Who was the person that died? My Aunt Evelyn.
How old were you at the time? She died on Labor day of this year, which makes me 15,722 days old.
How old was the person? She was 88.
Was it a sudden death or did you know it was going to happen? Her health had been declining for the past five years. She entered hospice a few months ago.
Did you and the person talk about their death? Yes. She told me last year, the last time I saw her, that life had lost its fun and she didn't mind the idea of dying. She was a very spiritual person and I think she looked forward to Heaven.
Had you experienced any other deaths in your personal life before this person died? Yes. My grandma when I was a teenager and my mother-in-law in November of last year. Also, Khristian Oliver and Larry Matthew Puckett.
Were people supportive of your grief or did they shy away when you were grieving? On facebook, people were supportive and said nice things, but no one really talked to me about it or how I was feeling, other than my mother. I was glad I got to be with my mom for the funeral and the days that followed.
Is there anything you wish you'd done differently with this person? I wish I had called her towards the end. My mom lived with her for three years and she would tell me "Evelyn and I are praying for you" but I never spoke with her on the phone. I did tell my mom to tell her I'd see her on the other side.
Was she buried or cremated? She was buried next to her husband who preceded her in death. She died on Labor Day and he died on Mother's Day several years ago. She was also buried next to her daughter who died at birth.
Did you learn anything about the grieving process that you'd like to share? I'm kind of new to death happening in my personal life, but one thing I've noticed is that being with people has been very helpful. I truly had a wonderful time hanging out with my mom and my Uncle George. I rarely get to see my extended family with the rare exception of maybe a wedding, a graduation or a funeral so it was nice to catch up. We talked about Evelyn and how smart she was. She loved doing the Jumble puzzle every morning. Two days before she died. my mom handed her the paper and it was upside down and Evelyn got the first word, which was "moron." That cracked me up.
After the funeral, I rented "How to Die in Oregon" from the local library. I wanted my mom to see it. As we started watching it, I was getting all weepy. My mom and uncle were completely riveted by it. I thought it might make things worse, but it didn't. It allowed us to have a deep conversation about death and what it meant to each of us.
Were any songs played at the memorial that were important to the person?
No, but Evelyn loved Frank Sinatra, so this one goes out to her.
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Thanks and have a great week!