My aunt died. I didn’t know her well. Her husband, my uncle, married later than most in the 1960s, and I was in high school by the time of the wedding. Both sides of my family came from households with ten kids. My parents’ nine siblings married, and that gave me quite a few aunts and uncles—to say nothing of first cousins. This latest aunt to enter eternal life was quite shy, but always very cordial in voice and eyes. Before she came into our family, her husband was a long-time bachelor. We kids thought he’d never marry. Living in the same hometown as my mother, this bachelor uncle would often stop by during the day. Did he smell lunch? Was he lonely or seeking advice? Maybe all these. Or was it a special bond between my uncle and my mother that I could sense? I never asked, and I wish now that I had investigated what my mom and my uncle were like when they were kids. Did they do the things that we nieces did on his farm like gather hickory nuts and skate in the ditch?
It’s been two days now since my aunt’s death, and I imagine the loneliness my uncle feels. Perhaps he’ll turn once again to his favorite sister (now deceased). “Hey, we need to talk.”