I just came back from visiting my Tante Rose in Toronto. It took me 6 hours to get there, what with the Canadian holiday traffic and customs ordeals of a long wait in line. She is what I have left on my mother's side of the family here in the western world. She has two sisters in Vienna, Austria the final survivors of a large family. The three aunts have 5 children between them, but I am talking about connections with the past.
My Tante Rose is 80 now. She doesn't look it. Still mentally sharp, a bit slower, and limited with an old hip replacement. But as loving, caring and giving as ever. She has always laughed and enjoyed whatever she does in life. Her life has not been an easy one. She has had a hard life, losing her parents and some siblings, along with her home in the second world war. She has limited formal education and became a young widow in Canada with very young children to raise. She persevered. Tough is what she knows. She did a fine job of raising her children. And she still looks at the positive, no matter what comes her way.
She is my favorite aunt, always has been. And she knows it. Shhhhhh, not a word to the other two. I enjoy her company very much. We have conversations late into the night. We hold hands and she takes my arm for support when we walk. We talk about past times, my parents who are gone, we talk about today, about relationships, about family and friends still here and some gone. We talk about the the future. I try to see her a few times a year, and we talk on the phone weekly. She is one of the few people that I still can speak German to, that speaks the same dialect as I do. She lived with us for a short while when I was very little and we have a connection that is very close and loving. Oh what fun memories I have.
As much as I like being with her, there is always that time when I must go back home. Each time the good-bye hug gets longer, the embrace more deliberate, the eyes a bit more watery. I know this will come to an end sometime and no matter how much I know it is inevitable, it will be so very hard when it does come.
As I drive away I carry along a huge goody bag from her in the trunk of my car. It's always the same, all homemade, a cake or two, as well as one or two strudels, along with some kipfel to enjoy later. Way too much for me and always plenty to share.
As much as I love all she does, its the love that she puts into everything that I cherish. I am filled with her love that is so plentiful it overflows from me, and there is nothing to do but share Tante Rose's love with the rest of the world. I hope you have been touched by a little bit of her today.