This is a photo of my aunt Mary. July always reminds me of the family that I lost after a series of unfortunate events. Funny how, although we slip on the mask of normalcy and plaster on a smile, deep down those wounds are still raw and they seep through when triggered.
Summer heat, families laughing together, little kids cradling their hands in the palms of their aunts or mothers remind me of when I was little and Aunt Mary would give me her hot oatmeal cookies. I remember those large dark eyes like onyx mirrors studying me as if I puzzled her. She’d tilt her chin and bless me with that smile of hers. I still can smell the sweet scent of raisins and cinnamon as she placed a cookie in the palm of my hand and folded her hand over mine.
Yes, summer takes me back to sweet watermelon sliced open by my daddy, the pink juice dripping onto the table cloth. Aunt Mary, Aunt Myrtle, Aunt Eltrum, Aunt Gladys, and Aunt Sally all gathered around along with my uncles Bill, Carlton, and Bo, around the picnic table outside in the yard. That blistering Georgia sun never stopped us; we didn’t have an air conditioner, so we didn’t really care. The heat, the sense of belonging, the sweetness of watermelon and oatmeal raisin cookies are memories that return to me in the middle of summer. It has been nearly fifty years since it all ended with trauma that left an indelible wound deep inside my soul.
Over the decades I have managed the loss by reminding myself that one day I will be reunited with my aunts and my uncles, my parents and my siblings in that eternal paradise where there will be no sorrow, where death will be defeated.
Yes, summer reminds me of that wound I carefully cover beneath a mask of normalcy. Truthfully, I hurt from the magnitude of the loss.
I get through this pain by reminding myself that there is a paradise in which God will give me rest and where I will be reunited with those whom I loved more than life itself.
Jenny W. Andrews copyright 2022