Although it's five whole years ago, I still miss my aunt very much. I am sure this feeling will never go away. I still miss the conversations we had, the walks in nature, the way she really listened to me, without judging.
She simply was always there. Although she forget herself sometimes.
I still cry every now and then. I still want to call her.
She simply was a very important person in my life. Nobody can take her place.
When she passed away, I wasn't there for her cremation service. When my niece asked me if I wanted to order the DVD and CD of the service, I wasn't sure about it.
I did order them, thinking that in that way, I could at least watch or listen to the service if I wanted to. Today, I am glad I did, because today I am listening to the CD for the first time. I did watch the DVD right after I got it, and I am sure it helped me with my grief.
It's very special to listen to the CD today, because I know that she picked out all the songs herself and she even wrote two pieces in her own words to the people that were special in her life.
When people came in, a beautiful nature-like song was playing, I am not sure what it's called.
After that song someone opened the service and after that she read aloud the words my aunt wrote to us.
I will quote parts of what she said, because I think those parts can help others too:
It all went fast. Too fast? Not in my opinion.
I have lived life in my own way. I have made choices that may have been right or wrong. If I hurt someone on the way, I want to say sorry for that. I've never intentionally hurt someone.
I have lived my life, according to my own morals.
What I have learned from my mom and dad is that people should take care of each other. I still strongly believe in this value.
Taking care of each other, shouldn't be without borders. You have to take care of yourself first.
Nothing can ever be taken for granted.
Look around you, make sure you know what's going on around you.
Have respect for others, and appreciate people the way they are.
Go out, and walk in nature, together.
Make sure you know what the other enjoys.
If you need help, don't hesitate, and ask help from the Angels of Light. They have always helped me. Don't forget to thank them for their help though.
My believes are, that my soul will keep going, and that you can always ask me for help. I will be there, if possible.
Then, she chose this song:
I hadn't heard her words in years. I wrote what I wrote before her quotes, without listening to what she said. I just realized that a lot of the values I have in life, come from my aunt. That's probably because she was my big example. Unfortunately, I didn't have a good example in my parents. They have mostly showed me how I should not live my life. Which is valuable too.
While I wasn't at the service, I did write a letter to my aunt. After the letter my aunt wrote to us, they read the letter that I wrote to her. Just like in the old days, when I used to write letters to her and she would respond to them. She only lived about an hour away from us, but as a kid that felt like the other side of the world. I get why she lived further away. It's probably for the same reasons that I live on the other side of the ocean as we speak. That was kind of a selfish choice that me and my husband made, and it has affected the people that used to surround us in the Netherlands.
My sister recently passed away and it's still very hard for me to not blame myself (partly) for this. I wasn't there enough. I am not sure if I could have saved her, but I do know that I could have been more there for her.
My aunt basically made the same decision: she moved away from her family, to be able to breath. The difference was though, that she only had to drive an hour. I can take the plane, but it's just not the same. The death of my sister, has made me question all the choices I've made in life. I am not sure if I have made the 'right' ones all the time, but I've also never wanted to hurt anyone.
Hearing my own words, written to my aunt again, is very emotional. It also reminds me of the person I want to be. It reminds me of what's important in life:
- Be yourself and enjoy others the way they are.
- Be kind to others, you never know what they are going through.
- Be a good listener.
- Be a mirror to others, not a judge.
- Every person has his own truth, respect that.
- Help others, while not forgetting yourself.
Then a friend of my aunt spoke. She used to work with my aunt, helping the terminally ill in their last days. My aunt once gave her a poem, that she found beautiful. My aunts friend recited this poem (I tried to translate in English):
Dying is to be aware that life is a gift, not made by ourselves and not invented by ourselves.
The way new life amazes us, makes us look in a different way and can move us,
is also the way that dying can make us people who standby and watch,
sometimes with tears in our eyes or still hiding in our souls
can make us feel wounded when someone passes.
If the last breath of this person was visible and audible,
and the pulse tells us, that the heart stopped beating,
there is an inner trust for a hand that will reach out to us,
and a door that will open up,
a new beginning arrives, still unimaginable
(Author unknown by me)
Then my aunt chose this beautiful song:
Then my uncle said a few words.
My aunt picked out this next song. I think she chose this song, because her marriage changed so much to what it used to be, because my uncle got mentally ill. I think this song voiced what she couldn't tell to us herself. And what so many didn't get, about dealing with a mentally ill person, and which they still don't get. It really upset me, because I did get it and I knew she was struggling so much during her life because of what happened. Especially with people close to her not getting what she went through, and even blaming her for what happened to him. Their love ended as a tragedy, because he changed so much, it wasn't anybody's fault. It just happened.
