Category Archives: Death

Gone

Note that I started writing this less than a week after she died. I’ve not been able to return to it. Until now.

In my first true and vivid memory of her, we sat across from each other in a booth at a drugstore, probably Walgreens in Elgin. It must have been February because her birthday was close. She confided in me that she would soon no longer be a teenager and it made her sad. I must have been 9 if she was turning 20. I don’t recall my reaction. Maybe I was sad too.

There are earlier memories, but only snippets: hearing the raccoons in the trash cans outside the cabin in Arbor Vitae, Wisconsin and being worried it was bears; being concerned about her when she had her tonsils removed; going to see the bears at the dump in Arbor Vitae.

The real memories came later. Being junior bridesmaid at her wedding; visiting her and Uncle Jack at their homes: Walnut Avenue and Marguerite Street in Elgin, Lor Ann Drive in South Elgin and finally Ironwood Bluff Road in Fulton, Mississippi.

I always found time to visit with her when I went back to Elgin. Usually, we spent a day shopping, having lunch, visiting. Once or twice we even stayed with her and Uncle Jack, probably because our regular sleeping quarters were full of people.

She visited me after we moved out east at least twice. Once was for an inaugural ball when she flew out with my mom and my brother. The other time(s) was(were) just to play tourist.

My last memories of being with her are full of birds, insects, laughter, cats, reminiscing, and a battlefield.

When Uncle Jack called to tell me she’d died just after Christmas in 2016 it was as if someone had punched me in my stomach. We were on our way back from the beach. I cried in front of my children — something I’d not done before. I had questions: How could that have happened? (answer: diabetes) Why didn’t anyone tell me that she’d been so ill? (she didn’t want you to know). When is the funeral? (there won’t be one).

I finally wrote my uncle, her husband, a letter. He called me last night and we talked about a lot of things, but not about how much we both missed her. That would have hurt too much. Despite having lost other aunts and uncles, my beloved grandparents, and both my parents, this is the loss that I will never get over.

Aunt Ginny — you are missed.

Aunt Ginny in Profile

Not part of my personal declutter, but part of things I found at my mom’s — a silhouette of a young girl with a barrette that I believe is of my Aunt Ginny. I remember that this hung on a wall at my Grandma Green’s house — possibly in her bedroom. And I believe I remember her telling me it was of Aunt Ginny when she was a child. It looks like her profile.

Yesterday was Aunt Ginny’s birthday. She would have been 72 years old.

Remembering Richard Adams and Watership Down

Carrie Fisher died on December 27th which was tragic because she was only 60. However, I was more sad to learn that Richard Adams died that same day because I had more of a relationship with his work than I did for Ms. Fisher’s.

I don’t remember how I first learned about Watership Down, maybe Jeremy told me about it? Maybe a teacher recommended it? All I know is that I read it in 1975/1976. I loved it. That may have been because I enjoyed watching the rabbits that congregated in our back yard when I was a child or maybe I got to like the rabbits because I’d read the book.

Decendent of the rabbits I watched as a child near the rabbit Jeremy painted on the garage door
Descendant of the rabbits I watched as a child near the rabbit Jeremy painted on the garage door

Not only did I read Watership Down, but I also read a book that was frequently referenced in Watership Down: R. M. Lockley‘s The Private Life of the Rabbit. I am sure that my friends and family grew weary of my never ending facts about rabbits. (they sometimes eat their own poop; females can absorb embryos if the environment is too hostile for giving birth)

I also started collecting rabbit figurines, most of which I still own.

When I was in England in 1976 Jeremy’s father offered to take me anywhere in the UK as long as it was somehow tied to a book. One of the places we visited that year was the real, actual Watership Down in Hampshire. Jeremy found a piece of rock there and created a one-of-a-kind souvenir of our visit.

Jeremy at Watership Down
Jeremy at Watership Down
watership down out of white rock
Watership Down out of white rock

Shortly after the Watership Down film was released in 1978, Jeremy and I saw it at a cinema in Leeds.

So you can see I was quite the fan of the book by Richard Adams whose death was eclipsed by the death of Carrie Fisher. (Not unlike C. S. Lewis’ death being eclipsed by the death of JFK) I am deeply grateful to Mr. Adams for giving me Watership Down which led to so many related experiences which led to so many wonderful memories.