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She felt like cheering

I have three half-siblings.  I know I’ve told you that before, probably lots of times. My half-siblings are a decent bit older than me, so growing up, they often seemed more like uncles and an aunt.  I was an only child, mostly.  But my mother came from a big family, and she had an identical twin sister named Tina. Though Tina lived in California and we lived in Oklahoma, she and my mother did their best to make sure that their children, my cousins Sarah and Katie and I, would feel close as we grew up.  I fell in love with the West Coast  - and, I’m sure, wound up living here - because of trips we took to visit Tina and her family when I was a kid.

In the mornings, when it’s still cool outside, Tina’s neighborhood smells like eucalyptus.  In the afternoons, Katie and I would walk through the backyard to old convenience store across the street, where we would buy beef jerky from a plastic tub.  There’s now a fancy grocery store where the convenience store used to be, but a little further down the street is a mall that still looks pretty much the same, a outdoor mall, something we didn’t have in Oklahoma.  It was at that mall that Sarah and I, then pre-teens, went on my first and only shoplifting spree.  We got a paper shopping bag at a department store, put my denim jacket in it, and then proceeded to hit a few other stores, hiding our loot under the jacket.  Our primary target was a Hallmark shop, where I scored a few calligraphy pens and a tiny carpenter’s bubble level on a keychain, the kind with yellow liquid in a clear tube.  I had no idea what a level was, but it looked awesome, and I was too scared of being caught to spend a lot of time puzzling over it before I shoved it into the bag.  Our mothers didn’t catch us, but back at Tina’s house, with our booty stashed safely in the closet, I was still terrified.  I was not cut out for a life in crime.  I don’t know if Tina ever found out about what we did, but I remember that closet so clearly.  I remember her house so clearly, the way it smells, the way it slopes slightly toward the street, so that every door needs a doorstop. When I’m falling asleep, I sometimes picture myself there.

That’s my mother on the left in both of the pictures, and Tina on the right.  They didn’t always dress alike, but they weren’t opposed to it.  Actually, the older they got, the more often they did.  They even wore their hair the same way: a couple of inches below the shoulder, usually pulled back into a ponytail. There’s a set of elderly twins who are famous around San Francisco, Marian and Vivian Brown, and we ran into them once in Union Square, both impeccably dressed.  My twins are not the type to pencil in their eyebrows or go for animal-skin cowboy hats, but I always pictured them getting old together the way the Brown twins have, making a scene, making trouble.

In early February, Tina was diagnosed suddenly with pancreatic cancer. She went to my mother’s house in Oklahoma to stay for a while and receive treatment.  My cousins and I took turns flying in to help, and we tried our best not to spend too much time Googling pancreatic cancer, because that kind of thing will scare the crap out of you. But it was hard to ignore the fact that, as all the literature says, the illness moves quickly.  Tina passed away at home, my mother’s home, on May 29, with five of us around her.

The Internet is an awkward place to write about death.  It doesn’t have the right weight.  I don’t like it. But I’ve been trying to figure out what to write here instead, and nothing else came.  Over the past few months, whenever I’ve told someone about Tina, it’s been hard to explain why it should feel so difficult to lose an aunt, as opposed to, say, a parent.  For me, Tina was somewhere between the two. In high school biology, when I learned about genes and DNA, I remember being thrilled by the thought that my mother and Tina had identical DNA, and that, maybe, on some level that an actual scientist would probably scoff at, it meant that Katie and Sarah were my half-sisters.  I loved that idea. Maybe, on that same questionable level, it meant that Tina was more than my aunt.

She was the only person in the world who called me Margaret, my legal name.  She sort of sang it, actually, Maaaaar-GRIT, her voice rising as she went.  When I was in college, I lived with her during the summers.  She introduced me to Dungeness crab and to the giant chocolate-covered coconut macaroons at Max’s.  She was the first person I knew who really loved the place where she lived.  It doesn’t sound like much to say, but it had never occurred to me that a person could fall in love with a city and actually get to live there, not just visit.  I didn’t dislike Oklahoma City, but I didn’t love it, and my parents didn’t, either.  I didn’t know what it might be like to feel another way.  But Tina and I were once driving across the Golden Gate Bridge, and I remember her saying that she never got tired of it, of that drive, even after forty years in the Bay Area, and that she each time she crossed the bridge, she felt like cheering, I LIVE HERE!  I didn’t know then that Seattle would make me feel that way, that it would be my place. But now, whenever I catch myself silently cheering, I think of her.

I also think of Tina when I cook in my cast-iron skillets, because the summer that I was twenty and living at her house, I once used a cast-iron skillet and then left it overnight, rinsed but still dirty, in her white kitchen sink.  The next morning, when she found it there, she also found beneath it a dark, angry ring of rust that hung on for months.  I am now a champ at the prompt cleaning and drying of cast-iron skillets.

I don’t know who took this picture, but I found it on Tina’s desk last weekend.  It must have been taken in the 80s, because this was her hairstyle then.  I love the lens flare, how relaxed she looks, how pretty she was.  She looked very different when I last saw her, but she was still beautiful.

About a month ago, when the author Maurice Sendak died, NPR re-released a number of interviews that he did over the years with Terry Gross of Fresh Air.  I listened to all of them, and I listened twice to the last one. (It starts about 27 minutes in.)  I hope I can someday feel the way he did about aging and dying. I’ve known so many people who, like Tina, didn’t really get a chance to get old. There was something he said that I keep thinking about: "I don’t believe in an afterlife, but I still fully expect to see my brother again." Most days, I don’t believe in an afterlife, either, but I hope for my mother, and for all of us, that Mr. Sendak was right.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

that was just lovely.

9:39 PM, June 09, 2012  
Blogger Laura said...

I think I met your aunt, could it be possible? I was at the Omnivore book store where you presented your book years ago, and I remember talking to someone related to you.

So sorry for your loss, Margaret.

9:54 PM, June 09, 2012  
Blogger matinetnuit said...

That was the most inspiring thing you could have written. Thanks.

10:03 PM, June 09, 2012  
Blogger Library Staff said...

I've read your blog for years and years, Molly. But today I will leave a comment and say that I know that interview and I know just what you mean. Be well.

10:23 PM, June 09, 2012  
Blogger A.Smith said...

Dear Molly,

There are times when all we can hope for is to truly comprehend that even when someone is gone, trivial and cliche as it may sound, that someone could never be truly dead for as long as we speak of them, think of them and know, without needing to believe in the afterlife that indeed we will see each other again.

I am so very sorry for your family's and your own personal loss.

10:26 PM, June 09, 2012  
OpenID janaemonir said...

Beautiful and moving. So sorry for your loss.

10:34 PM, June 09, 2012  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I feel terribly sorry for you. I'm sure Tina would be very grateful and is thinking of you right now. All of us are here to support you.
Much love xxx

10:45 PM, June 09, 2012  
Blogger rosekraft said...

Such a heartfelt, poignant tribute.

10:48 PM, June 09, 2012  
Blogger dervla Kelly said...

Molly I'm so sorry for you and your family's loss. Your words are as ever so eloquent and beautiful and Tina will be remembered through them.

10:54 PM, June 09, 2012  
Anonymous WSAKE said...

dear molly,

i´m so sorry for your loss! you wrote so beautiful and loving of her, it made me a bit teary.

may you feel like cheering again soon!

11:07 PM, June 09, 2012  
Blogger SSteve said...

