The Sparkle in Her Eyes: Remembering my Aunt Lupe

23456We had a rather somber weekend. It began pleasantly enough but by mid Saturday afternoon it became apparent that it was not going to be a good one. A text from my sister informed me that my aunt had taken a turn for the worse and might not make it through the weekend. I was blown away. Everything was happening much too quickly. Just two days earlier it had been confirmed that her cancer had returned and spread throughout her body, worse yet, there was no treatment option. I was still trying to get my head around that when on Friday we were told that she had weeks, possibly a few months at best, of life remaining, and now a turn for the worse. A few hours after my sisters first text I received another saying that my aunt’s kidneys had failed, two hours later she was gone.

It’s been a few days now and I’m still blown away by it all. Just this past winter she had undergone cancer surgery and in January been given a clean bill of health. Four months later she’s gone. Amazing. I’ve long held that “when it’s your time it’s your time,” still, her death is shocking. My aunt lived a good full life and a long one. She passed at the ripe old age of  ##. Yeah I’d love to tell you her exact age but like her two sisters who passed before her, (my mom and my aunt Lucy) she always kept the year of her birth a closely guarded secret. I fear that if I reveal her true age, especially in writing, she would not be happy and probably haunt me til the end of my days, best not to chance it.

Yeah those Morales sisters were sure funny about the age thing. Once my mom even got a ticket for defacing her license because she had scratched out her year of birth. I’m not sure how secretive my aunt Carmen is about her age, she’s the youngest of the four sisters which may make her a little more progressive on the issue I don’t know, I’ve never had occasion to ever hear her discussing age. Strange, where once there were four there remains only one. My aunt Carmen is now the lone remaining sister.

My aunt Lupe was an extraordinary woman. With a smile on her face and a sparkle in her eyes she faced life head on with courage and determination. And believe me she relied on every ounce of it because life challenged her every step of the way. In her lifetime she faced medical issues, family situations,  buried her father, mother, brother, husband, two sisters and her only daughter yet she managed to come through relatively unscathed. That’s not to say that she didn’t have her dark and down moments, she did, as we all do, but through the grace of God she was always able to rebound sometimes slowly, but slow and steady wins the race.

I love my three aunts. Each of them is special to me in their own way but truth be told aunt Lupe was my favorite. I’m sure it was her free spirited attitude and optimistic slant on life that I admired most. She was a rebel. She was the funny one, the loud one and she had an incredible laugh. She was never afraid to be herself or felt that she had to put on airs, she always told it like it was. Yeah, she was who she was and proud of it! And she was so expressive, her facial expressions where killer especially when she was excited. It was a joy to watch her in action especially when she was singing and playing the piano which she loved to do. My aunt embraced life with energy and passion. She will be sorely missed.

Perhaps you may be wondering why I received updates about my aunts condition via text or phone call instead of being at the hospital. Well I just couldn’t bring myself to go see her in those final hours. I really wanted to go but couldn’t. It’s like my wife says, I don’t do death well and I really don’t. I simply didn’t want my final image of her to be a sad one. I couldn’t stand to see that sparkle in her eyes dim and fade away. I wasn’t there because I choose to remember her as she was, laughing, singing and embracing life. a true lover of life!  Yes that was my aunt Lupe. I’m sorry for not being there, but she will always be with me. She touched my life deeply, her song will play on forever in my heart. Her attitude towards life will always be an inspiration. I will never forget her big heart, gentle smile or her big brown expressive eyes that sparkled so when she spoke. I know she’s now singing and dancing with the angels.

May she rest in peace…



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