Honoring Aunt Tucker

The voice I heard when I woke from a dream this morning was my Aunt Tucker’s. Not actually her voice, but definitely her. I could not go back to sleep so instead I begin celebrating Aunt Tucker’s life. On this day when her body will be placed in a grave, her soul is dancing with the moon and her sister stars. She has already sent us small but distinct signs that she is loving us from her new home, from the place where she is light and ageless.

Her family nicknamed her when she was young because she was fun and bigger-than-life, like the popular singer and radio personality of their day, Sophie Tucker. Not big in size, of course, but big in spirit. I wonder if Aunt Tucker’s brothers and sisters knew then that she would be the storyteller who would keep their youth alive.

Aunt Tucker loved to tell stories and as the seventh of nine children in an Irish American family, she had many tales to tell. She was my mother’s older sister and best friend, and mom lovingly told me once that Aunt Tucker had kissed the Blarney Stone. My aunt had never traveled to Ireland, but perhaps in another life she had visited Blarney Castle because surely she could tell a story as well as anyone I have ever known. Nearly everything I know about my mother’s childhood, adolescence and young adulthood, I know from Aunt Tucker’s stories. As a child I would walk across the field to her house and sit at her kitchen table, listening for hours to her tales. Those sessions always ended with a phone call from my mom, asking my aunt to send me home for dinner.

I love Aunt Tucker so much and am more grateful to her than she could possibly have known. She understands that now. Along with my parents and brother, she shaped my life and helped me find my place in our family and in the world. Her one surviving son will honor her wishes today with a simple graveside tribute. She is proud of the man he has become, the one who is ignoring those who want Aunt Tucker “sent off” with more fanfare. He knows that she’s already arrived where she was going, and no celebration today could possibly be big enough to adequately reflect the love and light that she brought to this world and to our family. Her stories now are for the angels to hear.

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24 Responses to Honoring Aunt Tucker

  1. Rick Martinez February 11, 2014 at 5:10 pm #

    Your Aunt Tucker came to my mind today.
    She arrived when an office colleague came into my office and shared her sadness about her Aunt Fabiola. Fabiola is at home on hospice care for a terminal illness.
    As I listened I thought about your Aunt Tucker, my own Aunt Lula and about the role of aunts (and uncles) in our lives.
    As children we listened to their fabled stories about our grandparents and learned childhood secrets about our parents. Their stories helped fill the emotional space of youth with adult understanding.
    Aunts Sofia, Fabiola and Lula sharpened my perspective today; reminding me that my ‘bigger than life’ mother, Anna Lee, was a much more interesting aunt than parent. The thought made me laugh inside.
    Thank you to all the aunt-spirits. You made my mind to smile today.

    • sharon February 11, 2014 at 11:05 pm #

      Thanks so very much for sharing your thoughts about aunts and their role in our lives, Rick. I love the idea of aunt-spirits and hope that I am a good one myself. Our parents’ siblings have such a unique family perspective and I love the way you expressed it. I know that your aunts and mine are smiling at our celebration of their lives. Sending a hug!

  2. Patty January 31, 2014 at 2:53 pm #

    Sharon. I was so sorry to hear of Aunt Tucker’s passing. She was a great person. Always had a smile on her face and treated all of us kids so nicely. I have fond memories of her too. Please tell your mom how sorry I am and you will all be in my thoughts and prayers. Take care.

    • sharon February 1, 2014 at 12:20 am #

      Thanks very much for the kind words, Patty. Yes, Aunt Tucker always had a smile and a good story to tell. Sending love and a very big hug!

  3. Virginie January 22, 2014 at 1:24 am #

    Dear Sharon,
    What a beautiful and loving tribute to your aunt. I am so sorry for your loss, Sharon. Inevitable they seem to give us opportunity to reflect on what really matters in life.
    Warm hugs
    Virginie

    • sharon January 22, 2014 at 8:57 am #

      Thank you very much, Virginie. You are so right, these losses in our lives do “give us opportunity to reflect on what really matters in life.” Sending love and a grateful hug!

  4. Grateful January 21, 2014 at 6:24 pm #

    Thank you, Sharon, for such a beautiful story!

    • sharon January 21, 2014 at 6:34 pm #

      Thanks! Sending you love and a grateful hug!

