Aunt Sylvia

My aunt Sylvia passed away yesterday. She was 93 and had lived a full and glorious life. We are all rearranging our schedules to fly down to attend the funeral.

Some people change in radical ways as they get older, but my memories of aunt Sylvia from my earliest childhood are completely consistent with my sense of the person she continued to be to the end of her life. She was always smart, cheerful, outgoing, generous and full of joy, with a genuine and uncomplicated love of people. I know that sounds too good to be true, but in her case it is exactly true.

In recent times I have stood witness as too many people were taken from this earth in untimely ways. People who were in the middle of getting things done, who were far from having finished the mission they had set about to accomplish. Those cases of life interrupted are always deeply tragic. One comes away with a sense that something has been unfairly stolen.

But I get a different sense when I think about aunt Sylvia. I am sad for us, that we will no longer have the pleasure of her cheerful presence, yet I feel that she indeed got a chance to accomplish her mission. In a way it was a straightforward mission: To connect with people, to fully enjoy those connections, and to find joy in life and in loving the people around her.

It’s something that sounds so simple to say, yet many people have a hard time keeping hold of that joy. It was part of aunt Sylvia’s genius was that she never made that mistake. Even when my uncle passed away — her first and only love and inseparable companion for over sixty years — she managed to bounce back and throw herself into her love for her children and grandchildren.

Sometimes when life gets complicated, and I become distracted by the sheer amount of nonsense that a day can throw at me, I temporarily forget what a great privilege it is just to be here. In such times it’s good to think about a person who never lost sight of that simple and profound truth — my late wonderful aunt Sylvia.

4 Responses to “Aunt Sylvia”

  1. Mari says:

    Ken, thank you so much for this post. Please remember YOU also brought your Aunt Sylvia so much joy to her life and that how fortunate she was to have you, a loving nephew whom she was so proud of.

    I’m sending you email…

  2. Dagmar says:

    I am sending you a big hug from another part of the world.

  3. sally says:

    So sorry for your loss. You and your family have my deepest sympathies. Thank you for sharing that post Ken, it was beautifully written. She sounds like a great person to have known. May she rest in peace.

  4. admin says:

    Thank you, to everyone, for your kind thoughts!

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