Aunthood

All my life I’ve been upset by the way Dad spoke to me when we used to work together.

To gain my attention he would whistle to me. And it made me feel like a dog being given commands.

Until tonight.

I was at my sister’s house with my 2 year old nephew.

So, what did I do when he tried to follow me outside the house in the dark?

I clicked my fingers and said, “Inside.”

What’s wrong with this?

It’s precisely how I tell my dog to get inside.

I now understand Dad much better.

I’ve not been an Aunt for all that long and am still learning.

Dad hadn’t had a teen daughter for all that long either.

So, Dad, it’s all forgiven.

A new leaf

“I hate you!” I slammed the door shut in my Mother’s face.

She continued to knock. “Cynthia, I’m sorry.” I could hear the tears in her voice. She always cried at times like this, so I was immune to it. I didn’t want her to get her own way.

I put on the dowdy black dress that I had worn to my Grandfather’s funeral, finding heels to match and a black scarf should I need to hide my tears from my relatives.

Footsteps disappeared down the hallway and I knew that my Mother had left me.

After a few minutes, I strode in what I thought was a confident manner, out of my bedroom, down the hallway, and into the kitchen. My Mother was finding her keys in her handbag.

“Are you ready now Cynthia?” she asked in a voice that hid so much hurt.

I flounced out of the kitchen door and into the sunlight, deciding to not say a word to her.

In silence, my Mother drove me to the cemetery. Other cars, many of which I recognised as belonging to various Aunts, Uncles and Cousins, crowded into the car park when we arrived.

There was a gathering in the little church in amongst the gravestones. My Nanna’s coffin sat in the middle, surrounded by flowers. The orchids in the flower arrangements reminded me of my Grandfather who had grown them in the greenhouse, and I felt my resolve not to cry start to break down. Being the eldest Grandchild, it was soon my turn to lead my Cousins in our bit of the service.

I held it together, but only just.
We all stumbled out of the dark church and back into the beautiful sunlit day. The sound of quiet weeping filled my ears as I followed the coffin.

At the graveside, as the coffin started to descend, I burst into tears. All the grief I had held onto melted as my beloved Nanna departed from view.

My Mother was standing nearby, watching me.

I walked over to her and put my arm around her shoulders. I realised that I loved her despite our fights, and I was determined to make sure I never said those nasty words to her from now on.