It was her laugh. It was her smile. It was the way she told funny stories. It was my Auntie Lizzie.
Years ago, when she still lived in a California, on occasion I’d help her watch her two boys, my cousins, Jimmy and Tommy. And as a thank you she gave me a t-shirt with Timon and Pumbaa from the Lion King. And whenever I cross paths with the t-shirt, I remember.
My sister and I were lucky enough to spend a summer with her and the family, after they moved to Montana. That summer I practiced driving in her Volvo, shuttling my sister and cousins to the mall for ice cream or to the museum near the university. And it’s moments like those that I’ll always remember. Her laugh. Her smile. The way she told terribly embarrassing stories, even if it was about her.
Her life ended too soon with a battle against cancer, and I can hardly believe that yesterday marked ten years. And while she wasn’t physically in attendance at our wedding, I know that she was there in spirit. I believe that it was her gentle orchestration that the entire family came together.
Her boys, my cousins, are the two in the back. Tommy has the black striped shirt, and Jimmy has the light shirt with the black tie. And they tower over me. Like, by a full head and some shoulders. Jimmy started college this year, which not only makes me feel old, but also blows me away. I still think of him and Tommy as little kids running on the Slip ‘n Slide in their backyard in Montana, eating blueberry muffins at the kitchen counter, and having wrestling matches in the living room.
My Auntie Mimi put together this slideshow of photos. And every time I watch it, tears roll down, and I remember her. Her heart of gold. Her genuine spirit. Her love of life. And the importance of photos. To remember. To cherish. To treasure.
We love you, Auntie Lizzie. We will never forget you.
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