I’m in Portland for PDX Cocktail Week but my dad’s siblings live here as well. My aunts & uncle that I had only met 1 or 2 other times in my life 13 years ago
My Aunt Mona is one of his sisters. I barely know her and only saw her twice in my adolescence, once when I first came to Portland in August 2000, then later in October when the Cheathams planned a family reunion in Las Vegas.
On Easter Sunday of this year, my aunt learned that she had a malignant brain tumor and her health deteriorated quickly. 2 weeks ago the doctors gave her a prognosis of 2 weeks left to live. She has made it past that deadline, and I was fortunate enough to see her today.
At first she did not fully comprehend who I was was, but after mentioning my dad, my mom and my siblings, and going on an hour-long walk pushing her in a wheelchair with her son and my Uncle Bubby, she began to light up and began to communicate a bit better.
I told her how much everyone loved her and how much everyone wished they could be there, but I was the family messenger. I gave her a big hug, and she held on very tightly and I told her how I will be back in Portland in February, and I looked forward to seeing her again. She then smiled and lit up with excitement and told me she looked forward to it as we embraced strongly another few times before I had to leave.
Even though we have barely interacted in our lifetimes, she and I are still family. It was heartbreaking to say goodbye to someone, knowing that there will be no chance of ever seeing them again alive.