Every day I wake up thinking she is still here. It has been two years and not a day goes by that I don’t wish she was here, that I could talk to her, that I could email her, that I could hang out with her. I would give anything in the world to bring her back or even to get to spend another afternoon hanging out with her. The littlest of things make me miss and think of my auntie: Michael Buble music, decorating shows, drives to Maple Ridgethe list is endless. There are moments when I wonder if there is not a part of my life that she is not connected to.
While I was traveling with Ashley this past month we talked about a particular day during Summer 2007. Ashley and I were supposed to get our makeup done at MAC, we had scheduled appointments and were planning on having some fun girly time. But, while she was at work, her car was stolen. That day is now one of Ashley’s bad memories, a day she probably wishes never happened. I think just the opposite. In a rush to find someone else to come to the appointment with me, I called my auntie and she agreed to come. She dropped everything, left work early and came to meet me. We then spent the evening getting our makeup done, buying me my first-ever trench coat, having dinner and taking our pictures in the parking lot of Starbucks. That day is one my favorite days e-v-e-r because it symbolized everything my auntie was for me. She was always there for me and we had so much fun together, we had the best days.
My aunt’s life, her illness and her passing inspired me to take this leap of faith and move abroad because if there is anything that I learned from her it is life is so short and there is no guarantee of forever. Every day needs to be lived like it is our last.
I still miss her everyday and there is a whole in my heart that I am not sure will ever be filled but I just have to remember that she is always with me no matter what.
PS, two years ago I wrote this and read it at my auntie’s funeral; today was one of the first times I have re-read it since. It took me a long time to read because my eyes kept getting blurry but I am so glad I did. Because it means so much to me, I decided to post it here.
My auntie Susie was to me, and to all who had the honor of knowing her, an amazing person. She had the biggest heart, was a kind and gentle soul and did not have a mean bone in her body. She was generous and would drop everything to help someone in need.
To me my aunt was so much more than just my mother’s sister. When I was a little girl, she was there for every important moment in my life. Some of my earliest memories involve my auntie. As a child, I remember sitting on the top floor of her house on Landsdown listening to old Elvis records and cuddling her kittens.
As a grew from a child to a pre-teen my aunt became a huge pillar of support in my life offering me guidance and love. From an early age my aunt shaped my taste in music. She first introduced me to country music when she was going through her cow-boy stage in the late 1990s. I was nine when she and my mom took me to a LeAnn Rimes concert at the PNE. From then on I was hooked on country music and we would spend endless hours singing along to every album she owned. She took me to many concerts throughout the years and always encouraged my love of music. Not only did my auntie love country music but she also loved a young crooner whom she discovered long before most people. I remember a time when Michael Buble was not the famous singer he is today, a time when my auntie was absolutely in love with his music and a time in which she constantly made me listen to him even though I thought he was lame. She saw him in concert every time he came to Vancouver and was one of his biggest fans. My aunt saw the light in him long before anyone else did and to me that was very special.
When I was around the age of fourteen, I wanted to make my mom a birthday present but I had no idea what to get her so Sue suggested we make her a scrapbook. We took a class together and then spent hours and hours sitting around her kitchen table scrapbooking. Little did she know she sparked an interest in me and gave me the tools needed to make scrapbooking one of my favorite hobbies. My auntie’s love of design was, in part, passed on to me through the many projects we did over the years – from painting my bedroom numerous times, to covering a bulletin board with fabric – she was always there to lend a hand and help me be creative.
When I was young I wanted to do everything my auntie did and she truly played a huge role in gearing me up for adulthood. Throughout my teen years my auntie was the person I could run to no matter what problem I faced. She offered me countless shoulders to cry on and always took my side when I needed her support. In a time when I had few friends my auntie was my very best friend. I often fled to my aunt’s house where she would hang out with me, take me shopping and have sleepovers with me. Some of my favorite memories of my auntie involve the simple things in life – going for a walk, making tea and drinking them out of her grandmother’s tea cups or watching a movie. My auntie was in many ways to me a second-mom and I am forever grateful for her love.
When I lived in France in grade eleven my auntie was a constant source of support. Over my three-months there we sent each other hundreds of emails. Whenever I had a problem or missed home I would sit down and type her an email – she would usually respond within minutes offering advice or telling me it would be okay. She always encouraged me to be brave and gave me the strength I needed to be independent.
My aunt’s support of me never changed when I grew from a teenager into a young woman. She was so proud of me when I graduated high school and then continued on to university. She helped me get my job at Fraser Health and in the first year of me working there, in a time when I felt shy my aunt was always there for me. She gave me advice and helped me through every obstacle I faced. One of my first tasks at Fraser Health was helping my aunt organize and order all of the office signs for the new building. Now, every time I see those signs I see my auntie.
The day I found out my auntie had ovarian cancer was one of the worst days of my life. I was terrified at the prospect of my aunt being sick and could not fathom losing her. She was so important to me and a life without her was un-imaginable. There were many things that struck me about my aunt’s courage while battling cancer. She never ever complained – no matter how bad the pain got she stayed strong. My aunt had an inner strength that was so amazing and gave her the ability to live many months longer than others would have. Even up to the end, Sue wanted life to remain as normal as possible for those around her. She was never demanding – she just lived out her life to the best of her ability. I will always remember my aunt’s amazing courage and the strength she mustered while suffering from this horrible disease.
It pains me to think of a future without my auntie. She is no longer a phone call away nor will I ever get another email from her. She is no longer here to offer me advice, to give me a shoulder to lean on or be the friend I need. She will not be there to proudly watch me graduate University next year or watch me become the event planner she always knew I would be. My auntie Sue won’t be there to watch me try on wedding dresses or watch me walk down the aisle. She won’t be there to help me buy a house or help me pick out the perfect paint color. She won’t be by my side when I have children or be able to baby-sit them when I need a night out. It pains me to know that people I have yet to meet will not get to meet the wonderful woman that was my auntie.
Throughout my life my aunt truly played a huge role in shaping the person I have become. I am so grateful for the time I got to spend with her and I know that even though she is no longer beside me, she will always be beside me in spirit. The lessons and love she has given me over the years will remain with me as I grow old. And even though I will miss her terribly, I know she will always be there to watch over me. She will forever be my angel above.