A couple years ago we scattered my grandmother's ashes under the Golden Gate Bridge because that's the place in the world she most loved. I'm almost 50 and at her memorial service I finally saw what I want for myself when I go. That bridge has a little magic in it. Every time you go across it Tina will be cheering next to you. My deepest condolences.

11:12 PM, June 09, 2012  
Blogger Clementina said...

A loving and heartfelt tribute. As a childless woman who loves her nephews and nieces, I only hope they will remember me when I am gone. I am sure your tia would have been proud.

11:26 PM, June 09, 2012  
Anonymous Devora said...

I don't know what to say. But your words make me want to say something in return, just to say it and be there.

So.. "something."


11:28 PM, June 09, 2012  
Blogger Sew Create It - Jane said...

What a beautiful post..a loving tribute! My thoughts are with you and your family at sad time... ((hugs))

1:26 AM, June 10, 2012  
Blogger thinking of the days said...

As an avid reader of your blog, I was eagerly waiting for your next post.

I'm so sorry to hear of your aunt's death ...but you write so eloquently of her and her life..it's abeautiful goodbye .

Pancreatic cancer is a dreadful disease - my gorgeous brother in law died of it two and a half years ago..and my mother in law died of it too.

Thinking of you at this sad time.

1:32 AM, June 10, 2012  
OpenID foodlovefood said...

My Nana (4 months short of her 90th birthday) passed away last week. This is such a lovely piece to read in light of this sad event; a thoughtful and kind post. I like the ending quote about the after-life. I completely agree with him - I hope my Nana is with her husband, where ever they are. So sorry for your loss

2:38 AM, June 10, 2012  
Anonymous SarahB said...

Just sorry for your loss.

3:30 AM, June 10, 2012  
Blogger wentwiththewind said...

I am so sorry for your loss. I recently lost my husband of 31 years and I know how much losing someone you love can hurt. Your piece was very beautiful and made me smile in spite of the sadness. It reminded me how wonderful memories can be.

Thank you so much for sharing your memories with us.

3:52 AM, June 10, 2012  
Blogger Elise said...

This, THIS is why your blog is not like the others. Thank you for being such a spark.

4:19 AM, June 10, 2012  
Blogger charlotte said...

I was listening to random music on Spotify as I read this, and California Dreamin' came on which felt like a fitting soundtrack for your brilliant words. I'm so very sorry, M and am thinking of you xx

4:20 AM, June 10, 2012  
Blogger Jennifer Jo said...

This is powerful, Molly. You gave her death the right "weight." I could feel its heft.

4:20 AM, June 10, 2012  
Anonymous Valerie said...

Molly, I am so sorry for your loss. My mother is also an identical twin, and I understand what you mean about Tina being somewhere in between a mom and an aunt. It also means you were likely, for her, closer to a daughter than a niece.

4:47 AM, June 10, 2012  
Blogger Hannah said...

The internet may be an awkward place to write about death but you do it beautifully. I'm sorry for your loss.


5:01 AM, June 10, 2012  
Blogger Jess said...

Grateful to read about Tina here this morning. We're sending love from here to you and yours. xo.

5:20 AM, June 10, 2012  
OpenID travellersyarn said...

You brought tears to my eyes... That is a wonderful tribute.

5:49 AM, June 10, 2012  
Blogger Lola said...

Dear Molly,
I have been reading your blog for years and have always thought you wrote beautifully. Today, I am touched, deeply touched, by your words. Your gentle and so powerful evocation of your aunt moves me more than I can say. I understand your sorrow.
I lost my aunt in december, and people around me were sorry, but I could tell they did not understand. Your aunt, right? No, actually, more than that. My childhood, my summers, the family memory, more than I can express in a few words. I lost so much when she left.
I also listened to Maurice Sendak's interviews - several times.
May you, your mother, your cousins find peace in remembering Tina together. Hold each other tight.

6:07 AM, June 10, 2012  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When someone we love passes from this life to the next they are never really far from us. Because their memories propel us daily to think of them, model our lives after them, and to honor them in this special way. You have honored Tina by writing a beautiful homage about your special relationship with a beautiful lady.

6:27 AM, June 10, 2012  
Blogger Valerie said...

34 There's a think lump now in my throat, Molly.

The love you felt for your maunt (mom-aunt) can be felt with every single word you wrote. And the picture you posted looks so much like you.

I hope that you're feeling better soon and that Brandon and the little peanut inside you help you cope with this terrible situation.

All the best fro me to you!

7:07 AM, June 10, 2012  
Anonymous kate said...

What beautifully written memories of your aunt and your childhood. She sounds like an amazing person.

7:19 AM, June 10, 2012  
Blogger Monica said...

I feel the same compelling need to respond after reading this, to let you know your words touched me somehow. I think you honored your aunt quite well with these memories and words you shared with us.

7:28 AM, June 10, 2012  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Oh, so well put, Molly. You are fortunate to have had an aunt like Tina. Hold those memories close.

7:28 AM, June 10, 2012  
Anonymous Hannah said...

Your words were the loveliest sort of tribute. I have listened to that Sendak interview many times - it was one of the most amazing interviews - and I too know just what you mean. I wish that Tina and your mom had been given the chance to grow old together. I wish that Tina had been given the chance to meet the tiny person under your shirt. I hope that you and your family can continue to carry pieces of Tina around in the world - she sounds so lovely.

7:38 AM, June 10, 2012  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh I am so very sorry for your loss.

7:42 AM, June 10, 2012  
Blogger A Gift Wrapped Life said...

Such a moving post to read on a Sunday morning, you were so fortunate to have two identical mothers. All the more love for you. Our son is moving to Oklahoma City tomorrow to begin his medical residency at OU, I will be getting to know Oklahoma City quite well but I did chuckle when you talked about it.........we keep saying "it can't be that bad!" Mostly I am commenting to tell you that you wrote so beautifully today. Take care.

7:48 AM, June 10, 2012  
Anonymous sprite said...

I'm sorry for your loss, but I hope its pain is tempered by all these good memories of your aunt. Sending hugs.

7:48 AM, June 10, 2012  
Blogger Margarita said...

Molly, I am sorry for your family's loss... Hold on to your memories like you're doing and your Aunt Tina will live on. A beautiful post to celebrate the life of a beautiful person.

7:51 AM, June 10, 2012  
Blogger TG said...

I am so moved by what you've shared here. it couldn't have been easy. i too have lost someone to pancreatic cancer - so swiftly. i too have cherished the wisdom and wonder the slips from maurice sendak. i send you and your family tender thoughts. thank you for sharing so much, so deeply. i am grateful to be reminded in this moment that one can love where one exists. and just how special that is.

7:56 AM, June 10, 2012  
Anonymous debbie koenig said...

This was so lovely, Molly. Thank you for writing it.

My grandpa died of pancreatic cancer when I was a senior in high school--I'm grateful we didn't have Google then.

8:02 AM, June 10, 2012  
Anonymous cottonjens said...

Hang on. advice from my mother in law who knew this subject well. I have hung on since my mother passed 6 months ago. I doubted I could get thru it. she is no longer here to see or touch or talk to. my loss has been greatly soothed by my faith and love.

8:10 AM, June 10, 2012  
Blogger Liza said...

I'm sorry for your loss and hope peace comes to you soon.

8:13 AM, June 10, 2012  
Anonymous MKC said...

That's so beautiful and hopeful that you thought your mother having a twin meant Katie and Sarah might be your half-sisters.

Thank you for writing, and I'm very sorry for your loss.

