Dedicated to my late Aunt Phyl with love
Despite her advanced stages of lung to brain cancer my beloved Aunt Phyl was right there in the front seat of her cousin’s van to meet me at the Orlando airport.
Her face was bruised from the fall in the shower but her eyes glowed with love as she reached out to give me hugs and to whisper “I’m so happy you came!” For a lovely week we talked, laughed and just enjoyed each other’s company. I think we both knew without saying it out loud that this would be
The last time we shared together.
My aunt Phyl , as described in my book Swimmin’ Women , published in 2008, “developed a zesty sense of humour and generous spirit that kept bouncing back throughout her life”. During my last week with her in 2016 she was still feisty, funny and independent as we shared time together.
She wondered out loud “Why am I still here?” I would answer “Because you inspire all of us.” Aunt Phyl passed away ten days after I returned home.
Connecting with family and friends whether they are healthy or ill can leave us feeling both challenged and vulnerable as they have seen us in many situations that those who know us only briefly sometimes miss.
Three suggestions that might help:
- Speak your love out loud simply, genuinely and frequently.
- Honour both their rights and yours to be independent in what they do, what they share and when they choose to be silent. Quietly and calmly assert your own rights to be treated with respect .
- Show compassion for their victories, their challenges and their hopes and dreams by listening without interrupting and asking questions when appropriate. Share your own triumphs and challenges, your own goals so they too can be the givers of compassion.