So in a shocking turn of events reiki and its wonders totally failed to save the life of my ultra-cancered aunt, or even to prolong it to the point where she could visit the home country one last time or attend her daughter's summer wedding. She died, with at least a degree of morphine-dripped peace, in the early hours of last Thursday morning. I did not travel to Cosa Nostra Land for the funeral.
The oldest child in a family of six children, she could be somewhat domineering. So she was. She might also have been a contender for the World's Best Not Listening to Anybody Else About Any Fucking Thing Award. But she was also kind, super smart and generous to a fault. I saw her rarely in the last decade or so but she was a major fixture in my childhood, with trips to Catania forming a part of almost every summer holiday. I liked her fine, this bossy bint. I feel for her children, both just a little older than me. And I feel even more for my devastated mother who is buckling under her loss, her grief and I can't help but believe, a heavy shadow that she can only feel creeping towards her.
I've watched a long procession of not so great aunts and uncles take a bite of the dirt sandwich over the last couple of years and have remained spectacularly untouched by each of these inevitable deaths. But this, being different, feels very different. Life is screaming at me of its brevity and I am doing my very best, like my Auntie Paula, to just not listen.
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