My kind of “Rainey”

As I sit here alone in my temporary home I’m thinking of my Aunt Lorraine. You see, her light grew dim this past Sunday. She joined some pretty awesome angels and she was prepared and ready to meet them. I know they were waiting for her. How couldn’t they be? I know I loved being with her. I’m guilty of not being with her enough these past few years – always a reason and always an excuse. I know she loved me though and I know she still does. You see, I know and have always known her kind of love.

There was no one on this earth that could compare to her. She was loving, dramatic and funny. She was so smart – intelligence that would pull the rug right out from underneath your stupid feet. She was a force to be reckoned with and made sure that everyone knew it! I was so fortunate to be loved by her.

I don’t have a childhood memory that doesn’t have her in it. She was my biggest cheerleader and my reality when I needed a good dose of it! She was the one person who truly knew me – she knew where I came from and where I was and what happened in between. If I wasn’t calling her and telling her my tales then my mom was on the phone telling her the tales. It’s how we all kept connected – even when we all became disconnected.

She was so beautiful and so very smart. She taught me the beauty of education, of opera, of reading, of being proud of where I came from. She brought to me unconditional love – with conditions sometimes – but it was her. It was how she loved us – all of us.

From being a little baby being laid down next to her as my mom went off to work, to struggling through divorce and life changes – she loved me. I have no doubt because I loved her too. Ok, so I ran off on my trike to Quinn’s to see my Grandma – it’s a great story that can only be told correctly by her, but it’s the stories that make up my memories and my life. She told the story about Grandpa throwing the priest out when they came to take me away, she told the story of my little bald head with the big blue eyes loving on her early in the morning and she told the story of me running off on my trike. Maybe they didn’t happen quite the way she told, but I don’t care – those are my stories and I’m sticking to them! Who wants to hear a boring story of how things really were?

She went and found our Uncle Jim so we could have someone to love just as much as she did. And boy, howdy, those are the best days I have in my heart. They were truly a match made in heaven and now – they are matched in heaven again. Their wits, their smarts, their intelligence – all of it – made us smarter and better people. When I say us – it was us kids – Molly, Michelle, Mandy, Martha, Joe, Rita, Anne Margaret, Judy, Elizabeth, Sean, Bradley, Micheal, Philip, Billy – and I’m sure someone I forgot…we are all better people for having her in our lives.

No one could make you scared for your life over a potato bug. No one could stay on the phone with you when you felt so alone you could die and listen to the entire album of the Phantom of the Opera. No one could pose questions to you that make you really think about your life and force a change that would bring you home. No one could match my Aunt Lorraine for drama, for realism, for fun and for love.

My whole family knows how to love with their whole heart. It’s just how we were raised. When I didn’t understand the distance or hurt happening, she was the one to say that you can’t control how people perceive things. Even though she was the best at making you feel smaller than the smallest thing on earth – with good reason…I can beat myself up for the should haves…I should beat myself up for the should haves…but I had her in my life when she was full of life and had a zest for the odd and unimaginable!

We’d stay up late listening to Carly Simon and James Taylor, watch Nature or Nova on PBS or the best? Getting to camp out in the living room watching Johnny Carson! Make up a pot of hot tea and make raisin toast. And the music…we could sing and perform to our hearts content! She was the best audience any kid could ever want – even if you couldn’t carry a tune…she still praised your attempt! She’d read anything you wrote – praise it til the cows came home!! Why? Because she wanted you to know that you were the best! I know she read my poetry and after I felt better than any poet out there! It was encouragement…given in the best dramatic way that any kid could ever want! Isn’t that what a kid wants? Someone to go nutso over your awful song or poem? It was encouragement to keep trying – to keep being the best at whatever weird thing you were into.

Yes…she had a flair for the dramatic and I suppose I learned some of that from her, but no one will ever feel like they didn’t matter. She never did that – well, unless you were unwilling to do her bidding after a few BudLights…but hey, I didn’t say she was perfect. I said she was ours. She loved us…all of us.

She was tired of fighting. She wanted to be with Jim, Patsy, Gramma, Grandpa, Nicky – she missed them. Understandable…I miss them too. Now – well, I miss her.

I will never have an auntie like her again. They broke the mold when they created her. She was a once in a lifetime force to be reckoned with. I will love her still. I have her stories, her laughter, her music, her intelligence – I have the best memories…

Have fun in Heaven Aunt Rainy. Tell Uncle Jim hi for me and give hugs and kisses to everyone. I will always love you…I will always carry you in my heart. I am who I am because you were part of bringing me up.

Rest now.

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