8:14 AM, June 10, 2012  
Blogger jen said...

these are beautiful words, Molly. thanks for sharing. Thinking of you and your family.

8:15 AM, June 10, 2012  
Anonymous Edie said...

What a lovely tribute. It made me cry. I am not certain of much but I am certain she would have loved this. Sending you hugs.

8:29 AM, June 10, 2012  
Blogger Anne said...

I'm sorry for your loss, Molly. That was a very beautiful text.

8:59 AM, June 10, 2012  
Blogger Becca said...

I am so sorry for your loss. Your aunt was very lucky to have such devoted family to care for her until the end; I'm sure you eased her transition and brought her great comfort. During my mother's illness and since her death, the only thing that has ever brought me any comfort is the firm conviction that I am lucky to be able to mourn her. To mourn someone means that you had a relationship so full of meaning as to cause grief upon separation, and not everyone has the good fortune of enjoying such close relationships with others. Focusing on what you have had in life instead of what has been taken away allows some happiness to mitigate the sadness. I'm so happy for you that you had such a wonderful relationship with your aunt.

9:16 AM, June 10, 2012  
Blogger Pondside said...

I'm sorry for your loss.
It seems only logical that you and your aunt be more connected than others aunts and nieces - if only because you believed it, it was so.
My mother's closest sister had no children, but figured large in my childhood. To this day, when I celebrate anything I think of calling her, to share. She's 87 now - a good old age - and I'm lucky to have her in my life.

9:26 AM, June 10, 2012  
Blogger m @ random musings said...

What a wonderful tribute to your aunt. Deepest sympathies for your loss.

Thank you for sharing your memories and thoughts in this time of grief. Although I never met your aunt Tina, this post makes me feel as if she was a special acquaintance. If writing on the internet doesn't seem to carry the right weight, I hope you find some small bit of comfort in knowing that everyone who reads this post will carry a little bit of Tina in our lives.

9:33 AM, June 10, 2012  
Blogger Brianna Soloski said...

Beautiful post. I'm so sorry for your loss.

9:33 AM, June 10, 2012  
Anonymous Valorie Grace Hallinan said...

beautiful post.

9:36 AM, June 10, 2012  
Blogger Terry said...

Hi Molly

You've written so lovingly about your Father's illness
and passing and now your Aunt's.

I'm certain both are off smiling somewhere
encouraging your journey with words.

Warm thoughts for you and yours.

9:40 AM, June 10, 2012  
Anonymous Sharyn Dimmick said...

Lovely pictures of your aunt and your Mom. There's something special about twins. Perhaps you will have some of your own...

9:41 AM, June 10, 2012  
Blogger Bev said...

So touching & vibrant. Thank you for allowing us to know a bit of your aunt too.

9:42 AM, June 10, 2012  
OpenID thedailyreason said...

I will miss hearing about visits to see Tina and the reunions of "the twins."

9:54 AM, June 10, 2012  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

loss is irrational. our minds and hearts don't know what to do. it is so hard to lose someone we love. thanks for shedding some light on loss and celebrating love.

9:58 AM, June 10, 2012  
Blogger Maryanne & Duke said...

I'm glad you did find a way to write about your aunt's death. It is a beautiful tribute to someone very special to you. My heart goes out to you and your family.

10:26 AM, June 10, 2012  
Anonymous lizykat said...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts during a time of sadness. The whole passage of time, life/death/illness is so much more poignant when you are bringing another life into this world. Your words are such a gift.

10:34 AM, June 10, 2012  
Anonymous JudyB said...

Wonderful memories. So sorry for the loss all of your family is sharing right now.

10:59 AM, June 10, 2012  
Blogger Christina Wilsdon said...

I lost my father to that terrible disease last year. I am so sorry for your loss. I remember a line from children's novel I read 30 years ago in which the author states something to the effect that "Nothing fine or noble will ever truly disappear as long as there are hearts to remember." And I can't say that it makes me feel like, OK, then, that's good, I'm all right with this loss then, because I'm not...but I return to it like a hummingbird to a flower.

I guess I'm more inclined as I get older (and I am sorry your aunt did not have that opportunity) to reflect on another line from that book..."For yesterday and for all tomorrows, we dance the best we know." As I guess it's all we can do. Thanks for letting your aunt live on in your words. Take care.

11:00 AM, June 10, 2012  
Blogger Sandra Simmons said...


11:14 AM, June 10, 2012  
Blogger Me said...

... thank you for sharing

11:45 AM, June 10, 2012  
Blogger Ckipps said...

Sometimes you just have to write what's in your heart. A lovely remembrance, and so sorry for your loss.

11:49 AM, June 10, 2012  
Anonymous Ann Romer said...

I needed to read your essay today. Thank you - for your insight, and the comfort it brought me. May your memories continue, for in sharing them, your Aunt lives on.

11:50 AM, June 10, 2012  
Blogger Kathy Martin said...

I really enjoyed reading you post! Like a short novel where you come to love the characters! Sorry for your loss. ((((hugs))))

11:53 AM, June 10, 2012  
Blogger HAILEY said...

Simply beautiful. Thanks for sharing Molly, and I'm deeply sorry for your loss, but equally joyed to hear about such a fine lady and how she influenced your life so poetically.

12:05 PM, June 10, 2012  
Blogger meg said...

You write so eloquently about death. As someone who has been fortunate never to have a close family member or friend die, I can't really imagine the process of grieving yet. So, so sorry for your loss.

12:17 PM, June 10, 2012  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pancreatic Cancer took my mom :( I hope to see her again too . Blessings to ur mom and family .

12:54 PM, June 10, 2012  
Anonymous Lucie said...

Molly, I've loved getting to know your family over the years, and it's clear through your tales how deeply they've helped shape who you are (and what you eat). I'm so sorry to hear about your Aunt Tina. Much love x

1:02 PM, June 10, 2012  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your Aunt, but that was a beautiful post.

1:08 PM, June 10, 2012  
Blogger dbs said...

Loved this post from start to finish.

1:10 PM, June 10, 2012  
Blogger Hannah said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. The way you're able to remember your aunt and write about her is beautiful.

1:28 PM, June 10, 2012  
Blogger Kathy said...

Oh goodness. I'm so sorry for your loss. What a beautiful tribute. My mother would know just how you feel about your aunt; she had an aunt, her mother's sister, who was so much like a second mother to her that she called her Aunt Mom her entire life.

Pancreatic cancer is cruel. It seems to choose the gentlest, best-loved people: your aunt, my paternal grandmother. It's just not fair.

1:35 PM, June 10, 2012  
Blogger tamater sammich said...

A lovely tribute.

1:47 PM, June 10, 2012  
Blogger Maria Filomena said...

bigs hugs...
de Maria Filomena

2:14 PM, June 10, 2012  
Blogger Shana said...

I have been reading your blog for years but am not a commenter. Today's post reminds me of a dear friend of mine, Rosemarie, who passed away after a terribly long 10 month hospital stay. She was a coworker, but really more like a surrogate grandmother to me. Before she became incoherent I was able to tell her that I was pregnant with my first child, which made us both very happy. At the funeral, when I walked in, her daughter commented that Rosemarie would have said that a pregnant woman shouldn't go to funerals. That's probably just what she'd have said. So sorry for your loss.

2:22 PM, June 10, 2012  
Blogger Lecia said...

