I remember a phone call that came in the evening of a cold January day. My mom was on the other line. Her older sister who lived in Israel was getting the results of her tests that day. For a few months she’d been having problems with her memory, headaches and balance problems. I don’t remember what words my mom used, all I remember is sliding to the floor and crying. Cancer. Brain tumor. Large.
When I was growing up, I saw my aunt M every few months. She still lived in the city capital of our county, Vinnitsa, the same city mom grew up in and lived in until she married my father. We would always go to her family’s apartment, where she would load us on food, and I would get lost in all the books while the adults talked. My aunt was a reader, just like mom and me. I remember this one visit where I came to stay with her for a whole week! On my own! And of course I got sick and got sent home early because she couldn’t take care of me because of her job schedule but anyway. I just sat around with aunt M while she showed me family photos and read to me: Little Prince, Moomi Troll. Whenever she stepped out the room, I would sneakily open the glass doors of the bookshelves and peak at her grown up books. I loved aunt M’s collection…..
Aunt M died three months after getting diagnosed. Her tumor was inoperable. By the time she passed April 17, 2005, I was just happy she was no longer in pain. My heart bled for three months she was dying. I remember her voice, I remember her smell so like mom’s, I remember her books, and her love. I never stop missing the days when she shared her everything with me. I love you.
Aunt M, me, and mom on the eve of her move to Israel.
From the fingertips of Eugenia S