see it sitting there on my counter said she loved me and that’s all I really needed anyway.

I will miss her deeply.

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