My Aunt Lorene passed away this week, her final months spent in home-care hospice. It seems a cliché of being sad, but also being a blessing to let her go. It is also ironic that this now Midwestern girl was just several states south of her New Jersey, vacationing along the NC southern Outer Banks in Emerald Isle, NC when she passed away.
Mixed within the joy of our trip, a tinge of unexpected sorrows as many memories of my childhood at the Jersey shore summers with she and my family were refreshed in my mind. With thirty-plus cousins and aunts and uncles and grandparents we vacationed at the shore many years running.
What simple yet incredible times we had with extended family dining outdoors with her husband (my Uncle Walt), my father and other uncles playing horseshoes and spitting watermelon seeds in an epic battle, card games, riding waves, catching crabs from a boat and flounder from the shoreline, her sons Paul and Mike trying to teach us to surf, her daughter Margie our summer girl several years running, shell seeking with Nana and the aunts.
As we grew older, my family’s trips to the Jersey shore became less frequent, but I have different memories of Elaine’s birthday with us wearing tacky paper hats for long after the cake disappeared, happy hours, my father and his siblings louder than those of us who rented the house, beach umbrellas, more crabbing and boil, dancing with Diane, sandy naps, and a myriad of cousins, spouses, kids descending upon our house.
I have not seen my aunt in several years, since another family trip to the Seven Springs resort in PA. But my rememberances are strong, as I now create beach memories with my own children. What they remember some twenty, thirty years later, I cannot tell, but I hope they remember the fun, the positive, the challenging, the hopeful.
Rest in peace, Aunt Lorene, with the family gone before. You deserve it. C