one of thirty-two

As of 6:28 AM, the Alabama Department of Public Health reported 32 coronavirus-related deaths in the state.

One of them is—well, was—my great aunt.

She was my late grandmother’s younger sister. One of four girls in a family of eight. The grandmother of one of my favorite cousins. My heart breaks in anticipation of the call I’ll make later this morning to extend my sympathies.

My family will not do what we did eight years ago for the youngest of my great-aunts: descend on the city of Birmingham with love and food and laughs and drinks to hold hands and shed our tears together. We will mourn quietly; scattered across Alabama, Tennessee, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Minnesota, and Ohio. Over phone calls and text messages and video chats.

My grandmother and her sisters were grand dames; the brightest stars in our family’s far-flung galaxy. Fallen stars deserve to be sent off in chariots. Not silence.

But as I so often remind myself: “deserve’s got nothin’ to do with it.”

R.I.P. Aunt B (middle left)

3 thoughts on “one of thirty-two

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