Is it real? Is she gone?

I don’t begin to make a pretense of collective certainty. I awoke to, of all things, a woodpecker banging away at some important find near the skylight of my upstairs bathroom. I resisted my early morning hour’s impulse to lay waste to the annoying intruder. Instead, I lay there sorting out dreams, recollections and reality.

She was there, in agonizing decline, then she was gone in a zippered cocoon of safety from the cold morning winds. They were so dutifully careful to step through whatever mental minefield they might encounter while collecting their morning acquisition. I made it easy. I pointed the way. I acted relaxed, while my wife sought refuge in a back bedroom with the care giver sobbing. 

They stripped the bed and lifted the frail little remains into a bag that has provided a shield from the present….the living. They, the funeral home retrievers, left the foster home facility with all due dispatch and reverence and my dear Auntie.


In the hours afterwards, I tried to sleep. Phone calls from the funeral home, family, friends and the intrusive pecking of the woodpecker have me still sleep deprived some 15+ hours after her passing. I will sleep tonight.

I have dreamt it and come out of the ‘awake’ dream state to realize she is in deed gone. The last 20 months have ended…the last intense 30 days of ‘dying’ has ended. I miss her.

Death with Dignity…usually a prelude to self imposed suicide…has a different meaning to me. She died with grace and dignity while grinding out thousands of gasping breaths. She followed that seismic ordeal with the most gentle, devolving dance into life’s abandonment imaginable. Such a little powerhouse she was that let go in the most gentle exhaltations.

I do believe, as cheesy and fanciful as it sounds, that that little ‘guardian angel’ did not so much prevent her downfall, as guide her into a gentle journey toward those that awaited her gentle passage.

Withered Rose Buds in a Vase...A meaningful card...A symbolic Guardian Angel. All symbols of love and peace of mind and the protection of the soul.

 At least the woodpecker is still at night.

Seriously…Thank You All!!! for the words of support, love, comfort and praise. Bless You all for the warmth and encouragement you have given me, us…my sweet Tillie.


5 thoughts on “Is it real? Is she gone?

  1. My thoughts are with you and your family. Thank you for all that you were to her in her last years of life. Everyone should be so lucky as to have a nephew, son, care-giver like you.

  2. Ginny

    You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. Your Auntie is free of her struggles so now you can rest. Please take care of yourself. You have been grieving for quite some time already and need time to process everything. As TB said, your aunt and mom are no doubt already planning a heavenly sale. Imagine their giggles of delight to be at it again!

  3. Please accept my condolences on the passing of your beloved auntie. Thank you for sharing your journey, thoughts and feelings with me and the others that have followed you and your journaling….wishes for peace and serenity.

  4. Rae NcEnttire

    You have been (and remain) a wonderful son and nephew. Rest now, knowing your mom and your auntie are together again, healthy and ready to take on eternity. I will continue to carry you and your family in prayer and in my heart. You have been so generous to share this difficult journey. Thank you – you inspire me.

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