March Slice of Life – Day 2: A

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Today is Day 2 of the March Slice of Live – the special challenge hosted at Two Writing Teachers, where each day of March we share a slice from our lives.
A is for Aunt Jessie
My Aunt Jessie was my mother’s older sister, her confidante and my godmother.

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(Top picture, my mom on the left, Jessie on the right; in bottom picture, the reverse)

Growing up, she was like a second mother to me. Any time I was traveling through Winnipeg, I would stay with her and my cousins for a few days.
Jessie was always the one I turned to for a feel-good chat. She had a way of cutting to the problem and supporting me anyway she could. She never raised her voice, but ruled with a firm hand.
When my mother’s health declined after her stroke, Aunt Jessie was always there to comfort my mother and myself.
Jessie was born in Norway and though she spent most of her life in Canada, when was a true ambassador of all things Norwegian. She spoke the language, was a faithful Lutheran and was a master rosemaler. She taught rosemaling and sold many of her gorgeous pieces. I treasure the few I have.

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She had the sweetest laugh, the gentlest manner, yet had a steel core. She was tiny, but stood tall. She did not brook any kind of meanness.
She had polio as a child and was beaten by her father, who had mental issues due to a severe brain injury, but she never let those stop her, even when she was in extreme pain. All her life she suffered from a painful back yet she never complained, never let us know her pain.
When she died at the beginning of September of 2007, my husband and I took my mother to Winnipeg for the funeral. I had to miss the first day of school that year – the first time I had ever done that in over 30 years. But I had to be there and I knew my Mom did as well. Hundreds attended the funeral, from all walks of life. She had touched so many lives. She was an amazing woman, a very special aunt and  I still miss her.

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12 thoughts on “March Slice of Life – Day 2: A

  1. What a beautiful tribute to a loving aunt, Beverley. I had to look up what rosemaling is because I never heard of that decorative art. Your aunt’s work was magnificent. Enjoy your sweet memories.

  2. What a special person to have in your life and as a role model. Beautiful rosemaling! I am a quarter Norwegian, so I recognized the craft in your picture.

  3. She truly was an exceptional person. You are lucky to have had her in your life. As someone who has no crafting talent, looking at your aunt’s work all I can say is “Wow”!

  4. A lovely tribute to your aunt, Bev. I know you will always miss her. An essay in the New Yorker last week by Kathryn Schultz had a line that resonated with me: “Death is loss without the possibility of being found.” I think that even at our most desolate, we are not alone when we have our loved ones to honor and remember.

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