A Tribute to an Extraordinary Woman


When I met my husband nearly 20 years ago, I was welcomed into a large family that I have come to love as my own. When I met Ray’s Aunt Bobbi as a 16-year-old, she was everything that I wanted to be. She was gorgeous, flawless skin and manicured everything. She was brilliant, an OR nurse known for her expertise. She was independent, if she wanted something she either bought it or built it. She was an artist, creating paintings, photos, stained glass and more. She was mysterious, a Vietnam Veteran who believed in ghosts and reincarnation. She was simply put, awe-inspiring and she spoke to me like I was on her level, even though I was an awkward and pimply teenager with very little self-confidence.

Over the years, Aunt Bobbi and I bonded over many things. We discussed our family histories in great detail. Her parents were German Jews who fled the Nazi’s in World War II. Her father would return as a spy for the Allied Forces, brushing close to death many times. We would share wine coolers and skincare tips as the rest of my husband's family were fishing out on the bay. I would ask her medical questions during pharmacy school, and later as a parent. I would share my fears about parenthood, and she would always tell me I was doing a great job. She would share with me her regrets about being exposed to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War and how it prevented her from pursuing parenthood, herself. Therefore, her maternal energy was focused on her dogs, which were many and spoiled. 

When we got news that Aunt Bobbi was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, my husband and I were devastated at the prospect of watching such a beautiful and bright mind dim over time. I had many conversations with her as she began to live the reality of on-setting dementia. We would sit on the beach in Fortescue, NJ like we had so many times, only this time it was her who was sharing her fears and I trying to reassure and console. She would always thank me for talking with her as she got older, as if the privilege wasn’t all mine. 

She fought the disease for over 8 years, even though she had an aggressive variant. I tell myself that a mind that robust takes time to erase, but it’s little consolation. Aunt Bobbi left us last week, and perhaps the only consolation is that she is whole again, unravaged by the devastation that is Alzheimer’s. Perhaps she will be reincarnated, as she believed. Wherever she is now, I do hope that she is at peace and feels the love I’m sending to the other side. She had more of an impact on me than I think either of us realized while she was still with us.


Popular posts from this blog

Hello Kevin

Sean Higgins Kane

Living With Anxiety