Friday, January 31, 2014
The Last of the O'Sullivan Sisters. Part 1 of 2.
Catherine(Kit)O'Sullivan in her heyday.
Today my mother would have been 100 years old if she had lived. A rare thing, you'd think. But you'd be wrong. Her grandmother, my great-grandmother whom I remember well, lived well into her nineties and had a misstep on her stairs and fell to her death when I was, what, 8 or 9. So 100 would not be far-fetched. It certainly wasn't in the case of my recently deceased aunt who lived to be just shy of her 95th birthday.
I was fortunate enough to have 8 blood aunts. My father had 5 sisters, my mother 3. They wended their way in and out of our household when we were growing up and my father's two surviving sisters, when he had passed, would meet for lunch once a week in a fancy hotel in Cork when well into their nineties.
However, my mother died in her fifties leaving her 3 sisters and her mother bereft along with her own husband (my father) and 6 children, 3 of whom were teenagers.
I have written of some of my aunts before, here's a link.
My maternal aunts along with my mother were four stunning girls and in that old expression would make the heads of the blind turn and weep at their beauty. I have no trouble believing that, having been at several Nollaig Na mBans when I was growing up and listening to their raucous stories. The sisters remained extraordinarily close to the end of their days.
My mother's last surviving sister died last week. I visited her every year I returned home to Ireland. Up to a few years ago she played golf and bridge but then her baby, a son of 49, died a horrible death from lung cancer and she 'turned'. She looked inward then, much like my grandmother did when my mother died, and was never the same. Inner memories pertaining to the deceased loved one were deleted, never to return, while girlhood reminiscences were embraced as if they were yesterday.
We take our ease and comfort where we can and losing a child is unimaginable, no matter what the age.
Part 1 of 2. See Part 2 here.