Just a few weeks ago, my family received the tragic news that my Aunt Lynn had passed away.
I’m quite a sensitive person, and in general mortality has always baffled me. But this was particularly jarring for two main reasons.
First, it was shockingly sudden. An illness Lynn had conquered crept back into her life several years later, and her status went from unclear, to having only months left, to having only days left in an uncommonly short span.
And then she was gone. No opportunity to reach out, no chance to say last words.
No Closure in 2020
And then there’s the issue of closure. When my grandmother was taken from us, we had a lovely ceremony. There were guests and speeches. We got to hug one another, comfort one another. For certain it was devastating, but we had ways to cope. We had ways to memorialize someone so precious to all of us.
But Covid has once again robbed us of something that should be a given in our lives. I want to say goodbye. I need to say goodbye. And the best I can do is what I’m writing right now.
So here’s my attempt.
The Last Time I Would See My Aunt
When I got hired for my current job at GoDaddy, they insisted on flying me into their main offices in Arizona for an orientation. I had no idea why. I would be at their headquarters for less than 24 hours, and it would be the first and last time I would ever step foot in those offices, considering shortly afterwards I would be moving back to Israel.
But I decided to take advantage of the brief trip and while I was in Arizona, I went out to dinner with my aunt and uncle. And we had an absolutely lovely time together.
For certain I had no idea it would be the last time I would ever see my Aunt Lynn.
I am forever grateful, because I’m not even sure what was the last time I saw her before that trip. The last twenty years are such a blur to me. Different states, different countries. Anybody I’ve managed to stay in touch with is a wonder. But if I hadn’t taken advantage of that moment to see and hug my wonderful aunt, I would be overpowered with regrets now. Now my only regret is I didn’t figure out a way to stay longer!
My Aunt, Not a Regular PersonWe can do so much more than we could ever imagine. The only limits we have are those we create for ourselves! Click To Tweet
And then there’s our last conversation.
I remember vividly the last time I spoke with my Aunt Lynn. I had recently published my fourth book, Health and Fitness… for Regular People. I was advertising it like crazy for a bit and she wanted to talk to me about it.
Aunt Lynn stressed that the book wasn’t meant for her. Why? Because she was not a “regular person”. She was an athlete. An avid ice skater, still going strong into her 70s. Nothing regular about that!
And she was absolutely correct. Most people these days live sedentary lives. Yes, of course I’m referring to their eight-hour desk jobs. But that’s just the beginning! They get to those jobs in their cars, return home in their cars, and then spend their time on the couch, at the kitchen table, and in bed.
Some aspects of their lives leave them with no choice but to be on their butts for hours. The rest do not.
So if you’re an athlete, you are by no means regular. And if you’re an athlete into your eightieth decade on this planet, well that’s another story entirely! You definitely get to not be considered “regular”!
And I’m so glad that the last conversation I had with my aunt wasn’t just chit chat. Rather, she was able to inspire me, and inspire me in a topic that is extremely meaningful to me. I am so blessed that the last thing my aunt would ever do for me was remind me that age is a mirage. We can do so much more than we could ever imagine. The only limits we have are those we create for ourselves!
Never Got to Say Goodbye
My last communications with my aunt were on WhatsApp. If I could go back in time, I would not have let the chat come to an end. We could never have known what the future would hold, but I would have done everything in my power to not let the messages come to any natural conclusion. I would have talked and talked right up until the moment when we couldn’t talk any longer.
When I found out she was sick, I had strong hopes that I would be able to communicate with her, even if it were simply a little bit. I sent along a text just letting her know that I loved her and cared about her very much.
But WhatsApp never indicated that she saw my message.
Goodbye, Aunt Lynn
So I sit here in Jerusalem, not able to go and cry over a gravestone. Not able to listen to beautiful words said at my aunt’s funeral. Not even able to hug my parents so we could all comfort one another.
With no way of memorializing this lovely person, and no way to say goodbye, except for this here blog.
Aunt Lynn, if you’re out there somewhere, please know that I am filled with so many regrets and all I want in the world right now is to say goodbye. You will be sorely missed. And I wish so much that we could continue to be a part of each other’s lives. Please forgive me for any lack of communication on my part and for not overturning the world to say my final goodbyes to you.
Thank you for being a part of my life. Goodbye, Aunt Lynn. See you on the other side!