Saying Goodbye

Aunt Eleanor Morris circa 1946

It’s my last night in Chicago. My Chitown Bestie and I have been with our Aunt for days now using color coded stickies to remind us–pack, donate, trash, hold for this person or that person. We discover clothes from Marshall Field’s still with the tags on.  As we pack her home, I sense this could be the last time I will see her alive. Sometimes, I hate having a sixth sense.  I love this woman dearly. She taught me a level of sass and class I didn’t know existed in my family. She gave me some of the best one-liners, like “Fall in love but always keep a little bit of money just for you.”  She’s beautiful and in her hardness, she’s also showing me the importance of forgiveness as I watch so much that is unforgiven between she and some of the family.  It pains me when she brings it up. What’s so hard about just letting things go I wonder?  She’s letting go of furniture and of things but not of the 65 year old transgressions. She tells the stories again like they are fresh and new. They’re not. I listen like I’ve never heard them before and I have. But, really I’m just staring at her face, remembering every inch of it. The high cheekbones, the bright eyes that are a little less bright on this trip, the way she purses her lips together when she’s preparing to make what she thinks will be a salient point. “The mind, Tajamika. Man only has power over his mind.” I love her wisdom. And I’m going to miss it.

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