Friday, August 05, 2022

My aunt's passing with a ton of thoughts

On the weekend, my dad got word that his youngest sister, my aunt, had passed away. He has handled her death well. I think our entire family has under the circumstances.

Her funeral was on Wednesday. He attended it. I stayed with my mom at my parents' place. I'm glad that we did this setup. My dad had left food in a microwavable container for my mom to heat up. She never did until I was hungry and went to make some lunch. I noticed that the food remained untouched.

My mom is getting old. Her memory isn't great. I have a feeling that it's affecting her judgment, including heating up food. I did it for her, so she was good.

Families can be dysfunctional. Mine is no different. It has been interesting mourning someone who has not been a huge presence in my life.

When my dad and mom got married, my grandmother (my dad's mom) did not welcome my mom with open arms. There was a coldness and perhaps a distain for my mom. We don't know why.

Because my mom was not liked by her mother-in-law, my dad's two sisters also adopted the same coldness or distain for my mom. I look at that behaviour to be juvenile and ridiculous.

My aunt who passed away was the nicer of the two aunts. Her family (husband and four children) lived a block away from us growing up in Toronto. I recall occasionally getting together with them. My mom said that her children didn't treat me well. Apparently, they liked hitting me over the head. I have no recollection of that action. I ended up being far taller and larger than my cousins, so that nonsense likely stopped quickly.

My mom had to go into the hospital for surgery when I was ten. My aunt came over to babysit while my dad was with her to visit. I came on weekends. My aunt was fine. I remember her asking why I didn't cover my feet with my comforter when I was in bed. I have never done that. I always sleep with my feet poking out of it.

Her questions, like that one, had a tinge of judgment and slight disapproval. It happened a few years later when I was at the drugstore counting my money to buy something. She approached me and made a judgmental comment about the purchase that I was going to make. I ignored it and completed this purchase.

When my grandmother passed away, I flew into Toronto from Winnipeg to pay my respects. Despite knowing that she did not treat my mom nicely and that she wasn't exactly warm to me (she never truly addressed me by my real Chinese name whenever we got together), I felt the need to say goodbye. I put all her uncalled-for grudges against my mom aside to say goodbye to her.

After the funeral and burial, we had lunch at a restaurant. My aunt came over and asked why I was so sad. It was an odd way to start a conversation by making such a remark. It felt like a judgmental statement. Why not start by saying hi? I shot back that we were here for a funeral. It's not like I should be tearing up the dance floor to celebrate her death.

I'm thinking that it's the way that my dad and his siblings grew up. They can't seem to handle communicating with people and it comes out wrong. I have seen my dad do that when conversing, but it's never as horrible as what comes out of his sisters' mouths.

It occurred to me that my dad received more education (a few years) than my aunts. I feel that the lack of education plays a part, too.

Twenty years ago, my aunt and her family moved from Toronto to some city in Malaysia. She passed away in Malaysia a month ago.

She wanted to be buried next to her mom in Toronto. It took a month for her body to be flown back here.

My dad made the remark that his sister and family "must be loaded" to fly her back to her final ressting place. True. However, I'm glad that my parents and I aren't impressed or motivated by wealth.

We aren't rich. We aren't poor. We're content with what we have.

At my grandmother's funeral, when an older cousin asked what I did for a living, he got excited when he learned that I was in IT and worked for IBM. He then started to pay more attention to me and talk to me. I didn't like that at all.

The other thing was that I could speak Cantonese. My cousins on my dad's side (they are my other aunt's children) seemed both surprised envious because they couldn't. When I explained that I took Cantonese all through high school, it silenced them.

It helps to not be judgmental. I didn't really care what they thought about me. Never did. I still don't. 

I like how I have turned out. How my parents have raised me to be a good person because they are.

So, I am at peace with my late aunt. I hope that she rests easy. I am glad that she is reunited with her mom after two decades being apart.


  1. I'm sorry to hear that you lost a relative. It's hard to lose anyone, regardless of the circumstances. So, you have my condolences, and hope for better times ahead.

    1. Thanks so much. I appreciate your kind words.