Sunday, September 6, 2009

You Can Call Me Trudy

Like most people, I have an aunt... a few aunts to be honest (I think it's the most "normal" thing about me! Kidding... sort of *smile*) but one aunt in particular I've only met a few times in my life. Aunt Trudy. The first time was when I was 7 years old, my family and I flew out to New York to attend my cousins wedding. It was a week of firsts for me, first time traveling out of Canada, the first time seeing the Statue of Liberty, first time eating a NY style street pretzel, the first time I saw pink vomit and the first time I lost a tooth.

I had been wiggling it with my tongue for weeks; back and forth and back and forth- it was basically dangling from some type of invisable, magical string in my mouth. I was scared of it because I remember one girl in school who had lost her tooth, she bled. There was a lot of blood and honestly it kind of grossed me out. I was scared to let go of that tooth but I just couldn't avoid playing with it with my tongue.

It was the night of my cousins engagement party and there were (what felt like to me at the time) hundreds of people scattered about my Aunt and Uncles house. I was wandering around looking for someone to play with all the while wiggling my tooth back and forth and back and forth... then all of the sudden *POP!* out came my tooth! I was shocked! I instantly felt around my mouth with my tongue and felt a new little hole where there use to be a tooth- and no blood! Aunt Trudy who had taken quite and interest in me and my tooth while I was there was the first person I thought of to share this exciting news! For me, this was my first major achievement! Running over to her I told her what had happened between shrieks and giggles, she picked me up and swung me around as she shared in my moment of joy. Taking me into the kitchen she grabbed me a small and large Ziploc bag- one for my tooth (the small one) and one for money (the big one.). To this day, I don't know how I had the guts to do this- she told me that I was expected to go around to every guest at the party and ask for money because I'd lost my first tooth and that was a "big deal". As I think back I'm actually a bit embarrassed that I had the gull to do this- but confident as your typical 7 year old and high off the excitement of becoming a woman (I felt very mature with my newly acquired Jack-o-lantern smile)I mooched off every guest there!

I don't remember how much money I collected but it seemed like millions at the time. In a world where I had often felt invisible Aunt Trudy had given me a moment in which I felt like I mattered. It sticks out for me and I remember how special I had felt. Since then I have only seen her 2 other times- once when my grandfather passed away and another time when she and my uncle came up to Calgary to visit. She had always seemed full of life, a vivacious woman who drank martini's, smoked cigarettes and tanned her body a golden brown. Unlike the other adults in my life she paid special attention to me, making it OK to be loud and messy (which I might add now I've fully embarrassed now.). Making it comfortable to be a child.

It wasn't until the last year that I've actually reconnected with my Aunt Trudy. Life got busy and between the distance and everything else life just sort of marched a long. It wasn't until I got an email from my mum did I know that Trudy was sick with cancer. From that point forward it's been important to me to stay connected with my aunt and uncle. A few weeks ago the doctors told my Uncle that Trudy only had a few weeks to a few months left to live. The cancer had taken over her body despite the aggressive chemo therapy she's undergone. I'm not really sure what else to do except be there for her and my uncle.

It's a rather uncomfortable feeling wanting to do something but not knowing where to begin.
Picture borrowed from Squid Angel

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