My Aunt Henrietta passed away last night. She was 103 years old and went peacefully, in her sleep. She was my father’s sister and lived even longer than most. My dad’s side just goes on and on. He’s 90 and just warming up. He’s sad, though, after losing his sister.
Aunt Hank was a powerful woman, small and stout with a booming voice and a knack for story-telling. I was terrified of her when I was a kid – she was so big and I was so small. That sorted itself out as I grew older and, after a while, she became my second grandmother. She’d come over for Easter, Christmas and at other times. She drove when she was able, then one of us would come to pick her up when she got too old for that. We used to get home-knitted presents, things like mittens, caps and Christmas decorations. She was not one to spend money, but she was very good with a pair of knitting needles.
She gave me a stuffed monkey when I was a kid. It was some type of sock monkey, with a tail I used to swing around. Man, that monkey put up with a lot and never once came undone. My sister had one, too, for a matched set.
I still have some rather odd looking Christmas decorations she made for us and every year I put them out, because they were from Aunt Hank. I’ll definitely put them up this year.
So long, Aunt Hank. You lived long and strong and went on your own terms. You had a nice visit with family, ate your dinner, went to bed and left this world. I’m sure you’ll be handing out sock monkeys and telling stories that that booming voice of yours at your next destination, wherever that may be! I’ll love you always.