My Aunt Cathy with (from left) Joey, Nicky, Me, and Julie

Dear Aunt Cathy,

When I got the call last night that you passed away I felt a surge of emotion.  On one hand I felt grateful for all the time I got to spend with you over the years and for the fact that you were no longer suffering.  On the other hand, I felt saddened by time we didn’t get to share and by the emptiness we all feel when we lose someone we love.

To me, Aunt Cathy, you were the epitome of strength.  In some ways you reminded me of my mother:  the way you smiled through the pain and your intense unconditional love.  I’m sorry I didn’t call more often as I grew older.

I have many fond memories of you. The funniest was when y’all stayed with us in Florida.  I couldn’t have been more that seven.  You needed cigarettes and my parents weren’t home.  Like a mother duck and her ducklings, we followed you down the road to the gas station.  We were getting bit by mosquitoes so you told us to wave our arms.  All of us in a row, walking and waving maniacally.  Hilarious.

I remember Thanksgiving 1995.  It was my first Thanksgiving away from my family, my first Thanksgiving in NYC as a seventeen year old girl (who thought she was grown).  My best friend, Karen flew in from Houston to spend it with me.  We went to your apartment and ate the best mashed potatoes ever.  You were overjoyed to have us there.  You doted on us, making us feel incredibly special.

I spent a lot of time with you in 2001.  Joe and I used to come over so I could teach Ryan how to play his keyboard (I can’t believe he’s 16 now!).  I loved how after I’d teach Ryan, I’d get to spend time with you.  We had so many talks.  You were worried about me because I partied too hard.  In my idealistic way I explained that I needed to try everything once, that I needed to live in the moment because there may not be a tomorrow.  My how things have changed.

I wish you could’ve met my husband.  He’s so good to me, Aunt Cathy.  He treats me like a princess, communicates exceptionally well, and has an amazing relationship with God.  He’s not too bad on the eyes either.  LOL!  You would love him.

Aunt Cathy, I just want to thank you for being an inspiration to me.  You were sick for so long, yet you always kept a smile on your face.  (It was a great smile, too.)  You fought a good fight.  Though we’ll miss you, I know you’re no longer in pain and that gives me some relief.  I also know you’re with my mother now which means I have an extra guardian angel watching over me at night.  I love you.

Always,

Liani O.

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