I don’t remember much about my Aunt Jupe. I only saw her on occasion and she was almost always associated with my great-grandmother. She seemed such a wonderful, vibrant, and almost intimidating woman. She was direct, strong, and brutally honest. I remember being a little afraid of her when I was little, not so much because I thought she was going to be mean or anything. I was just afraid of sounding stupid or just not being anything worth her time. I had a really low self-esteem back then.
When Corde was little we met up with her again at my aunt’s house. I could have listened to her tell stories for hours. She went on and on about family history and her stories from the highland games. I could have listened for hours. There’s just something about hearing a fantastic story teller spin a tale. They can go on and on about even the most boring of things and you’re still caught up in the fantastic tale. Then again, Aunt Jupe’s stories were anything but boring.
For the past five years I’ve kept telling myself I want to move back home and her stories were one of the reasons. I wanted my children to grow up with these fantastic stories she told. I wanted them to have this wonderful experience I wish I’d taken better advantage of. I wanted to hear the stories too.
This morning Aunt Jupe passed away. She finally gave in to her fourth battle with cancer. From what I hear she was still in good spirits right to the end. She truly is an inspiration. I just wish I’d taken more of an opportunity to get to know her, to know her stories so I could pass them on to my own children. I felt the same way with my grandfather and my great-grandmother. They both had so many stories to tell, but I didn’t listen, or maybe didn’t pay attention. I can’t even begin to express how much I regret not taking more notice when I had the chance.
There’s a lesson here in all of this, don’t take anything for granted. You would have thought I’d have learned that after losing another friend to cancer earlier in the year. I’m starting to realize the people who come into your lives are all gifts, even though some of them may be a lot more of a challenge than others. Everyone has something to give, and if you wait too long to recognize it, they might just be gone before you have a chance to truly appreciate what they have to offer.