In loving memory of my aunt Margaret

I have always said that this blog would not only be a way for friends and family to follow what I'm doing, but also as an outlet for me to write what's on my mind. So in this post, I am going to attempt to capture my feelings about the passing of someone very close to my heart. Someone magnificent. Someone I had just started to develop a real relationship with. Someone, I assumed, would be around for years to come and who I'd have the opportunity to grow closer to. 

As I sat down to write this post, I wasn't sure where to start. You see, while we were away enjoying the sun, sand and easy flow of fun, a tragedy struck our family. My aunt- who was still very young at heart and had a lot of life to live- was taken from us suddenly. We were forced, while thousands of miles away, to process the news; to compartmentalize and move on vacationing. How did we do? I'd say as well as could be expected.

For those wondering, I will give a brief explanation of what happened.

Last Monday night, my Aunt Margaret was out playing cards with friends. Her neighbor (who was in the card game) wasn't feeling well so she suggested they head home. Once they got home, she brought her neighbor inside, went home and went to sleep. The next morning her neighbor was unable to reach her so she sent her husband over to check on her. When he went inside-  he found her in her bed.

Upon investigation it was discovered that when she got home the night before, she had forgotten to turn her car off and was killed by carbon monoxide in her sleep. We don't know most of the details but from what we've been able to piece together, an unfortunate chain of events led to a sad and tragic accident. Not sickness, or recklessness or even old age- just an accident, something you can't prepare for, no matter how hard you try. 

My aunt Margaret was 11 years older than my dad. Growing up she lived out on long island and we'd get together for holidays- the occasional thanksgiving, and most hannukah's and passovers. I don't know all the details but family is family and there was tension. So as years passed by, we spent fewer holidays on the island and often spent them with my mom's family. In recent years we have started to come together again, celebrating hannukah together every year and trying to see each other whenever there was a celebration. It's been nice having my dad's side of the family in my life again and over the last 6 months, I've been able to spend more time with aunt Margaret. We've shared happy times and sad, and she even accompanied me on an apartment hunting excursion last summer. For the first time, I felt like I had her as my aunt. It was a wonderful feeling and one that I am so glad I had, even though it was fleeting.

Over the last few days I've been having a particularly hard time. A harder time than I've had with the death of anyone else in my family. I've been lucky in that my grandparents on my mother's side are still alive and most other relatives whom I've lost have been old or sick and while their passing was sad- it wasn't tragic. This experience is completely different. I find myself feeling angry, gipped, frustrated. HOW could this have happened? Is a question that crosses my mind multiple times a day. 

It is hard to explain the way I feel now that she is gone. I'm sad, but I think it's in a different way than many of my other family members. While I am sad for times passed, I am more sad for the times we will not get to have. For the closeness that will never get to develop between us and for the feeling of unfinished business that I haven't been able to shake. I'm sad that I will never get to know aunt Margaret beyond what I already did and that I won't get to learn about who she was as a person and what her life was like growing up. But mostly I'm sad that the relationship we had just begun, was so tragically cut short.

It's impossible to make sense of accidents. We don't know why they happen or what we can do to prevent them. We ask ourselves "why us?" and often the truth is, there is no rhyme or reason.

My aunt Margaret was an elegant, caring, passionate, and devoted woman. She put her family above everyone else and was always there to support you. She never judged and somehow, always understood what you were going through. Her hugs were the best in the world and her gifts were always perfectly on point. She was genuine and kind. She was rare. She was stylish and organized (qualities that i'm only now really learning we shared) and she will be missed every single day.

It's hard to take lessons from things so sad or see the positive side of things when they seem so unfair, but aunt Margaret wouldn't want us to be angry, or bitter. She'd want us to find the lesson in this and figure out what we could do to help others. She was selfless that way. So, check your carbon monoxide detectors, double check your cars and don't take anyone in your life foregranted- aunt Margaret would insist.