It has been four months since we got the diagnosis of incurable melanoma--four long, unpredictable months.
But we knew this day would eventually come.
She had asked me to please refrain from mentioning her illness in my blog--a forum which scared her terribly, what with my sordid personal life splayed out on the table--and I honored her wishes as best I could.
I tried to showcase her compassion, humility, thriftiness, uniqueness, and strength through my stories, past and present.
I tried to keep her an active character in the daily detailing of my life, because, for the last four months, I have been with her more than I haven't.
I tried to persistently seek out answers to the questions of my past, the questions of her past, and the questions of family members' past that I never knew.
I never let too much silence go by without saying I loved her.
And she always told me she loved me now, she loved me then, and she will love me for ever and ever.
And she told me that she believed I would be alright.
She told me she had faith that I had turned a corner and could see the importance of keeping my life together--because I had a good one.
And I'd rub her head and tell her that I only had a good one because of the way I was raised.
And she would smile, and sometimes she would cry.
Much like I did, and do, for the memories are so fresh.
And while my family tree may have lost its two biggest and most recognizable branches in the last 20 months, the memories of the shade their limbs provided to play and grow under will endure. The ideas I have learned of what makes a decision the right one will be honored and implemented. And the willingness to accept that sometimes things are beyond my control and comprehension will last as long as electricity continues to run through my brain to complement the blood that runs through my veins.
I will make damn sure of that.
I will be honoring the life of my aunt in upcoming posts in a bit more thorough manner, but I did want to tell those of you who read what I write, and either do know her, or know her only through pictures and words, what has happened.
My aunt, towards the end, had somewhat of a mantra that helped her keep her sanity.
She said she even wanted it as her epitaph.
Simply put, she said: "It's okay, I've had my turn."
And she did, as we all do.
And with that, I will say goodbye to a woman whose impact on my writing may only become apparent now that she is gone.
She was my editor.
She would send me a detailed listing of all of the errors (and there were many in the beginning) and I would fix them and repost them.
And, as the English teacher that she was for thirty years, it made my intent clearer and my understanding more complete.
Goodnight Aunty Lynda,
I love you forever and ever.
Lynda J. Johnson Dec. 15, 1947- Sept. 7, 2008
As per request, there will be no services.
Donations in her name can be made to:
Habitat for Cats
PO Box 79571
N. Dartmouth, MA