Right now I do not have internet, so part of my weeks are spent with one of my boyfriend’s aunts to use her internet to update my posts. One day I was updating and uploading a post I wasn’t really happy with. I often find myself not being able to come up with any good ideas to write, and a few days before I was talking to Joe’s Aunt Linda about everything she survived and thrived through in her entire life, and about the many kids she took care of, including Joe. She took care of him from grade 6 on through high school. So I decided to interview her for this blog, as she is a large part of my life in my new town.
She is a warrior. She has survived Hodgkin’s lymphoma, abusive husbands, a brain injury, retinitis pigmentosa (she is going more and more blind, but will never be fully blind), thyroidism, having her gall bladder removed, stage 3 kidney disease, colitis, diabetes, and is a widow twice over.
She is a very modest woman, so getting an actual interview with her was a bit of a challenge. She felt like she just doesn’t have that much to teach others, but I disagree.
I have trouble with staying positive – I feel often like hope is not for me because it gets ripped from me so often – but here is a woman sitting before me in her cozy living room, who has been through so much and survived, and she is the most positive person I have met for a very long time. Finally, she agreed to the interview saying, “Well, it may not turn out, but it never hurts to try!”
I interviewed her for this blog because she is an amazing woman. She is strong and so happy 99% of the time, the other 1% she said “They [my family] call me the greatest bitch in the world.” She has been through hell and back, and she is proud of her title. “I can’t not do what I think is right.”
She is proud that she is a grandma, a mom, and an aunt. “I love all my kids. No matter what!”
I asked her just a few questions, and I loved the responses she gave me. They were exactly like this woman who everyone calls Aunt Linda. She is family to anyone who needs her, and I love hanging out with her when I can.
Me: What is your greatest memory?
Aunt Linda: Having my baby, Allan, and taking care of my other babies, Pam, Mike, Joe and Daiman.
Me: What would you say was your most life-altering moment?
Aunt Linda: Cancer. I had the best doctors at Princess Margaret [Hospital]. And hopefully, this May, I will be officially cancer-free.
Me: How did you keep your strength through all of that?
Aunt Linda: God, my sister Brenda, Dad, all my family. It was a very long road. I had to go through chemo, and I lost all my hair! I loved being bald though. I had a brownish blonde wig, and a red wig, and I noticed people always treat you differently. People were nice when I had the brown one, and ignored me with the red wig! You notice things like that.
Me: How do you still stay positive?
Aunt Linda: You have to! I could be a real mess if I remembered all the bad things, like the bad things with my first husband. I keep love instead. God helps me make the right decisions. I use my gut on some things, but mostly it’s God.
Me: What is your favourite memory with Joe?
Aunt Linda: His birth! I was there! I had my face right down there! Also getting married. He was crawling and running around everywhere! Around my dress, under it, he was just everywhere!
Me: If you could do anything over, what would it be?
Aunt Linda: Nothing. I have a fortune. I have a fortune of family. I don’t care about money.
Me: What do you want more of in your life?
Aunt Linda: Family sticking together. I know it sounds like a book, but that’s what’s really important.
Me: Do you have any advice? Or words of wisdom?
Aunt Linda: If you love each other, you don’t hurt each other. Enjoy even the small moments, even if it is just fleeting. Cancer could have taken me, so that is what I do.
I wanted to share this little bit of this woman with you because we have all had so many different kinds of life experiences, and I am talking about all of the people who read this blog, or who even stumble upon it accidentally. We all come from such different life experiences and different walks of life. All our purposes and drives are so vastly different and uniquely weird. We are all going through life at different speeds, and will have so many different adventures. When I asked my last question about why she thinks it all happened, she simply said “God put me on this earth to learn something, and I will figure that out one day.”
Thank you for reading about this fantastic woman! She has been through so much, and given so much of herself so others can be happy. She cares about her family, and she is definitely a hero. I think I’m collecting them!