I haven’t written here for awhile because my aunt passed away suddenly and all I want to do is curl up in a ball and die, cry, lie in bed and be alone.

I suppose this is the grieving process.

I thought about including a picture of her, but couldn’t bring myself to do it. Something about it feels cheap and contrived. I don’t want strangers looking at her, this person who meant so much to me but nothing to them.

It’s good to have someone who knows you; who sees you and quietly acknowledges you. I keep thinking about how I felt standing in her kitchen, squishy carpet beneath my bare feet, when she opened a tupperware container and handed me a tiny turnover that fit in the palm of my hand. When I bit into it, it was cherry, my favorite, even though I didn’t know it yet because my mom refused to bake with cherries. She hated them. I’d mentioned to my aunt that I’d really like to try a cherry turnover, that I thought cherry pies looked good. She had remembered that simple conversation for months. I can still see the look on her face, how her eyes lit up seeing my eyes light up after that first bite. I was nine.

Nothing prepares you for death or how it feels in the aftermath, a person left behind.

All my childhood memories have returned with a vengeance; rich, strong, burning my nostrils, gouging my heart. Campfires at camp sites hours from home, my aunt boiling perogies over an open fire. My mom and her sisters hoisting my grandma by the back of her pants into her deep freeze to dig out homemade cinnamon buns and containers of jam, the four of them laughing hysterically. The royal blue and black shag rug in my aunt’s ultimate 70’s styled basement. How she always fixed the twin beds up in the bedroom for me and my mom when we slept over on shopping trips. The hula girl toilet paper holder in the bathroom down the hall, the one her sister-in-law brought back from a trip to Hawaii. How she and my uncle let me take over their tv room for Friday the 13th marathons, sneaking up from behind at just the right time to scare me so bad I screamed like a banshee. Their turquoise vintage car and how my aunt looked driving up with the top down, scarf tied around her hair, getting out in a perfectly poufy skirt and heels. She made the best handmade chocolates, but could also drive stick.

She filled a deep void for all of us when my grandma died very young, leaving our family in shambles.

She was always there for me.

Why was I waiting three days to call my aunt on her birthday?

Why didn’t I just call her that day when she kept crossing my mind?

I’ll spend the rest of my life thinking about it, regretting it terribly.

Thinking, thinking, thinking.

The only place I can find her now.