My Beautiful Aunt Gilda died on her birthday, yesterday at 2:00 PM. She passed with amazing grace, and my personal loss is deep. You see, my Aunt was a caring mother to me in every way. I was blessed to have her as a role model, a mentor, a confidante and a source of unconditional love.
Aunts have the power to play that kind of role in the lives of their nieces and nephews. They have the power to fill what otherwise might have been an empty space, a void, in the life of a child. My Auntie stepped up to that fill that space for me and I am all the better for it. She’s wearing the captain’s hat in the picture; she would guide me through a lot of stormy weather and she never abandoned ship.
Perhaps the most beautiful gift my aunt bestowed upon my was my name. My birth name is Elena, but it was my Aunt always who always endearingly called me “Ellie”. When I turned 18, she took me with her, my Uncle and my cousin on a trip to Italy. She just about let me run wild there. It was a life transforming trip and I returned back to the states as “Ellie” forevermore.
Thank you Aunt Gilda for my name, for being My Captain and for the gift of your love. I will feel for you in the space around me. I know you are right there. RIP