Thursday afternoon, I called home from work to see how Kai was doing and basically to see what was going on here at the casa. If there's anything major going on, I like to know before hand, so that I can decide whether or not to go home or just stay on the bus. Just kidding. The bus only goes as far as Olathe. It's not 'running away' if your just in the next suburb over.
Anyway, Tim said that 'some guy' called from my cousin's house. We chatted for a bit more, and then he said 'wait. I think I hear your mom. Kelley, I think your Aunt Judy has died.' And that's exactly what it was. 'Some guy' turned out to be my cousin Robert, calling to tell my mom that my cousin Brenda had found her mom, my aunt, dead. Her passing was sudden and completely unexpected, and I know that she's looking down at all of this and telling us to stop crying, already. While I sat at my desk at work, in shock, I felt a moment of peace when I thought to myself that she was reunited with her brothers and her mother. I know how much she missed my father after he passed, and her life was never the same after my grandmother and Uncle Terry died.
My Aunt Judy was my father's sister, and even after my parents had divorced, she and my mom remained close. We even lived with her for a year in Phoenix when I was about 8 years old. She was a wonderful mother to my three cousins, and a proud and doting grandmother. Family was very important to her, even extended family, and she was forever looking out for various nieces and nephews, cousins, etc.
I feel so blessed to have so many great memories of her. She was funny, full of life, loved to laugh. She was a fantastic cook, who always shared with me some new recipe she found. She absolutely adored Kai and was at every birthday party he's had, and always made sure she had presents for him on his birthday and Christmas, usually books, because she believed that all children should share in her love of reading. She was a voracious reader, and she often shared books with me and we talked about our favorite authors.
Aunt Judy had a huge circle of friends from the Red Hat Society, her job at the community center, her book club and all of her artist friends. So many people have been blessed, as I have, to have had her in their lives over the years. Our world will never be the same without her laughter and her smile.
On a final note, ladies, take care of your heart. My Aunt Judy suffered for the past few years with heart disease and died from a sudden heart attack. Heart disease is currently the number 1 killer of women in the United States. It can hit any one of us, at any time. I encourage you to go to http://www.americanheart.org
to learn more about heart disease and what you can do to prevent it.