In Honour of an Aunt I Never Knew

Today a Dutch aunt of mine I never met passed away. I only know a few things about her. She was a little girl during World War Two, and her family sheltered Jewish children. As a child she used to climb the house with her brother to play on the roof. Their mom, my granny, didn’t mind. When she grew up she did radio shows for children with her husband, and at some point she moved from Holland to France. Like her mother she was full of oomph: an artist with strong opinions.

Sadly, relations between her and the rest if the family were strained and minimal, as some of those opinions were hurtful. Sometimes the wounds of life tear apart even the bond of siblings. War is a traumatic thing to live through.

But what is wonderful is that in her last few weeks, she was positive about everyone. Perhaps she had run out of energy to resent. Perhaps the dazzling light of death put things in perspective.

Whatever the case may be, may the bitterness of past anger be sweetened with the humble realization that we are all, in our own ways, “een beetje gek:” a little bit crazy, a little bit difficult, a little bit prone to making mistakes.

May the impending warmth of Christmas fill our family, and all others, with forgiveness and peace, for as cliché as it sounds, these are surely the best gifts we can give each other.

3 thoughts on “In Honour of an Aunt I Never Knew

  1. Mary Gallagher

    Anna, you’re Dutch! I love what you say about een beetje gek. By the way, although I don’t necessarily respond, I’ve really enjoyed all your posts Thank you! Mary


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