I recognize your mother in that top photo. The images are gripping - they leave me with the impression that a part of your mother died, too. It seems like yesterday you were telling me how Tina was taking up hobbies in preparation for retirement. My heart aches for all of you. xo

2:28 PM, June 10, 2012  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was simply one of the most beautiful things I've ever read. What a very special way to pay tribute to your Aunt...and to highlight the very special and unique relationship an Aunt can have with her niece.

2:58 PM, June 10, 2012  
Anonymous Hannah said...

So sorry for your loss Molly. What a beautiful tribute you wrote to your aunt.

3:07 PM, June 10, 2012  
Anonymous martina said...

That was so beautifully written Molly/Margaret. I love that someone called her your maunt (mom/aunt). I have an elderly "maunt" who now has a bit of dementia but her eyes still twinkle when I go to visit her. Like your Aunt Tina, she taught me so much and was so full of love. She is the only person allowed to call me my childhood nickname "Tina". My sympathies to you and your family.

3:31 PM, June 10, 2012  
Anonymous Sarah said...

Oh, lady. Beautiful and a really wonderful tribute to Tina. I cried through that entire Maurice Sendak interview and echo his sentiments exactly. My mom pops in to say hello in my dreams sometimes and its always startling and upsetting but somehow also comforting. Thinking of you. xo.

3:32 PM, June 10, 2012  
OpenID booklovercook said...

This is a lovely post and an honor to your aunt, Molly. I never would have imagined when I heard you speak at the conference yesterday that you had just gone through something so painful and sad. I am so impressed by your grace and calm.

4:24 PM, June 10, 2012  
Anonymous erin @ from city to farm said...

Beautifully written, as always. You have made your aunt real (and special) to all of us, and in the same breath reminded me, at least, to treasure the moment.

4:29 PM, June 10, 2012  
Anonymous amy h said...

I'm sorry for your loss, Molly. I know that it can be therapeutic to write these things out, and sometimes the writing can help you remember things. And once someone is gone, those memories become so precious. So I'm glad you wrote them down and gave them a life of their own, even the internet does seems like an odd place to discuss profound loss. Take care.

4:57 PM, June 10, 2012  
Anonymous anu said...

I am sorry for your loss, Molly. Take care. That was a beautifully written tribute.

5:20 PM, June 10, 2012  
Anonymous Stephanie said...

that was incredibly beautiful, molly. thank you for sharing those stories with us and i'm so sorry for your loss.

5:21 PM, June 10, 2012  
Blogger Sara said...

I'm glad for you and your family that you surrounded your aunt in that last phase of her life. How fortunate you could all be together. As in birth, as in death: if we are lucky, feeling totally loved. Much love to you today and every day.

5:23 PM, June 10, 2012  
Anonymous Christina said...

Your words are beautiful. I felt deeply moved by this post. Thank you for sharing it.

5:28 PM, June 10, 2012  
Blogger rachel said...

I understand completely the feeling of not knowing how or what to write about something so heavy. The internet does seem somewhat awkward, except that there are readers who have or will go through something very similar. What you shared gives a glimpse of how sweet your aunt was and your willingness to open up and share is appreciated.

7:21 PM, June 10, 2012  
Blogger Colleen said...

I am so sorry for your loss. What a beautiful tribute you have written.

7:40 PM, June 10, 2012  
Anonymous Elizabeth RC said...

My aunt is the same to me. In some ways closer than my mother, with whom I am very close. But my relationship with my aunt is not a friend, not a sister, nothing like my other aunts. No - very much like the love I share with my mother, but perhaps without the bittersweet part of growing and straining to find myself apart. Under the gaze of my aunt, I was always a true and whole woman, I just needed to grow into her. I am so sorry for your loss, and so glad that she gave you memories thick with sweetness so she is always closer than a mere memory.

8:42 PM, June 10, 2012  
Blogger Kristin Clark said...

What a beautiful tribute. Your writing made me think of my mom, who passed away in 2005, not because she was similar to Tina but because of the love you felt for her. Loss is so difficult and takes time to heal from, but you will have Tina within you as your raise your child. That will be your own tribute to your aunt.

9:12 PM, June 10, 2012  
Anonymous Kristin said...

I'm so sorry for your loss, Molly. A few weeks before my Grandmother died (she lived with my family while I was growing up), I had the joy of letting her know I was pregnant with my daughter. After she died, it gave me great happiness and peace to know she knew about Leah. I see you in Tina's adult picture - I hope that gives you peace. Thank you for sharing with us who love your blog.

9:14 PM, June 10, 2012  
Blogger Luba said...

Thank you, Molly. For writing about life, and death, in such a very true way. My fiance's father died of lung cancer last October, and as we get ready for our wedding this Saturday, I have thought many times of the chapter about your wedding in "Homemade Life." We live in San Francisco, and thrill to live here each time that we cross the Golden Gate Bridge. When we drive over it to go to our wedding in Marin County next Saturday, I'll thrill a bit extra-- for Tina.

9:22 PM, June 10, 2012  
OpenID arundati said...

my deepest condolences. what a touching post.

9:38 PM, June 10, 2012  
Blogger MoonFaCe said...

Very Sorry for your lost. Your words were sad, but beautiful and inspiring. Hope you recover soon.

9:44 PM, June 10, 2012  
Blogger ursula said...

This was so beautiful, Molly. I love that you even write about the hard things in your life. I'm so sorry x

9:44 PM, June 10, 2012  
Blogger Keri said...

The internet can be an awkward place to express such poignant thoughts, but your writing, most especially the way that you described your aunt exclaiming about driving across the Golden Gate bridge, brought tears to my eyes. I know that feeling about that bridge too! (My mother grew up in the Bay Area.) Your aunt's delight seems an apt way to memorialize such a special person to you.
My condolences.

10:01 PM, June 10, 2012  
Blogger Yasmin said...

What a wonderful tribute to your Aunt. I'm so sorry for your loss.

10:30 PM, June 10, 2012  
Blogger cookiecrumb said...

Sending comforting thoughts. Wait, I don't know how that's going to work. Molly, you are amazing.

11:02 PM, June 10, 2012  
OpenID acheerfullivingadventure said...

What a beautiful piece about your aunt. She and your mother sound just wonderful. How glorious to have taught you that you can live in a place and love it - what a valuable lesson in not just settling for 'good enough'.

I'm close to my aunt too - my dad was out of the picture from early on, and my aunt felt almost like another parent. It'll be a very sad day when she goes.

I'm so sorry for your loss, and thank you for writing about it here x

1:58 AM, June 11, 2012  
Blogger Ariana said...

This was beautiful. I am thankful to hear about Tina, and I am deeply sorry for your family's loss. Sending comforting thoughts your way...

2:37 AM, June 11, 2012  
Blogger Angela said...

You've written so beautifully about your aunt here -- what a perfect way to share this difficult time. I too listened repeatedly to the Fresh Air interviews with Maurice Sendak -- and I'd say your tribute is on par with hers. Just lovely. Wishing you well.

4:33 AM, June 11, 2012  
Blogger tori said...

If there's a way of applying the right weight to a piece of writing about loss on the internet, you've found it. So sorry for you loss- and so sorry that it's visited your family at a time that should be filled with such joy.

5:04 AM, June 11, 2012  
Anonymous Margie Ross said...

I have an identical twin sister and my daughter calls her cousin her "couther" and he calls her his "couster". I call him my "nephson". This started when I told them that they had 1/2 identical genes from their mothers.

6:03 AM, June 11, 2012  
Blogger Ali said...

