Mint M&M’s and Swedish meatballs. Those were two of the things I used to love about Christmas Eve as a kid. They were the tastes that welcomed Christmas. It’s a weird thing to think about, especially in relation to how you remember a particular person. But the unique combo has kept coming back to me in little bursts since I heard the news. Aunt Mary is gone. Christmas has not been and will not be the same without her.
Aunt Mary was technically my great aunt (my mom’s actual aunt). Every Christmas Eve the extended family on my mother’s side would meet at her house to have a little reunion. There would be food, cookies, and candies (see first sentence) and a bunch of family members interested in what was up with you and the various aspects of your life. And while I would talk to and enjoy everyone, it wasn’t, in hindsight, what I went for. Those annual excursions were to see her.
The funny thing about it is during those parties, I never got the chance to speak with her for more than 10 to 15 minutes at a time. The conversations were never anything monumental. There were no profound realizations about life or liberty. Yet, at the end of the night, you left there and felt loved. I always left Aunt Mary’s and felt loved.
Those Christmas reunions haven’t happened much in the past years. Mary had been sick and no one in the family has been willing to take on that night like she did. And while I am sure we will go on to have various reunions, those December nights will not quite be the same as they used to be.
Good bye Aunt Mary. I’ll definitely miss you.