  5. Nancy M January 21, 2014 at 3:27 pm #

    How absolutely beautiful!

    • sharon January 21, 2014 at 6:31 pm #

      Thank you, Nancy. Sending love and a grateful hug!

  6. Denise Sitarik January 21, 2014 at 1:19 pm #

    You r an amazing woman!!!! How proud Aunt Tucker must be of all you are and have become- loved reading your tribute to your aunt thanks for sharing- you r an amazing writer and I am grateful and blessed to God for bring u into my life!!!!

    • sharon January 21, 2014 at 6:36 pm #

      Thanks so much, Denise. And I am grateful to have you in my life!

      Sending love and a big hug!

  7. MJ Higgins January 21, 2014 at 10:59 am #

    Sharon,
    I’m sorry for your loss. Aunt Tucker must have been such a special lady. You were so lucky to have grown up nearby to her and to spend so much precious time with her. Your tribute to her is so lovely. I am sure she is very proud, not only of her son, but her very special niece.

    • sharon January 21, 2014 at 6:33 pm #

      Many thanks for your kind words, MJ. Yes, I was very lucky to have had the chance to spend so much time with Aunt Tucker.

      Sending love and a grateful hug!

  8. Rhonda January 20, 2014 at 4:34 pm #

    Thank you for sharing Sharon! Such a sweet note to remind us of those we cherish and the impact that they have had on our lives. It reminds me of my purpose — to give and pay forward (not monetarily, but spiritually). Leave an impression. Appreciate more, listen more, love more. Truly! Thank God for all the Aunt Tucker’s in the world! I hope her tibute and celebration is exactly what she would have wanted. Hugs to you always!

    • sharon January 21, 2014 at 6:41 pm #

      Thanks very much for your beautiful comment, Rhonda, and for sharing your purpose in life. Yes, her memorial service was exactly what she said she wanted, and a sunny day just before today’s incredible snowstorm.

      Sending love and a grateful hug!

  9. MP January 20, 2014 at 11:07 am #

    Ahh Sharon, I am so sorry for your loss. What a beautiful tribute. xo

    • sharon January 22, 2014 at 8:59 am #

      Many thanks, MP. Sending love and a grateful hug!

  10. RAMONA January 20, 2014 at 9:18 am #

    THANK YOU, FOR THIS EMAIL
    IT IS SO NICE WHEN WE HAVE PEOPLE IN OUR LIVES TO MAKE US FEEL COMFORT FROM THE STORIES THEY TELL AND THE NICE WAYS THEY TAKE CARE OF US.
    I WAS WATCHING MASTER CLASS LAST NIGHT, LISTENING TO MAYA ANGELOU TALK ABOUT HER GRANDMOTHER.
    WE ARE LUCKY TO HAVE PEOPLE SHAPE OUR LIVES WITH THEIR VOICES.
    I LOVE LISTENING, USING MY IMAGINATION AND KNOWING LIFE IS FULL OF POSSIBILITIES.
    THANK YOU.

    • sharon January 21, 2014 at 6:45 pm #

      Many thanks for your inspiring comments, Ramona. I love your reminder that “life is full of possibilities,” especially today.

      Sending love and a grateful hug!

  11. Pauline January 20, 2014 at 8:22 am #

    May the fond memories of Aunt Tucker bring you comfort during this difficult time. A loved ones passing is never easy. Your family is in my thoughts and prayers.

    • sharon January 21, 2014 at 6:43 pm #

      Thanks you so much, Pauline. Sending love and a grateful hug!

  12. Pamela Brown January 20, 2014 at 7:03 am #

    Sending blessings and support to you, your mom and your family today as you celebrate Aunt Tucker’s life. Our relationships, connections and conversation help shape and form our memories of those we love so dearly. We all have stories to tell… of our experiences, dreams, hopes and aspirations that paint vivid pictures of paths we have taken or hope to. To all the Aunt Tuckers… we thank you for your inspiration, kitchen-table conversations and for planting kernels of life through stories.

    • sharon January 21, 2014 at 6:30 pm #

      Thanks you so very much for your beautiful message, Pamela. I love your thoughts about relationships and your wonderful expression of gratitude for all of the Aunt Tuckers in this world. Sending love and a grateful hug!