Aunt Esther, Aunt Helen, Aunt Bee, and Aunt Kay—four, that’s all I had. Aunt Kay lived 91 years, leaving behind four children and a passel of grands and great-grands. And me! I was one of the lucky ones born to parents who valued family connections. On holidays we either went to the homes of relatives in nearby states or they came to us. My mother had only one sibling, a brother, who married Aunt Kay.
Here they are with their firstborn, Paul David. (They’re not going to let him fall.)
One of those family Christmases in Kokomo, Indiana. That’s Dave in the red sweater, Aneta showing us what she just unwrapped, and Aunt Kay next to her.
Aunt Kay came to watch me marry Mauri.
She welcomed Quinn and Cassidy and me when we visited at her nursing home.
And her children, my cousins—Bill, Aneta, Dave, and Jim—humored me by patiently posing for this picture after her memorial service last Thursday.
Aunt Kay was a lifelong lover of children. I stood near the grave, watching two of her six great-grandchildren play in the grass at their mother’s feet, and realized yet again how blessed we are with family ties. They’re worth nurturing. My history is inextricably woven with their history, and I wouldn’t untangle it if I could.