Such beautiful words. I lost my mom, suddenly, in February, so this hits so very close to home. I've started a blog, actually, to write about her - not her death, but her life - and the memories that we are so fiercly holding onto.
Thank you for sharing this lovely tribute. I'm so sorry for your loss.

6:15 AM, June 11, 2012  
Anonymous Elissa I PoorMansFeast.com said...

Magnificent post, dear Molly. As ever. Hugs-- x

6:54 AM, June 11, 2012  
Blogger UNIFORM natural said...

Oh Molly. You are such a good writer.

7:12 AM, June 11, 2012  
Blogger Stan & Deb said...

Beautiful post. Made me wish for an Aunt like yours! So sorry ... Debbie

8:08 AM, June 11, 2012  
Anonymous Rosie said...

Oh, Molly. Thank you for sharing so much with us.

8:19 AM, June 11, 2012  
Blogger Ashley said...


8:21 AM, June 11, 2012  
Anonymous KJW said...

I must disagree about one thing, Molly. In your deft hands, the Internet has EXACTLY the right weight for an essay on death. It's amazing how much love and humor and history you managed to evoke. I'm glad, for your cousins and your mother, and for you, that people who never knew Tina now have a sense of what her loss means.

8:45 AM, June 11, 2012  
Anonymous Amanda said...

Molly, I read A Homemade Life and truly laughed out loud and sobbed like no other book I've read. And now I feel like you and your family are old friends. I wish you all comfort during this time, especially your mother. I can't imagine what strength it must have taken for her to go through that again with her other most intimate partner. The joy we experience in life is unfortunately matched in strength by grief. My heart goes out to you all.

9:11 AM, June 11, 2012  
Anonymous Nicole M. said...

Molly, I'm so sorry for your loss. My brother was diagnosed 5 years ago with Hodgkin's lymphoma that was classified as terminal. The whole time, I was scared of watching him slowly die of cancer, scared he would suffer. Then, at the beginning of April he was suddenly and unexpectedly in remission and we all felt like we could relax, just a little, for now. On May 18 (Friday), we left for a family camping trip and were going to come home on Monday. But Sunday morning, we found my brother had died in his sleep. We do not know what happened yet, and may not know until the fall when the final autopsy results come back.
I have had so many people tell me that it must be hard that I didn't get to say goodbye. But it's not. I don't know how I could have managed to say goodbye to the person who had been my big brother, best friend and self-appointed protector for 30 years. I don't really think being able to say goodbye to someone who is dying brings any real closure or any reduction in the pain you feel. And as horrible as it is to lose him when we thought we were safe, and on vacation no less, I am grateful that he left this world quietly, with his family around after a pleasant day and with thoughts of another one to come.
I'm sorry this has become mostly a comment about me, but all this is to say that I know how terrified I was at the prospect of watching my brother's life slip away like that, and I didn't have to. But you did go through that and you chose to be by her side until the very end, which certainly makes you a brave and loving person. My deepest condolences. I don't know the exact pain you are feeling, but I know how my version of it feels and I can empathize.

9:27 AM, June 11, 2012  
Anonymous Cristin said...

Oh Molly, you've got me crying in the coffee shop. I'm so sorry for your loss. I've had such a vivid sense of your aunt & your mom from years of reading about them. I'm glad you were able to be with your family so much at the end.

9:56 AM, June 11, 2012  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You were very lucky to know such a special person. I'm so sorry for your loss. I lost my mother 15 years ago and I can say there never is closure, you just find a way to live with it. Keep your aunt in your heart and treasure your special memories. I used to talk with my mother about an afterlife and she thought there was one, a place where peoples spirits find each other one day.

10:49 AM, June 11, 2012  
Anonymous Amy L. said...

Oh Molly, I'm so sorry.

10:53 AM, June 11, 2012  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As usual, your writing so perfectly captures emotions in such an intimate and beautiful way. Your Aunt sounds like an amazing woman and your love for her is evident in this post.
Thank you for sharing. Losing someone important is so hard. Know that there are a lot of people out here who are thinking of you, even if you don't know us.

1:18 PM, June 11, 2012  
Blogger Lumlet said...

I'm so sorry for your loss, Margaret. This was an absolutely beautiful tribute to her. Made me tear up. Thank you for sharing your memory of her and your thoughts on aging and death... I live in the Bay Area and feel like cheering each time I go over the GG Bridge too! I will do so today in honor of Molly when I travel to SF.

2:12 PM, June 11, 2012  
Anonymous Nicole Suzette said...

Hi Molly - I am so sorry for your loss. I also had a very close aunt that was taken by cancer. She was my favorite aunt - fabulous, outspoken and in my young eyes oh so glamourous. In the end at home she was still that aunt to me - though she was visibly so different. I miss her even after several years. Your post brought me to tears (in the middle of Oddfellows)- in a good way remembering her. I wish peace for your heart.


2:48 PM, June 11, 2012  
OpenID 8junebugs.com said...

Oh, Molly. I'm so, so sorry.

2:57 PM, June 11, 2012  
Anonymous deb said...

Dear Molly,

Your post was quite a tribute to you lovely aunt and I send you and your family so many warm wishes and deep sympathies.

It's funny, I think, the things we recall about those we love; maybe even the things the brain idly fixates upon. Hang on to that cast iron pan with all your might, as I hang on to my mother's soft, freckled, smooth skin since I touched it last in February. It's all you can do. That, and work to remember the rest so you can tell your own child all about your Aunt Tina and her love of living.

You are in my thoughts.

4:36 PM, June 11, 2012  
Blogger Kristin said...

Molly, I am deeply sorry for your loss. I love you and your blog and so did my mom, who died from pancreatic cancer May 17.

4:46 PM, June 11, 2012  
Blogger Janice said...

On April 27th I was told, by a hospital doctor, that my Dad had several months to live. I flew to Arizona on the 5th of May to make arrangements so I could care for him in his home. He died on the 9th of May. I wasn't able to get him home. I wish I had just dropped everything instead of waiting that week that I was trying to get things organized at home and work.

I am really sorry for both us, you and me, and I am really glad that you got to spend time with your aunt. Thank you for helping me to cry a little. It has been hard.

5:00 PM, June 11, 2012  
Anonymous Judy S. said...

I always remember when my mother died at the very young age of 55, my father said...'I don't believe in heaven, but I sure hope I'm proved wrong and I get to see my love again.'
My dear sweet father died several years ago at the ago of 86 and I smile sometimes thinking of the two of them together again. I am so sorry for your loss.

5:03 PM, June 11, 2012  
Anonymous Edera said...

So sorry for your loss. I hope the coming days are gentle on you and your family.

6:42 PM, June 11, 2012  
Anonymous Tori Avey said...

Molly, this is a beautiful tribute. I knew the past month had been difficult for you, but I didn't realize how difficult till I read this post. And yet, you were able to come to share your knowledge with us in Seattle, in spite of losing somebody so special. You have a generous spirit and a gift with words. I'm so sorry for your loss.

8:52 PM, June 11, 2012  
Blogger Beth said...

I am so sorry for your loss. You know, you're actually right that you were genetically more closely related to your aunt and cousins because your mom and her were twins, but even without the genetic reasoning it makes sense that you two were so close, she sounds like an amazing lady. Hugs and comfort to you and your family.

9:27 PM, June 11, 2012  
Blogger Vickie said...

You write so eloquently...what a beautiful tribute to your more-than-aunt. I have a feeling that Tina will always be with you.

