Monday, October 14, 2013

Mourning in Margaritaville

My Aunt Millie, my mother's twin sister, died this past Friday evening. She and my mom recently celebrated their 89th birthdays together on the east coast. The trip was wonderful for my mom, and although her sister's health was more frail than her own, my mother began enthusiastically talking about next year's trip immediately after our return home. "I just can't believe it," she says over and over again when she considers the fact that Millie is gone.

I loved my aunt. I met her for the first time when I was a teenager. She lived on the east coast while my mom was raising her family in Iowa, and in those days, distance and lack money for travel kept the twins apart. It was eerie waking up on the sofa in her Baltimore apartment--like I'd been transported to a parellel universe where a woman who looked just like my mother was making my breakfast in a city I'd never been to.

In the 80s after my mom and my aunt were both widows, they moved back in together and were housemates for decades. Every year they came to visit me and my family in California. My daughters sometimes referred to my Aunt Millie as a "bonus" grandma. The twins were a package deal--no doubt much like they'd been as children

My mother's loss is profound, and I try to imagine what it's like to experience her particular grief. My own grief at the death of my aunt feels as though it's waiting in the wings while center stage a weeping old woman looks in a mirror and there's no one looking back.

Maybe 4 years old?

Age 7 /First Holy Communion--
my grandmother cut her wedding veil in two to
make their veils


Last month


lily cedar said...

I'm so sorry.

Ms. Moon said...

I can't even imagine how your mother must feel, living in a world her sister no longer no longer inhabits.
Oh, this must be so hard.
Life. And then not. Ah, Denise. I'm so sorry.

Maria Celebrate-Life Slominski said...

I am so sorry to hear of your loss, sending you and your Mom hugs and peace as you cope.

Andrea said...

How very sad. I'm so sorry. A whole lifetime of twinship - I just cannot imagine the sense of loss your mom must be feeling, certainly beyond the ordinary, which is hard enough. The photographs are really wonderful. Thank you for sharing them, and also I just love the way you wrote about the two of them and your own experience of having this double in your life. This short piece speaks a whole history with economy and elegance and a true sense of honoring these sisters, these twins. Thank you.

Suz said...

oh so sorry to hear this
You have your mom and aunt's good looks
Hug her from a kindred soul blogger friend
and here's one for you
take care of each other

Elizabeth said...

Oh, god, those photos. Your mother. Aunt Millie. I'm so, so sorry. There's so much death about --

rockygrace said...

I'm sorry.

Taxmom said...

The photos are lovely. My husband has twin aunts, now about 80. Going through life with a twin must be amazing.

N2 said...

Yes, going through life with a twin must be a great feeling of connection, but the feeling of loss must also be great. Condolences and hugs to your mom and to you. x0 N2

Val said...

Belated sympathy to you & your mom...
Today I took my dad (84) up to see his big sis (87) before dementia robs him of his ability to recognize her. This is what I ought to be writing about.