Ring the Bells

(This is what I read at the celebratory mass we had for Aunt Barb today.)

On the morning of January 8, I received a text from my dad informing me that Aunt Barb had passed away. That took a minute to sink in and then tears burst from my eyes.

The news wasn’t a surprise. We all knew the day was coming. For a few years, I’d been hearing about Barb’s declining health. In November, the word came that Barb’s time was preciously short and we needed to say our goodbyes.

Even so, you’re never really prepared to lose someone you love. Aunt Barb was an important person in my life. She had an impact on me as she did on many others who knew her. I know she was there for some of my cousins, and I know she was like a second mother to her younger brothers and sisters.

In my eyes, Aunt Barb was like a queen. She carried herself with dignity and she had an air of authority about her. But she was never demanding. She was kind, patient and understanding, and she talked to you in a way that made you feel respected. There were times when she stayed with us while my parents were out playing band gigs. We played card and board games, and laughed a lot.

Barb and I lived in the same building for a couple years. She had an apartment on the ground floor and I had an apartment on the second floor. We saw each other a lot during that time. When Uncle Gary moved into the building, Barb and I helped him with things. Gary called us his guardian angels.

I would like to think that’s what Barb is now, that she’s watching over us and she’ll always be with us in spirit.