I buried my favorite aunt today. Man, how I loved — still love — her. I shared with my family how I have serious feelings of regret. One of my cousins let me know that my aunt wasn’t doing well. A month ago. I should have dropped everything to go to her, just talk to her. The memories I have of my childhood include her in nearly every frame. I will miss her even though over the years I didn’t do my duty toward staying in touch. I will always regret that. I know that she knew I loved her, but I didn’t tell her. I should have told her.

The day served as a reminder to tell people how I feel about them, especially family. Even though she had been ill, her death was still a blow. Just think: none of us is guaranteed another day. It would be worse to leave the world more unexpectedly than she did. It takes no time to pick up the phone and say I love you.

My favorite memory of her is Thanksgiving. Every Thanksgiving. No matter what was being prepared, her house smelled like sweet potatoes. I’ve tried to recreate that smell in my own home, but…no. In a way, I’m glad I can’t. That will be one thing she will always hold as a memory all her own.

The funeral and repast provided an opportunity for many family members, lots who live out of town, to come together. Family I haven’t seen in years. I tried to remind them that none of us live too far to stay in better contact. Every time someone said to me, “I haven’t seen you since you were six” it broke my heart. Why? Why haven’t you seen me since I was six? Why do we find it so difficult to just get together? Pick a day, pack your car and just come. If I don’t worry about whether my dishes are done before you come in, don’t worry about whether you have the time.

Even if we can’t see each other in person, we live in a technological age! There is Facebook! There is email! And guess what, our hands still work. There’s still the tried and true method of putting pen to paper or making a phone call. It was good to see them. I plan on saying that a lot more.

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