When I entered my husband's family landscape about 10 years ago (then as the "girlfriend"), Aunt Flo was an interesting family fixture. She seemed even at that point to be on death's doorstep, at least at first glance. Bit when you talked to her, she was alert, and as soon as she smiled, it was obvious that she was very much alive, despite the fact that her body seemed to be completely giving up on her. Since then, she has been on a slow decline, but much slower than many of us anticipated. This woman is a fighter, and according to family who were with her at the end, that spark burned brightly till the very end.
I had the pleasure of looking through some old family photo's yesterday as the family gathered to comfort one another. She was a beautiful young woman with an uncanny resemblance (IMHO) to Tori Spelling. She lived till the ripe age of 89, so there were plenty of pictures, but the oldest ones were the most interesting. I got to see pictures of my husband's great grandmother who was 100% hispanic/ native american. I heard stories about how Aunt Connie, Flo's sister, worked for JFK in the White house (there's a picture of her, in fact, documenting this fact which is quite fascinating). Flo had four sisters, in fact, one of which is Brian's grandmother, Fifi. These women are true forces to be reckoned with, no doubt. Fifi, at the forever-young age of 87, wakes up between 4-5 am and goes to the pool to swim several miles every day. From there, she goes to visit her husband, who is buried at the Fort Logan military cemetery.
Until Flo's death, four of the five sisters were still living. All four of them have outlived their husbands, some by decades. It's quite a legacy.
My heart goes out to the family she leaves behind, especially her children and grandchildren. If the pictures of her life showed anything, it was that she lived a full and gratifying life- most of us can only hope to be so surrounded by love.