Expiration Date


From the moment we wail into this world there is an ‘expiration date’ atop our head.  Perhaps it’s stamped invisibly to the bottom of our baby wrinkled feet.  Exposed and bittersweet, this fact of life slapped me in the face yesterday, leaving a white fingered imprint across my rose, blushed cheek.  In some small way, I might think of this as a “Chronic Condition” to be lived with until my dying day.

While at a family gathering, in arms still young with muscles strong, my sons held sleeping newborns while toddlers ran to play and jump and sing.  Older, ‘little’ ones giggled at Grandpa’s silly faces while striving for his special attention.  Sitting in her cushioned seat was my great-great aunt with vision all but gone together with wrinkles much like an infant’s first.

Looking about the room of celebration for my son’s birthday together with my aunt’s visit here, the whole of our lifetimes existed in that space..that single place.  Soon, the Senior Menu was placed in front of me.  Gathered around the wooden, weathered table were my sons still so young and strong.  So proud.  There were babies in the womb, a precious toddler of two, an infant barely born and another learning first steps, too!  And through my arm, my beloved elderly one with kind words full of wonder.

Soon the love of family chaos erupted over a brunch of steaming food on restaurant plates of white trimmed in navy blue.  My aunt sat next to me where I held her withered hand in order to ease any anxiety.  In her ear, a small hearing-aid had been placed.  Slowly, I described the location of her yellow scrambled eggs and slice of dry brown toast with fresh banana slices on the side.  She eats like a bird, but ‘sings’ like an A cappella choir.

Although it was difficult for my aunt to see, she enjoyed the many sounds of newness.  How delighted she was to hear the noises of  little ones.  Soothing, short panting puffs of breathing infants…in and out.  “Sleeping like angels in heaven at night,” she later said.   Across the table, toddler Gracie, sang nursery songs in silly rhyme….”Five Little Monkeys Jumping on My Bed.”  Clicking her tongue, the wee moppet head of bouncing curls clearly pronounced my aunt’s name for the very first time, G.R.E.A.T.- G.R.E.A.T……. A.U.N. T.  S.H.I. R.L.E.Y.   And, baby Briella, giggeled aloud with enormous smiles of laughter while popping chubby fists of squiggly yellow into her drooling mouth.

Later, in the quiet of the evening, my aunt began to speak of dear lost loved ones.  She is the last of her eight siblings.  Many of which she nursed before they passed on into the world of our next.  She spoke of her beliefs on pain before death, why God has His ways and what they meant to her.  Clearly, her long number of years upon this earth and inevitable mortality was on her mind.

Life…..a treasured gift never to be taken for granted.  For, each one of us has an expiration date.

 

 

47 thoughts on “Expiration Date

  1. I am dumbstruck, Kim. and that takes quite a lot.

    Your great aunt is the luckiest woman in the world today because she has a great niece (and I mean great as more than just a generational tag here), who loves her so much and makes her dimming world brighter.

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    • Thank you, Bobby, for such kindness. I am far ‘luckier’ than she who has a heart of gold with a mind rich with stories to fill me forever. Too, I have not forgotten your generous award! My acceptance is half-finished. Soon summer travel will be completed so I can write words you deserve. Thank you so very much!! 🙂

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  2. This is beautifully written, Kim. A gorgeous tapestry of life you’ve woven -from the first stitch to the final thread. Truly an honor to read this and to know your wonderful heart. All the best. ❤ ~Karen~

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  3. This is a beautiful picture of how life is a circle. You now have that experience to bring back to you whenever you want it. Such a blessing for each oh you. I wish your. Aunt healing, life and joy. Hugs, Barbara

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  4. beautiful! what a wonderful reminder…I really love when people write about their older family members…it just warms my heart as they are treasures to the meaning of family as a whole. ❤ Love the pictures too!

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    • I can so appreciate what you are saying in your comment as this will probably be the only time we are all together with me dear aunt. Yes, “treasures” to be sure. Thank you so much for reading my words.

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  5. I have enjoyed visiting and reading entries in your blog. You talk from your heart and share things we all have in common but all too infrequently talk about. This particular post is a good reminder not to take any moment or a day for granted. I also appreciate you visiting my site and reading my POETRY, thank you for your time and attention.

    Alexander

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    • Alexander, you write such beautiful poetry! The pleasure is all mine to be sure. Thank you so much for taking the time to read my words and write such a heartfelt comment. Truly, I value your support more than I can say. Blessings to you, Alexander.

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  6. Beautiful pics and you described a very close loving family.
    If only all families could be as loving and beautiful as yours.
    That is one special memory for your Aunt,
    Emu aka Ian

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    • Warms my heart to read your comment, Ian. Our family, like most, has had it’s “ups & downs.” Being together with all of the different generations was an inspirational ‘eye-opener’ for me. A “once-in-lifetime-moment” with my great aunt. Flying home after spending time with my sisters in Texas today.
      Rejuvenation! Wishing you a lovely day, Ian.

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  7. I have enjoyed your family stories so much, along with those sweet photos of Briella, she is quite a doll! I know you closed your comments, but the photographs with the cradle of dolls, was so precious! I love the post about your Great Aunt, I had one that I wrote about, she was quite a character, my Great Aunt Marie. I am so happy that you treasure your Great Aunt, bringing her to your home, opening your eyes to include her, so she can ‘see’ through your visions. I am so blessed by reading these and feel like I have gotten to know you better! Smiles, Robin

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    • Robin, what a ‘gift’ your comment today has given me to warm my spirit with smiles upon my face! Thinking of ‘Baby Briella,’ who has only recently joined our family together with her lovely mother has blessed me more than I can ever say in words. I love her sweet disposition so very much. And, thank you for sharing your own story of your dear, Great Aunt Marie. Truly treasures they are. I hope to get to your blog as well, Robin. Thank you so very much. Blessings to you.

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