9:47 PM, June 11, 2012  
Blogger Michele said...

You make your Auntie/Mama live with your words. Thank you for introducing her to us. I am so sorry for your loss.

9:54 PM, June 11, 2012  
Anonymous CCP said...

My condolences to you and your family. You've honoured your aunt in perhaps the best way possible - through beautiful writing.

Thank you for sharing this, during what must be a difficult time.

11:05 PM, June 11, 2012  
Anonymous Victoria said...

Molly, I am so sorry for this loss, so devastating to you, your cousins, and, of course, your mother. I imagine losing a twin sister is unbearable.

I hope there is an afterlife; that way you get to see Berg!

2:57 AM, June 12, 2012  
Anonymous Kristin said...

My favorite aunt had a brain tumor, & died when she was only 44. I empathize, & am very sorry.

4:34 AM, June 12, 2012  
Blogger luci_overington said...

My Grandfather passed away this February and I have been trying to gather the energy and the thought to write a piece on my blog. So far I've not found the words but I think you have inspired me.

Thank you for a wonderful piece of writing.

5:18 AM, June 12, 2012  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I've been reading your blog for a while but this is my first post.
I am so sorry for the loss of your Aunt. This was a beautiful tribute.
I hope you and the tiny person under your shirt are doing well and I am very much looking forward to the next book.

6:08 AM, June 12, 2012  
Blogger Sarah said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. Your post has me tearing up at the office and thinking about my favorite aunt, Esther. She is also that special combination of part aunt part mom- and I feel so lucky to have someone like that in my life.

7:07 AM, June 12, 2012  
Anonymous Victoria said...

You have brought laughter, love, knowledge and a few tears to hundreds of people. Please know that all of the people that you have touched are carrying you in their
hearts at this difficult time.

7:47 AM, June 12, 2012  
Blogger Margie said...

I am so sorry for your loss. I don't know what else to say. Death is like that. It not only robs you of a loved one, but also of words to say.

Many hugs from me to you. And thank you for sharing some stories on your lovely, lovely mother-aunt.

8:27 AM, June 12, 2012  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. My uncle died of pancreatic cancer a couple of years ago and my mother is dying, slowly, now as a result of dementia. I always wonder how I'm supposed to be without so many beloved people that helped raised me and cheer me on throughout my life. My breath is caught in my throat just reading your post. And oh, how I hope Maurice Sendak is right, even if I don't necessarily believe in an afterlife either. It wouldn't be so bad to be wrong about that.

8:55 AM, June 12, 2012  
Anonymous DessertForTwo said...

First, I'm so sorry for you & your family's loss. Tina sounds just wonderful and loving.
Second, you captured the moment just perfectly in words, like you always do :)

Thinking of you,

10:36 AM, June 12, 2012  
Blogger moroma said...

I'm so, so sorry. Going through this now with my Dad. Time and being with those you love will help heal. Be well.

12:22 PM, June 12, 2012  
Blogger Bridget said...

Molly, I saw you speak at BlogHer Food last weekend, and I thought you seemed reserved, maybe even sad, but without having seen you in person before, I just assumed it was your normal demeanor. I'm so sorry to hear that you had a very good reason for sorrow.

12:26 PM, June 12, 2012  
Blogger StylinGirl said...

So sorry for the loss of Tina and grateful for your ability to share such honest and beautiful thoughts.

12:36 PM, June 12, 2012  
Anonymous JerryG said...

First time I've ever been to your site (found it from Goop) and I'm speechless. It is very, very difficult to 'write' about death as it is so emotional but you did a very commendable job and I want to thank you for opening up your family and your heart to your readers.

12:50 PM, June 12, 2012  
Anonymous Janie said...

Beautifully written as usual, Molly. On the subject of "afterlife", I just read "Many Lives, Many Masters", which a neighbor had recommended. It is interesting "food for thought" on the subject, from true doctor/patient interactions. A quick read...not sure of my conclusions, but it was interesting. Sending love.

12:54 PM, June 12, 2012  
Blogger Megan Gordon said...

Really beautiful post, Molly.

And...I'm sobbing listening to Maurice Sendak here as I package granola. Thank you for the link. Really special interview.

1:25 PM, June 12, 2012  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, Molly.

I'm so sorry for your loss. My father died recently, and I am just sitting here with tears blurring my vision as I read your wonderful tribute to Tina. Thank you for sharing her with all of us. You have done a great thing, and captured her perfectly.


6:32 PM, June 12, 2012  
Anonymous Kate said...

Please accept my sincerest condolences, Molly. Unfortunately, my mother died March 25; since then, I haven't been right. (Lung cancer took my dad the summer of
I started reading A HOMEMADE LIFE just last evening. I have been trying to read fifty books this year (and see fifty movies ... FiftyFiftyMe Challenge ... have you heard of it?), and I have been so hung up on some of my "literary" reads that the going has seemed torturous at times. My oldest child (26) finally blurted, "Give it up already, Mom!" Read what you want to read. And that's how I put away Marilynne Robinson's HOME and pulled your comfy-looking book from my bookshelf (I bought it back when Borders was still open in Kansas City ~).
Well. Within a short while I had make it to page 133 and was angry, really, that I had to stop reading to go to bed.
I have a blog, too, and my most recent entry was about the food of my youth (kathleenstander.blogspot.com).
Your wonderful, heartwarming book inspired me to write about my blue collar bologna upbringing. Although my grief is so raw, it felt nice to revisit some table memories ... .
Anyway, I googled your name, and up came your blog, which I immediately subscribed to. I so love your writing style. It is breezy and authentic and kind.
Thank you for what you do.
Aunt Tina must have loved you very much.
Many blessings to you and yours ~
P.S. I am going to make Burg's potato salad this weekend ... .

8:20 PM, June 12, 2012  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Molly, I am so sorry for the loss of your Aunt Tina. I lost my dear brother two years ago to a fast moving cancer. I cried everyday for months afterwards and imagine you are having a difficult time too.
I believe in an afterlife -- the bible says we can live forever with God. My grandfather taught me this verse when I was a little girl and I've never forgotten it. "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son that WHOSOEVER believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life." John 3:16

5:42 AM, June 13, 2012  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thinking of you, and sending light your way. The Internet may seem all wrong as a place to write about death, but your writing made it right... thank you for sharing her story... Also, Many Lives, Many Masters, as Janie said, is a good read when pondering the whys of what happens next...

7:38 AM, June 13, 2012  
Anonymous Cate O'Malley said...

A beautifully moving and perfect tribute. You weave stories of family like no other.

10:32 AM, June 13, 2012  
Anonymous Kacie // Gorge in the Gorge said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. I'm so close with my Aunt. It's a kindred spirit thing. We only get a handful of those people in our lives so it's very hard to lose them. Sending love.


11:13 AM, June 13, 2012  
Blogger mm said...

Thank you, Molly, for linking us (me) to the Sendak interview. It means so much to me.
My mother died of pancreatic cancer fifteen years ago. I miss her still. I know you will be thinking of Tina for a long time. You were both lucky to have each other.

11:57 AM, June 13, 2012  
Blogger Rocky Mountain Woman said...

Oh my, I need to find those interviews...

2:40 PM, June 13, 2012  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Molly, what a lovely tribute to your beautiful aunt. The best way to remember those that have passed is to tell stories; theirs and your own.

2:56 PM, June 13, 2012  
Blogger philosophotarian said...

may you be well and safe and loved in your grief.

