This week our family lost a very special person. Aunt Shirley, (DoDo) passed away on Wednesday. Aunt Do, as I liked to call her, was 92 years old. She lived a long, happy life surrounded by the people she loved.
At her funeral on Friday, several of my “cousins” and family members spoke. I wrote cousins in quotes deliberately because everyone who spoke about Aunt Do, said the same thing….. It didn’t matter how you were related to her, because in her eyes, you were her family. Do Do had no children of her own. She had five sisters, who all passed away before her. Their children were her nephews and nieces. Those nephews and nieces married, bringing in even more family members….and then they had their own children… creating more cousins, nephews and nieces…..and all of us – whether related to her by blood or not, were her relatives and no matter how you fit into this “family puzzle,” she treated you as if you were her favorite.
As she was eulogized that afternoon, every person who was there mentioned that the special treatment was just for them all the while knowing that she treated everyone of us in that same special way.
My relationship to Aunt Do is quite “far removed.” My father’s brother is married to DoDo’s niece Dale. No direct bloodline there for me. Dale’s cousin Sandy, was married to Libby. They had children and those children and I consider ourselves cousins. Again….not related by any direct bloodlines, but connected by love and the strength of our huge extended family. Add the husbands and kids and we get even further removed but my boys adored her and just knew her as their aunt.
That was just DoDo’s way. She had a knack for making you feel like you were the most special person in the room. When she made cookies, she hide a special can “just for me” – all the while having “secret” cans for just about everyone at the party, telling everyone the same thing. We were all special to her and she let you know it.
She loved family gatherings and she must be beaming up there in heaven right now because that love, that she helped to create has created so much more than just a family, but a family who are also friends and she was one of the dearest friends to all of us.
My Aunt Dale told me that the night before she died, she was laying in her bed and calling out the names “Al” and “Ellie” over and over again. Al was her husband who died when I was only two years old. Ellie was my mom. That gave me so much comfort knowing that she was looking for her loved ones to help her move on. There were definitely no shortage of loved ones there waiting for her and I am sure she was welcomed with open arms.
Love you Aunt Do. Give my mom a kiss from me.