Then my niece spoke. She helped her the most in her last few months. She didn't get the 'credit' that she deserved, because so many people didn't see clearly what my aunt went through. In fact, she took all the shit my family felt and they pored it over her. I still stand with her, until this day. Even after some people tried to badmouth her again, the last time I was in the Netherlands.
She described the last few months of my aunt. She thought that it was very special that my aunt, even during her sickness, still tried to help out others.
She described some moments that she shared with my aunt in those last months. One of those moments included sitting in the car, driving back from another doctors visit, while this song sounded on the radio:
My niece then said that those lyrics were like my aunt lived her life: enjoying the little things in life, the way they came.
She also said that my aunt shared that dying is something you can't share with others, you have to do it by yourself. All alone. I think this is right. Even if there are hundreds of people surrounding you, while you are dying, I think you would still feel alone. You have to do it alone. It's just you that goes.
Then a friend of my aunt spoke. Together they'd helped someone that was terminally ill, as the executors of that persons will. That resulted in a lot of arguments and fights with the family of this person, which made my aunt make sure that her will was clear and well taken care of. She didn't want this to happen to the executor of her will (unfortunately it still did happen. Seems like something strange happens to people when there is money involved).
The piece that they had read out loud during the service of the lady that they helped out together, after her passing, was the piece that this friend of my aunt read out loud during my aunts service too. My aunt had framed this piece and she hung it on the wall at home.
Right now, this piece still needs to get hung in our downstairs bathroom, where it used to hang in our previous house (we moved and we still aren't a 100% done). That's the exact same spot she had put it in, in her house, after she went and rented a house for herself. I remember reading it, while going to the bathroom and thinking: ' This is beautiful. This is what life is all about.'
When my aunt passed away and my niece asked if there was anything I wanted, I immediately mentioned that piece of paper that she had so carefully put up in her bathroom, because I knew it was very important to her.
Something very heartwarming happened, while I was writing this blog. I wanted to ask my niece a question about one of the songs, found her on messenger, and realized I never answered the question she asked me about my sisters passing. In fact we hadn't spoken to each other in years. She immediately responded to me. I found out that my niece had just lost a very important person in her life. Like literally a few days ago. Again, thank you aunt Bep, for helping us find each other again. We won't let it slip like we did a few years ago. I think I was too busy with my own illness and maybe my niece subconsciously reminded me too much of how I wasn't able to be there for my aunt, in her last months, while she was. Maybe I was even jealous of those last months she had with our aunt, which I hadn't, at least not in person. I am so happy we will keep contact now, we both need it. Thanks aunt Bep, for still being there.
After what my aunts' friend recited, the following song sounded:
My aunt had also written her own acceptance speech. She mentioned all the people dear to her and said something, personally to them. I love how she did that. She thanked my niece for all she did, and mentioned she could never thank her enough. She then mentioned me and my sister, together. I am sure she did that on purpose, because my sister and I weren't on speaking terms when my aunt passed away.
After her acceptance speech, a beautiful, instrumental piano song sounded.
Then my uncle grabbed the microphone, and started talking. This is highly unusual, since usually the people say goodbye to the deceased by walking next to the coffin and then stepping outside of the room.
My uncle wanted to have the last word. That's literally what he said. It shows his mental illness. It makes me sad how bad mental ilness gets treated all over the world, if the person that is mentally ill, doesn't agree that he or she needs help. There's basically nothing anyone can do. The people close to this person are basically drowning and there's nobody that saves them. That's what happened to my aunt. I always compare my uncle to the movie 'A Beautiful Mind'. He was so smart, that his thinking one day went way too far (and I think he had brain damage due to a fall), and there was and is nobody that gives him the help he needs. I am not sure what this help should even be. I haven't spoken to him in years. I remember him as a funny, somewhat strange uncle, who was always honest. I loved being with him and my aunt. I truly hope that he has some good last years in the home where they used to live together. I hope he feels fine, while inventing all kinds of stuff, like he's always done.
The most important thing he said was:
Life is based on curiosity.
I am trying to write a book about how life works.
This broke my heart, because this shows his struggle so clearly.
The system and part of her (and his) family failed my aunt. Luckily part of her family didn't and her friends didn't either. Sometimes friends are way more important in your life. After all, you get to chose your friends.
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