4:04 PM, June 13, 2012  
Anonymous Heidi - Apples Under My Bed said...

Beautiful. Very moving. I'm sorry for your loss, for you and your mother and Tina's children. What a beautiful way to share a snippet of her story. I feel special to have read it. Love.
Heidi xo

5:20 PM, June 13, 2012  
Blogger peaknits said...

A beautiful tribute and perfect way to share Tina with us. Thank you.

8:11 PM, June 13, 2012  
Anonymous ML said...

Your tribute to your aunt Tina is beautiful and moving--I almost feel like I know her myself. I loved those Fresh Air interviews with Maurice Sendak as well: the first time I heard the final one, I sobbed because it was so raw. I'm sorry for your loss.

6:16 AM, June 14, 2012  
Anonymous Calantha said...

What a lovely image of Tina have you painted in my mind. I feel like I can sense the warmth of the person who you knew almost as a second mother. I'm sorry for your loss, Molly. But I am happy to know such wonderful people exist in the world and that she touched your life.

9:39 AM, June 14, 2012  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i'm very glad you wrote this, and to learn about your wonderful Tina. i had to write on my blog after i lost 3 of the most important people in my life...since the blog existed for them.

i, too, hope to see all my loved ones who left way, way too early.

The whole religion approach to life is uncomfortable to me. However, i look around at this incredible earth, teeming with life that keeps on going...and have decided that it is simply illogical for me to believe "this is all there is."

i firmly believe there will be wonderful surprises after this chapter.

May the sweetness of your memories soften the ache of your loss.

12:05 PM, June 14, 2012  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I enjoy your blog..I am so sorry for your loss, no words can ease the pain of the loss of someone so beloved..Our daughter lived in Seattle washington for about 5 years, the smells, sights and the bridges, oh my the largest city in this state, we live at the absolute furthest south city, vancouver USA..when I tell people I live in Washington state they only say oh, my God I love Seattle, so I do know how you feel..Your description of your Aunt reminds me of a distant relative I only got to see a few times, but my Mother who died when I was young was so close, when she passed from this earth we were in the room and I was sitting on the bed, my Mother was spanish and that is how they let their loved ones pass..afterwards it was crying and cooking the loved ones food, musica, dancing I was overwhelmed being so young..but thru the years I find it comforting because the people who were there were able to send off the relative with happiness not dragging on like funerals in most funeral homes..I pray for your healing and some release from your pain...I read the and heard Maurice Sendaks words about afterlife etc..I agree with him and choose to believe we will be reunited with our loved ones who have passed from this earth..Peace and love to you from an old hippie from southern california!!!!!!!!!!!!

7:12 PM, June 14, 2012  
Blogger Victoria said...

I'm very sorry to hear the news of your aunt's passing Molly. I pass on my condolences to you, your family and particularly your mother.

12:56 AM, June 15, 2012  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for this beautiful post Molly.

8:05 AM, June 15, 2012  
Blogger Leigh and Anthony said...

I'm sorry for your loss.

I loved those interviews when Fresh Air replayed them. They have stuck with me too. I loved the way he just talked to Terry Gross like it was just them. He was so honest.

11:33 AM, June 15, 2012  
Anonymous nicole said...

So very sorry to hear about the loss of your sweet aunt ... thinking of you and your family.

11:53 AM, June 15, 2012  
Anonymous chinese grandma said...

my dad died of pancreatic cancer the day before maurice sendak died. i think randy pausch of the last lecture said that pancreatic cancer doesn't get the attention it deserves because no one survives to raise awareness. sadly true.

the experience of losing my dad was so painful. but i was there for him. and what i learned was an amazing and unexpected reward.

thank you very much for sharing your story, and maurice's. both really hit home for me.

9:34 PM, June 15, 2012  
Blogger Unknown said...

May 14 2012 my family lost our mother to cancer 7 months after her diagnosis. We too lovingly cared for her at home until that beautiful warm Monday she left.
These days are filled with beautiful memories that comfort us as I know you and your family cherish too.

9:49 PM, June 15, 2012  
Anonymous kaori said...

I am so sorry to hear of your loss, Molly. Thank you for sharing your beautiful story.

10:34 PM, June 15, 2012  
Blogger Buffra said...

I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of your aunt.

1:24 PM, June 16, 2012  
Blogger Alice Q. Foodie said...

That was a lovely tribute. I am so sorry for your family's loss.

5:35 PM, June 16, 2012  
Anonymous Stephanie-Oh said...

You are so fortunate to have so many warm and happy memories of your Aunt.Remember her as she was: pretty, warm, loving, and happy. Hold on to those memories always. my condolances to you and your mother and your cousin.

5:43 PM, June 16, 2012  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So sorry for your loss. Pancreatic cancer is a horrible and cruel disease. My best friend from middle school was diagnosed in May last year and she was gone by August. The unfairness of it all is terrible--I agree with whoever wrote above that it seems to take the most gentle people among us.
And to the commenter above who feels it is necessary to tell a 30+ year old person what the Bible says---Molly is old enough to read the Bible herself if she so chooses and to draw her own conclusions.
By proselytizing in response to Molly's classy and dignified tribute to your aunt, you aren't doing Christians any favors.

9:28 AM, June 17, 2012  
Blogger michele said...

I lost my dad 11 years ago to pancreatic cancer. It was also very swift from diagnosis to whe we lost him. Today is Fathers Day, and I still miss him so much. Your post was so beautiful and eloquent. Thank you so much for sharing.

11:03 AM, June 17, 2012  
Anonymous Lara said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. It was such a beautiful post and thanks for the prompt to listen to Maurice Sendak's interview.

12:38 PM, June 17, 2012  
Anonymous Merrymom said...

I am so sorry to hear of your loss. I thought it was unusual that I had not seen a new post from you. I remember thinking, I hope everything is okay.
I have the Fresh Air episode on my ipod, (of Maurice Sendak), but I have not listened to it yet.
I also want to suggest 2 books, Tolstoy and the Purple Chair by Nina Sankovitch and We are Their Heaven by Allison Dubois. (when you feel up to it)
Take care of yourself.....thinking of you and your family.

7:23 PM, June 17, 2012  
Blogger Jill said...

I feel that, sometimes, even though it doesn't feel like enough, just putting something out there in words that you hope someone else will read is necessary. It's for you and for your loved one and their energy that is in the universe in a different form now. And you did it here beautifully.

10:23 PM, June 17, 2012  
Anonymous Bonoca said...

Dearest Molly,

My deepest sympathies to you and your family. What a lovely tribute to your Aunt Tina. Her light will live on in you forever.

Maybe you and Brandon will name your new little one after Tina and Berg. They will be kvelling up in heaven.

Light and love to you and yours.

7:58 AM, June 18, 2012  
Anonymous charlotte au chocolat said...

So sorry for your loss, Molly. Sending warm thoughts and wishes your way...

4:02 PM, June 18, 2012  
Blogger Lulu said...

Molly, I haven't visited Orangette in a while but I just thought of it then and for some reason had to jump on and visit. I actually wondered if you'd had your baby yet but then I came to this post instead. Can I just say, you were so born to write. I read A Homemade Life last year and, consequently, I feel as if I know you and your family. A beautiful amazing family. This post about your Aunt just re-affirms that. I am sitting here, in the middle of my Tuesday (in Australia) with a lump in my throat. I didn't know Tina, and with those few but immense words you just wrote, I feel as if I do know her now. What a lucky small human you will have being born into that family. Thank you for this insight and for helping others to stop, look around, and cheer. RIP Tina. - Lucinda T xox

8:21 PM, June 18, 2012  
Blogger Sasha said...

