My Aunt Rose passed away today. It was a long day for everyone in the family. The phone rang shortly after midnight and it was my sister letting us know that Aunt Rose was taken to the hospital. I was going to stay in bed but I decided to get up and get dressed, thinking that I should go just in case, but really feeling that it was going to turn out to be nothing serious. As I walked up to the emergency room entrance, and saw the look on my sister’s face, I knew it was more serious than I initially thought. Within an hour, the doctor came in and told us that she was gone.
I grew up around my Aunt Rose. She was like a third parent more than an Aunt when we were kids. She rarely got onto us but if she needed to, nothing stopped her and we listened to her and she loved us and we loved her. I’m sure all the family members have things they remember about my aunt but there are some very distinct things I remember about her. She collected owls and in her small home in West Texas, there were owls of every sort. As a kid, it was easy to get her Christmas and birthday gifts because I knew all I had to do was look for something with an owl. My aunt always had a gift with painting and being artistic. She was always working on some sort of project and i’m sure that most all of us have something she made displayed somewhere in our homes. James Taylor was one of her favorite music artists. I made a James Taylor CD for her several years ago and as a child, I remember sitting on her living room floor listening to her records. She called me Dave. She called my brother Rob, and I laugh a little now that I’m thinking about it because she called my sister Mouthy (Her name’s Martha). We used to ride our bikes to her house when we were bored and there was always something to do there. In reality, there wasn’t really much to do there, except visit Aunt Rose and hang around while she worked on whatever she was working on and she would allow us to take part in whatever she was doing.
This morning after about 4 and a half hours of sleep, I went to my dad’s and met up with my sister. Aunt Rose had just gotten settled into a small apartment behind my dad’s house after spending the last couple years taking care of her older sister who has Alzheimers. My aunt’s art and craft supplies were organized neatly throughout the apartment. My aunt had not been there very long but the first thing my sister said (with tears in her eyes), and just before I was able to say it, was “It smells like Aunt Rose in here.” It smelled just like her home in Andrews. It’s hard to describe. Maybe it was the art supplies, the quilts, the books, the perfume, the make-up, but most likely, just a combination of all the things that made up my Aunt Rose.
I’ll miss my Aunt Rose but I’m sure it won’t be anything compared to how her brothers and sisters miss her. The hardest part when losing an aunt or uncle is having to see the sadness that everyone else is having to deal with after losing a sibling. When my sister and I were in my aunt’s apartment I noticed a small picture of my grandmother and my Aunt Cuca. My grandmother passed away in 1991 and my Aunt Rose took care of my Aunt Cuca for the last couple years. My grandmother and aunt would go to San Benito to my Aunt Sylvia’s home in the valley to have huge garage sales. It’s what they loved to do in the same way that my Aunt Rose loved her arts and crafts. I made a quick trip to Walgreens to make copies of that photo for the Aunts and Uncles that didn’t have one. I thought of my grandmother as we sat in the Emergency Room waiting on the medical examiner, all I could think about was what a good time my Aunt Rose was having updating my grandmother on all the things she missed out on in the last 20 years and how my grandmother is enjoying her Beautiful Rose.