I just returned from Reno and a visit with my aging (84) aunt, whom I love dearly. She moved to a retirement home in Carson City with her husband 7 years ago. He husband died two weeks after they moved into their apartment. She has lived alone since. I visit her as often as I can because she is like a mother to me since I lost my own.
My visits with her are always a mixture of love and hate, happiness and sadness, meaning and meaninglessness:
I love seeing her and spending time with her. She is funny and delightful to be around. I hate seeing her suffer with the aches and pains, the constant trips to the doctor and the knowledge that her life will soon be over.
Her happiness is most obvious when I go with her to the dining room where she sits with two gentlemen and a lady, almost like a double date she says, and she smiles and tells a joke she has heard or one sent to her by email. She delights in every moment and laughs demurely and maintains an air of grace and sophistication that would be haughty on someone else. I see her sadness when she tells me that her children don't visit very often (they live nearby)and that it's okay because she knows how busy they are.
Her life has so much meaning everyday. She laughs, she send funny email, she goes on double dates and flirts with the guys at her table, and the young waiters in the dining room. So much love and enjoyment, so much meaning. Her life has so much meaning; her death will be meaningless because her life is and was so full.
I will miss her but I will not mourn her death.