Two days after my aunt passed, my dad, two cousins and I started the daunting task of cleaning out my aunts house. I walked in and asked, "where do we start?" How do we start this process, a process I am unfamiliar with. It was weird being at my aunts house, knowing that my aunt would never return. All though my heart knew she was gone, my mind was confused and couldn't yet believe the certain situation was really happening. It was just a strange thing to have to be a part of. We decided to box everything we want to keep to go through and then let all of our immediate family members take what they want. Black garbage bags were for items we would donate to Goodwill (we end up with over 20 bags) and white garbage bags were for items that would be thrown out. My aunt kept everything, everything. She had two drawers full of old/new documents. My cousin and I went through each and every single piece. Tossing some and saving others to be shredded. The task was overwhelming, boring and amusing all at the same time. We found her baby book, which was so neat to look through. We found old family pictures, some of which my dad as never seen. The whole process took us three days but by the third day, it was empty and cold. It was sad but as I sit here in my house and type, I can look around my living room and see pieces of my aunt and that makes me smile.
Saturday after spending close to five hours cleaning and organizing my aunts house, I had to get home to get ready for a friends wedding Eric and I were attending. I got home, got Claire's over night bag together, kissed her good bye and off Eric went with her to my parents house. She would be having her first over night stay. She was fine, I was a nervous wreck. Luckily, me getting ready took my mind of the whole situation. I got ready and off Eric and I went to a church on the North side of Chicago. The church was absolutely beautiful. The wedding was perfect and the brides dress was gorgeous. After the wedding, we had a little bit before the reception so Eric and I hit an oasis to get Starbucks. I made my first phone call to my parents, Claire was fine and didn't even seem to be worried that I wasn't around. The reception hall was in the Western suburbs and was very pretty. Our table was full of high school friends, which made for an interesting evening. The food was great, the bar was stocked and the music made our table dance all night long. Through the evening I only texted and called my parents three more times (I know but when you have kids and it's your first night away you would understand! Ever time, she was perfect and having a great time getting spoiled!)
After the wedding a few of our friends got a hotel room, we went over there and had a little "party". Eric and I were actually going to drive home, seeing as we are trying to save a little bit of money. Luckily, our one friend had a room with a pull out couch, seeing that his girlfriend was unable to attend, he offered Eric and I the couch. We gladly except. I couldn't imagine driving home at 3:00am. We got to bed at 3:15 and headed for home around 7:30am. Yup, that's less then 4 1/2 hours of sleep. We were bushed but I had to get home to start day two of cleaning out my aunts house at 9:00 am.
Later Sunday afternoon, my family had a little private memorial service for my aunt. It was simple and quaint. There were pictures, baby books, wedding albums, and scrapbooks all remembering my aunt's life. Seeing as my aunt was one of the least religious people, I knew. It was perfect and I think she would have been very happy. Everyone sat around reminiscing about the "good ole' days" I love to hear stories about my dad and his siblings. I love the family time, all though I wish it was for better circumstance. All in all, it was a very successful days full of smiles as we said our "goodbyes" to my aunt!