But when you are younger, you don't even realize that it's happening. You certainly have no sense of it in your teens or even your twenties...your too busy looking forward...but as you get older or in the event of a loss...then one day, all of the sudden you realize that all those images that have been moving further and further away have in essence vanished.
And you miss them...everything in the rear view mirror becomes blurry.
It's not so much that you miss being young and that you reject the inevitable fact of age in life.
No... I enjoy aging (well most of it). I actually like being older.
It's the people, the places, the smells, the scenery that at one time was being viewed from front and center...from up close...
I think that's why my last trip to see my aunt, knowing that this was truly the last trip...she was passing...was one of flashing images of a time gone by and slow motion movies from my childhood.
It was a long trip to go see her...12 hours in the car...and with each passing mile the scenery filled my mind with those flashes, images and movies.
I can't say I remember every moment with her because some are so far away they become just a feeling...an emotion...a sense of comfort or roar of laughter...not the actual event.
Other moments flash...I hear her boisterous laugh...see the room, her face, her smile...I see me small, vulnerable and in awe...
My aunt liked to "hoot" and "holler" and that small, vulnerable me...looked at her wide eyed.
My aunt liked to be "hip"...the "cool" aunt. One you could go to and talk about anything and she would tell you what you needed to hear not what you wanted to hear. I can still see the teen and young adult me looking at her with admiration. And the more recent me...the broken from infertility me sharing a knowing smile with my aunt when she met my Ladybug and she declares: "You were a a mess!" Yes I was aunt Nancy...yes I was...
Some of these images bring comfort...like being so little and sitting on her lap on a porch swing watching the lightening...or her lowering a rope to pull me up so I could sit in front of her on her beloved horse for a ride.
Some bring laughter...like the time my older sisters told me to say "mother fucker" and I ran around my aunt's back yard saying "mother fucker!" "mother fucker!" "mother fucker!"
My aunt immediately brought me inside and rinsed my mouth out with soap. I kept crying "But Sissy M and Sissy L told me to say it!"
My aunt's reply: "Well now you learned 2 lessons! Don't ever say that word and don't listen to your sisters!"
And it's my time now...
It's my turn. I am the aunt! I am the mom! I need to take these years and be the childhood that my aunt Nancy was for me and be that for my nieces, nephews and most of all for my daughter.
But you miss it...you miss those times...
And it's not that you don't want to grow up and have those things with your own kids...it's just that you want to keep your childhood close too!
You want porch swings and rocking chairs and thunderstorms. You want to sit on your aunt's lap and watch the lightening...you don't want it to be distant images fading from view...
My aunt passed away and now there's a little less boisterous laughing, hooting and hollering here on earth but I am sure she will be livening up the place in heaven.
I know there should be some moment when I tell the world what she meant to me. The lessons she taught...her words of wisdom...make this sweeping, elegant statement about her but I can't think of anything!! Just a rush of emotion.
I love you aunt Nancy! The only thing I can think of that could remotely come close to describing what my aunt meant to me is "childhood" and all the beauty that a childhood should bring.
That rush of childhood coming back into view.