My Aunt Doris died at age 78 after spending many years suffering from a terrible disease. I wasn't close with that part of my family, though from afar I adored first cousins, Amy, Peter and Gregory and admired my aunt and uncle. As the artist in my family, they were all a little wary of me, and I don't blame them.
That being said, I have always loved them, and was very sad to learn of Aunt Doris' passing. In her obituary in the Sunday Times, her dignity in the face of suffering is noted, and I can confirm that on the rare occasions when I did see her, she seemed serene and composed.
Another cousin, Chris Schwartz wrote eloquently,
"This past Friday, after a decades’ long struggle with Parkinson’s Disease, my aunt-in-law, Doris, passed away in the company of her children. I never knew the dynamic woman who captured my uncle’s heart, and even as early as a child, I was bewildered, and not a little horrified, by the ruthlessness and enormity of her condition.
Of all the ethical unanswerables that characterized her life, I have faith that this much is certain: her suffering has finally ceased. What begins now for her, as it will inevitably for all of us, is a strange, new journey. Moreover, I have hope that all her years of struggle ultimately contributed to her spiritual progress in ways neither those of us who loved her nor she herself could calculate."
I, myself, am not very good at parsing real life, as my specialty lies in the world of make believe. In movies or books, a mother dying is one thing, but in life it is another, and I'm not sure there are any words or ways of thinking that can mitigate that fact. I send all my love and support to my dear cousins, Amy, Peter and Gregory, and hope they can find comfort somewhere.