On Monday we attended a memorial service for my Aunt, who died on December 18th. I don’t really know how to write about it. I don’t even know if it is appropriate to write about it. I certainly don’t want to be disrespectful. But this blog is about hard things, and this qualifies.
For an Italian/Irish Catholic clan, the Cordanos are pretty small in number. My father is the youngest of 3, those three had 9 children, the 9 of us have 13 and counting between us. And almost all of us and our spouses were there for the service. I wouldn’t say we are terribly close in a day to day way, but when we need to be we are there for each other. And I can honestly say to a person these Cordanos are good people. I am grateful that they are my family.
It goes without saying that we are all mourning the loss of my Aunt. I ache for her, that she will not see her grandchildren grow up, that she will not be here to continue to parent her boys. Now that I’m an adult I understand we need parenting as much as we did when we were children. Most of all, I am so sorry that she will miss those well earned years of retirement with my Uncle.
Her boys are, of course, men now. And she has so much to be proud of concerning them. They are the kind of men I hope T will become some day. As someone who doesn’t have any firm beliefs concerning the afterlife I feel more and more like what we leave behind is our legacy. And she left behind so much goodness, which in my book makes her life a victory.
As an agonistic I really don’t know what the hell I believe. Organized religion mostly turns my stomach. God and an afterlife don’t seem terribly plausible. But at the same time every civilization on earth seems to have developed belief in deities, even those that didn’t get far enough along to make clothing. Are we all deluded in the same way? Do we all need something else that badly? Or is there really something out there? Again, I don’t know. But I hope there is something. I hope she does continue to exist. I hope she is able to somehow watch as her children and grandchildren grow and I hope she is able to continue to love. I hope she is waiting for my Uncle and her boys somewhere. I hope it for her, I hope it for them, I hope it for myself.
And then there are the completely selfish feelings. Her death has frightened me to my core. Watching my cousins grieve has broken my heart. Because the idea of losing either of my parents is completely inconceivable to me. I desperately need them. While I’m an adult with a kid of my own I also am terribly irresponsible and they bail me out over and over, they are my never ending safety net. I wouldn’t know how to function without them. Here’s a stupid little story of how my dad regards my responsibility level: because of the traveling my father does he has frequent flyer memberships for my sister and me to a huge number of airlines as a just in case thing. Recently he handed my sister physical possession of her cards for the first time. He told me I still couldn’t be trusted to have mine. I wasn’t even offended, he is totally right. If I can’t keep stupid frequent flyer cards safe how can I get along without a parent? I pray to any and every god that might be out there that I don’t find out for a very very long time.
And I hope my Aunt is in peace. I send my Uncle, cousins, and their families love as they begin to navigate life without her.
I almost didn't include a picture, but it seemed a bit of hope and happiness was in order. And the little man is definitely a Cordano.
Photo by Ellie Leonardsmith.