Farewell, Aunt Fran

Yesterday I learned that my Aunt Fran has passed away. Aunt Fran is actually my great aunt, my grandmother’s oldest sister. They were a family of four girls, just like in Little Women. Aunt Fran was Meg, the oldest daughter, responsible and motherly. I felt a connection with Aunt Fran since we were both the eldest of four. My Meme was Amy, the youngest, the rebel, the crazy one. Just like Meine Schwester. And Aunt Louise and Aunt Ginny were somewhere in between.

Meme’s three sisters all left Maine decades ago, but would occasionally come back for a visit. Aunt Ginny we saw the least, but Aunt Fran and Aunt Louise were summer regulars. They would each come for a week or so at a time and drink ice tea and assemble puzzles with Meme on the porch next to the babbling brook. Aunt Louise died years ago and Aunt Ginny passed more recently. For the last few years, it has been just Meme and Aunt Fran.

The thing I remember most about Aunt Fran is that she had a husky voice like a lifetime smoker, but I don’t ever recall seeing her smoke. She was always laughing and smiling. Life was good to her. She was always well dressed and had a way with accessorizing that was classy. Growing up, I could see myself being Aunt Fran when I was older.

The last time I saw Aunt Fran, she had come to visit during the week of Fourth of July when my family all meets by the lake for a week. My Life Parter’s (my sister-in-law’s) family is also part of our recent tradition, and this includes her Gramps. Meme and Gramps met on the dance floor at Sparkles’s wedding when Meme caught the bouquet and Gramps caught the garter. Although there isn’t anything going on between Meme and Gramps, for a week during the summer, I like to imagine what it would be like if they were having an annual tryst.

So two summers ago, when Aunt Fran came to visit, and I saw the three of them sitting at a picnic bench by the lake, I fantasized about how Meme and Aunt Fran were secretly after Gramps. I envisioned them each flirting voraciously, trying to woo him, and the inevitable sisterly battle being fought with smiles that were a little too big and laughs that were a little too loud. And it made me think of what it would be like if Meine Schwester und Ich fought over a guy. (BTW, @clarko, if you are reading this, Meine Schwester asked if she could have you. She is closer to your age.)

I never saw Meme and Aunt Fran fight. They must have. Meine Schwester und Ich can’t go a long weekend without at least one disagreement. Although we are getting better at it, so maybe fifty years from now we will realize that these arguments are petty and just skip past them. But that is the thing with sisters—no matter how much you fight, the bonds of sisterhood just can’t be broken. And in the end, there is nothing but love and admiration. Through life and through death. They will always be there. You will hear her voice in your head telling you that she disagrees, but it is only because she loves you and wants the best for you.

Although Meme’s sisters are now all gone, they live with her still, in her heart and in her mind. They are guiding her decisions whether she asks for their opinion or not. It’s what sisters do.


6 responses to this post.

  1. Dammit woman I am not a lollipop to be passed around the schoolyard!

    Also: I’m sorry for your loss.


  2. Posted by Brother S on February 17, 2010 at 5:57 pm

    Unfortunately I have been witness to that more then any brother should have to.


    • Sparkles, didn’t you almost pay money to watch two girls make out until you realized one of them was your sister?

      And Clarko, look at what you’ve done, drudging up the past like this!


  3. Posted by the sister on February 18, 2010 at 2:05 am

    Why is there all this trash talking about me after the part about how awesome sisters are!?!? Lets go back to the sisters are super cool and always there even if you fight sometimes part of this….


  4. Posted by Barry on February 19, 2010 at 9:49 am

    I’m sorry you lost your Fran.


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