That one line about not believing in an afterlife but still wanting to see someone again is going to stay with me for a long, long time.

Thank you for sharing this. I love your aunt's attitude about cheering and living in a city that she deeply loved.

4:34 AM, June 19, 2012  
Blogger Jillian said...

That post touched me. My mother is an identical twin, too. I've always felt her twin was a little more than your average aunt and my cousins something like sib-cousins. Thinking good thoughts for all your family, and especially your mom.

9:22 AM, June 19, 2012  
Blogger Unknown said...

This tribute to your aunt brought tears to my eyes - thank you for sharing this very personal event with us. So sorry for you loss.

10:31 AM, June 19, 2012  
Blogger Susan Groveman said...

My deepest condolences for the loss of your Aunt, Molly. This time of sadness is surely very hard for you and your family. Burg lives on because of you, and so will Aunt Tina. Your little one will know them well because of your tremendous gifts. Thank you for sharing so generously with the rest of us. If it is appropriate, would there be a means to make a donation in Tina's honor to the American Cancer Society?

4:20 PM, June 19, 2012  
Blogger Kate said...

Molly, thank you for sharing this with us. I am so sorry for your loss.

I also, separately and very much un-relatedly, want to thank you for the note iin your post about Marian and Vivian. I happened upon them almost exactly a year ago today at a pizza place near Union Square (I live in San Francisco) and got such a kick out of the two of them. I had no idea who they were until now. You have solved a great mystery for me!

11:27 AM, June 21, 2012  
Blogger Oana said...

Beautiful. Deepest condolences. I listened to the interview as well. Thank you for that.

7:18 AM, June 23, 2012  
Blogger Michelle said...

Hi Molly - so sorry for the loss of your Aunt. My mom died from pancreatic cancer, so I know all too well what a terrible disease it is.

I'm sure that your post would have have made her proud.

9:45 PM, June 24, 2012  
OpenID freshscratch.net said...

You gave me goosebumps, and I wish I could give you a hug. Glad you have so many happy memories of Aunt Tina to comfort you during this time.

5:49 PM, June 25, 2012  
Anonymous keiko said...

Molly - I'm so sorry for your loss. Such beautiful pictures of your aunt and your mother. Thinking of you and your family, take care. xx

12:50 PM, June 26, 2012  
Anonymous Gail said...

With much sympathy for your loss... The love your Aunt shared will be with you always...

6:45 PM, June 26, 2012  
Blogger Mercie said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. This news hits close to home: my dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer las August and passes away in April. It took the life out of him very quickly and it was devastating to watch. I was pregnant at he time and he never got to meet my daughter. Like you, I was hesitant to talk about it on my blog, but I did and I'm so grateful for the support I received. Thinking of you.

10:26 AM, June 28, 2012  
Blogger Maureen said...

The Sendak interviews put me in tears every time, but such an uplifting perspective on death.

6:48 PM, June 30, 2012  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

01 July and I am first reading your post about your beautiful aunt. What a lovely and loving tribute to someone special.

Thank you for sharing your love for your aunt and teaching me a few things about taking the time to remember someone special.

12:37 PM, July 01, 2012  
Blogger Alida said...

This is an exceptionally well written and beautiful blog. You are inspiring me.
Well done!

10:09 AM, July 06, 2012  
Blogger Jess said...

Thank you for sharing with us. I think we who are left are here to be a witness, to spread word of what we loved about those who are no longer with us and to try to model what we learned from them. Your first book helped me to learn to do that for my dad who I lost in much the same way you lost yours. I gave a copy to my sister, not so much for the recipes since she's a vegetarian, but for the story that mirrored ours. So sharing has power to help heal - I hope that healing comes back to you.

10:07 PM, July 06, 2012  
Anonymous Barbara said...

It seems that everything has been already said.

But again: Your words are truly beautiful. I don't know her or you, but suddenly it feels like – even though I am nearly living on the other side of the world from you (Germany) – that she is with you. And you know what? She smiles.

Take care.

1:51 AM, July 07, 2012  
Blogger Teresa said...

I have been reading your blog for several years now. My mother died suddenly in February this year (she didn't get to grow old either). I remember one of the first "normal" things I did after getting through the crazy week of funeral arrangements and wading through the details of her estate was to read a few of your blog posts. Losing people dear to you is never easy, but the hurt begins to ease with time. I hope you are finding comfort in the wonderful memories you have of your aunt. I'm so sorry for your loss. Thank you for writing and being one of the little "lights" in my own time of darkness.

9:55 AM, July 07, 2012  
Anonymous Rachelle said...

My aunt (mother's older sister) passed away four years ago this March. It was sudden and extremely unexpected--she was out jogging with her daughter and suddenly slumped to the ground with dizziness, gently convulsing and in pain. An ambulance came but it was too late... by the time they reached the hospital she was gone. She was only 52. A few years before, she had worked very hard to lose weight and become a healthier person after two decades of being miserable, joining Weight Watchers to shed more than 100 pounds, eating better and working out every day.

We didn't know at the time that this turnaround stemmed from the diagnosis of aortic stenosis with a bicuspid valve and the threat that this, combined with her weight, could kill her if something was not done. She told no one, not even her own daughter.

It was in the autopsy that the heart issue was revealed. Never in my life have I seen such sorrow in my mother's face as she quite literally wailed upon hearing of my aunt's death. I was devastated. Everyone was. She was an amazing woman and the closest thing to a second mother in my life.

What makes me the most sad is that she didn't get to be around for some of the most important and wonderful things in my life, namely my engagement and wedding to a wonderful man, our purchase of a home, and just recently, the birth of my daughter. It hurts so much that I can't share these amazing moments in time with her.

Thank you for writing this lovely piece. I'm deeply sorry for your loss, and for the losses of many of the other commenters. It is difficult not to wallow in the sadness, and I hope you are finding comfort in the midst of it all.

11:19 PM, July 11, 2012  
Blogger S.Roy said...

Thanks Molly for writing this. I'm going to send this to my mom, her twin, and my cousins. Beautifully written.

7:21 AM, July 19, 2012  
Blogger The Whippy Curly Tails said...

This post really hit home for me ... Last year my mother died, May 29th a beloved pet of mine died of old age & I also listened to Maurice Sendak's comments on Fresh Air many times. I lost my father when I was a very young child, so when my mother died the impact was very different & really made me focus on my life.

I, like most, want to believe that we get to see all our loved ones again ... After we die. Beyond anything this is my hope about death. Reading your post is somehow comforting in that I'm not alone in hope when dealing with loss. So thank you.

I followed you back when your header was this lush orange chocolate image ... So imagine my happy surprise to read you will be a mom soon! Congratulations.

Onward with life ... And a new one!

11:44 AM, July 22, 2012  
Anonymous Leslie F said...

Oh Molly, I'm so sorry to hear about your aunt! Tina was such a wonderful, loving person and without her the world will be a poorer place. Please give my deepest condolences to your mother and your cousins.
Sending all my love to you, Toni, Brandon, your extended family, and your bundle of joy. I hope that someday we will all have the chance to see our loved ones once more. But in the meantime, keep them alive through stories and in memories.

10:08 PM, July 25, 2012  
Anonymous jogjaja said...

Like this.

It was such a beautiful post.

10:35 AM, August 22, 2012  

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