Thursday, August 17, 2006

A Tale of Two Aunties

I have an aunt, who is divorced and for the past 10 (or more?) years has lived with her best friend. This best friend is as much a part of the family as my aunt.

Recently, the best friend's son was killed by a train. He was in his late 30's, and alcohol or stupidity (or both) was probably involved. Needless to say, we were all shocked and saddened. The thought that kept coming back to me was, "We don't have children for this to happen to them."

When I went home to visit in the beginning of August, I had the chance to chat with my aunt and asked her how her BF was doing. As she answered, and the conversation moved on. However, being observant, my aunt noticed that I had gotten teary.

She kindly asked, "Now, what are you getting teary about?"

And I replied (fully weeping) that I was crying for her best friend. Then I paused before adding, "And me."

My aunt nodded her head in silent understanding, and the two of us proceeded to cry over my miscarriage(s), her best friend's son's death, her own primary infertility (diagnosed forty-odd years ago), and her oldest grandson's autism. In the middle of it all, my aunt joked, "Why don't we just move into the corner and cry together." So we laughed a little, too.

This aunt has always been one of my favorite people to laugh with, and now she is one of my favorite people to cry with.

Fast forward ten days, into a different conversation with my other aunt (I only have two). My daughter and I were saying our goodbyes to this aunt, who hadn't had a chance to offer me any condolences on my losses. So when the conversation headed that way, my eyes began to well up. Whereupon, this dear aunt said (as many people are prone to do), "Now, if you cry, I'm going to cry."

And I thought, "Isn't that the point?"

Which is why, though I love both aunts, I will probably always seek out the first aunt who so easily cried with me.

(A sour side-note to the second conversation. That aunt is married to my uncle (duh!), who is a radiologist. So, she also encouraged me to run any medical questions by him, that he would be sure to get answers from the specialists at his hospital for me. Nice enough. BUT THEN...she proceeded into foul territory with a comment about how he really wished that so many babies who are born severely prematurely were not resuscitated, etc. We've all heard these discussions, that medical advances have gone too far, saving babies weighing less than 1 pound, and so forth. I'm no born-again, right-wing anything, just the opposite, in fact. But when a person is born, they have the same right to medical treatment as anyone else. What would happen to a doctor who looked at a non-helmet wearing, motorcycle crash-victim and said "Why bother? Even if we could save this guy, the rest of his life will be filled with pain, disfigurement, and disability." Please, please, please stop thinking that babies are any different. Or at least stop sharing this heinous opinion with women who have had children or are trying to have children or failing at trying to have children. At the very least, stop sharing this opinion with me!)


At 9:15 AM, Blogger Becky said...

I'm reminded of my own aunt--currently she's the one in my family that I'm most open with my probs, and I think it's because she comes from similar ground. She had a tough time getting pg with all 3 of hers, and lost the middle one at 18 weeks due to incompetent cervix.
It's so wonderful when someone will just let you cry, and not try to fix it...



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