Back across Kansas we went today, my mom, sisters and I, to Derby, just south of Wichita. We met my cousins, Sheila and Greg, and Greg’s son Wes, at Aunt Annie’s house. My beautiful aunt passed away this past spring. This will most likely be the last time I visit her house.
One of the powerful experiences that has come out of so many losses this year is that I have spent more time with my cousins. We have determined that it is important to connect, now, rather than gather only during funerals. I am enjoying the reconnections, the laughter, the sharing of stories, the hugs.
We’ve spent a fun day together, doing all of those things, as we sort through the remainder of my aunt’s possessions. My cousins very generously invited my mom, sisters and me to open boxes, look through piles of old photos, and sort through treasures. I took home items for my backyard garden earlier this year and I think of Aunt Annie every time I look at the metal containers holding brightly colored flowers.
I picked up several items today…a crystal vinegar cruet, vintage china, and other small pieces. In the backyard I wandered about, enjoying my aunt’s gardens, admiring the flowers in bloom. In the garden shed, I found an amazing item for my own garden…a large wooden box with faded red paint. It’s perfect to hold terra cotta pots, which I found nestled on shelves.
I’ll save these items for next spring, when I’ll fill the flower pots with an assortment of plants. Herbs would be a great choice. Then I’ll find the right spot in the garden to display this earthy vignette, with its connections to Annie.
I so appreciate my cousins and sisters. They are such gracious, genuine souls. As we chatted and laughed together over dinner tonight, I marveled at the passage of time that has aged us all from rowdy, inquisitive kids…to rowdy, intelligent adults. I’m grateful for my mother as well, with her wisdom and her playful spirit. I am glad to have each as a traveling companion, through the challenges and joys of life’s journey. May we have many more adventures together.