I suppose this whole chain of events began when I tried to contact my Auntie Micki. I lost touch with her after dad passed away. While I loved her dearly, she would keep me on the phone literally for hours, no matter what I said (I have to go in 15 minutes; I’m meeting someone for coffee; the apartment is on fire). After a while, I just stopped calling.
She was a friend of my father’s. They met on the Aquitania and kept in touch – she was a war bride and he was a war groom. When she divorced, she moved from BC to Winnipeg, living with us until I was 18. She moved to Toronto to be close to her son. Because my mother and I did not speak the same language, during my turbulent teens, Auntie Mick talked and listened (well mostly talked), but it was always about the theatre, her war adventures, books, and movies – topics unrelated to teen angst and mother battles.
In October, around Thanksgiving and just after my father’s birthday, I wondered how she was, what she was up to. I finally located her phone number but it was disconnected. I didn’t have a number for her son; so I did an internet search. It turns out she passed away about a year after my father on Oct. 22, 2012. I felt bad that I had let her slip away – she encouraged my writing efforts and gave me some insights into what it meant to be a creative person.
Recently I’ve been focussing on self-care, self-realization, and self-confidence. Part of my mindful healing journey is doing a set of simple inner child exercises once a week. Last week, I had just completed the retroactive feelings part of the set when this memory reintroduced itself with such a sharp jab I actually gasped out loud.
In 1984 (what a great year for an English major to graduate!) I graduated from Trinity Western University. After returning to Winnipeg, I kept expecting a party, a gift, cards, something. But the only person who ended up acknowledging this particular milestone in my life was Auntie Mick – she sent $10.00 enclosed in a beautiful card. Of course, being a person who has a hard time figuring out what I want, the money wasn’t spent on anything specific.
The memory kept clamouring for closure, restitution, action, something. Over the course of several weeks, it became clear I wanted a graduation present. I kept ignoring the impulse. Once I admitted that I wanted an actual gift, I scolded myself for being ridiculous. Just out of curiosity, I Googled what $10.00 in 1984 would be worth today. I considered some options – since my aunt and I both loved reading and she was the one who introduced me to long soaks in the tub, I settled on a book and some bubble bath. And then I talked myself out of such a ludicrous adventure.
I finally decided I didn’t care how ridiculous it was. Today, in celebration of completing all Christmas related purchases, chores and errands, I went to a downtown bookstore and browsed their remainder section until I found two hardcovers that looked interesting. Then it was off to the beauty section of a nearby drugstore where I purchased a bottle of lavender Epsom salt foaming bath. I’d never heard of foaming Epsom salts before. Perfect – Auntie Mick was a dancer.