My Tante Rita
The word “tante” in french / creole is a colloquialism for Aunt or Auntie. And although through blood, Tante Rita was really a distant cousin… you couldn’t tell me and my brother differently. She was our aunt. She visited and cared for us just the way an aunt would. We knew to straighten up and fly right if we saw her in the street. She was our elder and we respected her to no end. This tiny woman… About 5′ 1″… carried herself with the grace and elegance of a queen. At 90 years old she was always dressed to the nines. Hair was ALWAYS … look… i mean ALWAYS done. I don’t think there was a day in my life I saw her with her hair pulled back. She Had gorgeous bronze curls that she styled herself. A touch of blush and a kiss of lipstick. And she walked…. EVERYWHERE. She always had a warm smile, a kind word, a funny joke and an infectious laugh. She did a HUGE and wonderful service to me by keeping my mom company after my Grandmother died. She stepped in and refused to let my mom feel lonely for long.
Tante Rita was cooking dinner in her kitchen when she slipped and fell and broke her femur (the bone in your thigh). She was rushed to the hospital and surgery was performed. But in the meantime, it was decided to put her in a home while she rehabilitated. We’re all convinced that this was the step that did it. We went to see her once while she was in the home and that was NOT our Rita. She sat there and wouldn’t entertain. Staring off into the distance while she sat surrounded by family.
A week later we got news that she suffered a heartattack and was back in the hosptial. And this evening… they announced her passing. But sadness isn’t what I feel. I feel so lucky to have known her. To have had her help in raising me. I’m happy that she left when she was ready and she did it quickly without suffering much. I love the idea that my grandma has her friend to chat with again now. And I now have her example. To follow always – to live life to the fullest, no matter what.
We’ll miss you Tante Rita.