It’s been over two months since my Aunty and Godmother, Julie, passed away.
She was an incredible woman.
She had a presence about her; you always knew when she was in the room.
She was someone you wanted to make proud.
My Aunty was the eldest of eight children and she was every bit the boss and ringleader that you could imagine the eldest of eight would be. She was a big sister to her only one, my mother, and six brothers. She always had her finger on the family pulse, and she never forgot a thing – not a birthday or a special occasion.
I remember when I was young, I would lovingly joke with my sister and cousins and call her the Queen. Not because she acted like one, but because she was honestly so noble and so well put together – in everything from her appearance to demeanour – that she really seemed like one to me.
Since my Aunty’s passing, a few things have surprised me, like; how much you can miss someone that you didn’t even speak to every day or see every week.
Like; how much of a gaping hole and aching silence can be left by one person removed from a large and boisterous family.
And how things, material objects, mean more than the matter they’re made of when they were given to you by someone you loved.
I can’t turn my head in my home without seeing something my Aunty gave me. Teacups, of which I have hundreds. Literally. Gorgeous trinkets and collectable antiques. The garter I wore on my wedding day, which I’m so glad I chose to keep. A fly squatter, of all things. None of them are boring or generic, and she wasn’t either.
I learnt so many things from her, including;
That tea always tastes nicer out of a real china cup; wine and champagne always taste better out of a crystal glass.
To be generous, because you don’t take anything with you.
That you can’t buy style.
To always use the good cutlery.
To develop a keen hawk-eye.
That family comes first.
That any day is a good day to spoil yourself.
That it’s all in the small details.
To always take advantage of a good bargain.
That no summer fruit platter is complete without cherries.
I have learnt that I was lucky to have an Aunty and Godmother like her. That not everyone gets one.
That, in turn, I am lucky to be an Aunty to a beautiful niece. A niece I think of when I buy something nice or do something great. A niece I want to share with, spoil, teach, and one day buy teacups for.
That I understand being an Aunty can swell your heart with so much pride you feel like it might burst.
And that maybe, I did that for her.