My family means the world to me, so losing any one of them is one of the hardest things in the world to deal with, especially when the loss is completely unexpected. After losing my grandad back in March, I never imagined that I’d have to say a final goodbye to another one of my family members this year, but just under three months later, that is what happened.
Yesterday, I was shocked to the core to the learn of the death of my Aunty Joce. With my grandad, I at least had some time to prepare for his death after witnessing his battle with illness, but with my aunty it came out of the blue. I keep on replaying the moment I was told that she died over and over again, because it doesn’t seem real to me. It’s like we’re all in a bad dream and I just want us to wake up out of it. Now, all we have is memories.
Some of my most treasured memories with my Aunty Joce are from my childhood. I loved going round to her maisonette nearby and sleeping over. I remember sitting down to watch TV with her or reading Cinderella on her sofa. I also liked when she would do my hair, as it would always look really pretty and extremely neat. I’ll never forget the time she plaited my hair when my mum was a way, and then put the plaits into two bunches with my favourite hairbands.
My aunty later moved further away, so I saw her less than before, which made every event spent with her a priceless experience. You could always count on her being the funny one – I know that family gatherings will be missing a lot of laughs without her. Her quick wit and dry comments never failed to make me laugh, and watching her interact with my grandma was a hilarious source of entertainment.
I also enjoyed going to my aunty’s house, because she was so hospitable. She always did what she could to ensure you were comfortable, whether that was through giving you a blanket or a pair of slippers. If my Aunty Joce knew you were coming, she made sure there was food prepared and you would not be disappointed, because she was a real good cook – I used to love her delicious macaroni pie. I’ll always remember her offering me and my sister a hot drink when we were at her house one evening and saying that we should have a decaf cappuccino she bought at the pound shop, because she thought that they were “very nice”, and you know what, she was right.
Of course, you can’t be hospitable without being caring, which my Aunty Joce was. When she heard about my grandad, she ensured that she messaged me to show her support. And when my dad broke his foot, she took the greatest care of him, which I will forever be grateful for.
My aunty also had a real sense of style. It was great to see the different hats she wore and the different handbags she carried to match her outfits, but more than anything, it was about her reading glasses. I recall being at my Aunty Joce’s house one day and her showing me and my sister the collection of reading glasses that she had. When I commented that she had so many, she told me that it was so they could go with different outfits. Green, purple, black – the glasses came in numerous colours, usually with diamantes on the sides or along the rim. There was also this very compact pair, which I was amused and a little confused by, but she simply said that they were good for carrying in a small handbag.
My aunty was a gem who will be greatly missed, but she will always be in my heart and I am grateful for all of the memories I have. I love you always and forever, Aunty Joce, and I hope to see you on that great day when Jesus comes again. May you rest in peace.