My Aunt Hamdy Mae passed away yesterday. She was 86 and growing up, she was a huge part of my life. She was married to my dad’s oldest brother, Uncle Quinto. Unfortunately, as I grew up and went on my path, I lost contact with her along my cousins, who were also a huge part of my youth. It is a shame that so much time has passed before I saw her again. It will be two years ago in May since that visit. She was frail, sight not as good as it once was (although she could see well enough to call me fat) and not the presence she once was but, she was still my Aunt Hamdy Mae. She got to meet both my son and my wife, the two true loves of my life and that I am thankful for. We missed a lot of years but she still had a piece of my heart.

On my dad’s side of the family, affection was not a big part of our life. My Nona (Italian for Grandmother) was very affectionate but most of my aunts were not. I am not saying they showed no affection at all but, compared to my mom’s side of the family, where hugs and “I love you’s” were always abundant, that was not the case here. Except at my Uncle Quinto and Aunt Hamdy Mae’s house. There I always got a hug from one or both of them. I loved going over to their house mainly because there I had 3 cousins who were more like big brothers to me. I looked up to Joe and Pat as one would a big brother and Micheal was closer to my age. Ann was the only girl and much like a big sister. she married early in my life so, I did not grow as close to her as the boys. Aunt Hamdy and Uncle Quinto made me feel right at home always. When I was in my teens, I worked at Uncle Quinto’s gas station on the weekends and would spend the night with them when I did. Aunt Hamdy was like having another mom in another town. I cherish those times spent in that house. Uncle Quinto passed away in the fall of 1983 but Aunt Hamdy still lived in that same house up until she moved to Hattiesburg, MS.

When I was in college, Aunt Hamdy Mae worked as a nurse in the local hospital. I can remember having blood sugar problems and she was in the one that my friends would take me to I had my spells. She just took care of me, no questions asked. Everyone that knew her loved her. That is just how she was, She was opinionated and spoke her mind but she never did harm to anyone. As I grew older, I lost contact with her and my cousins. A group that was once so close just grew apart. When dad had his stroke, I had asked other family members to contact them to let them know, no one did. Our family is just strange like that. Thanks to Facebook, I was able to reconnect with Joe and Pat. I plan on keeping that line of communication open, I don’t want to lose contact with them again.

I wish I had made more trips down south to see her, I just did not. Time is such a fleeting thing and we don’t know how much time we have. Hug your loves ones, make sure they know you love them, without any doubt.  Say I love you often and with conviction. Aunt Hamdy Mae will always be in my heart and memories. Death cannot take that away. She may no longer be on this earth but, I have a feeling she will be watching over us from above with my Uncle Quinto. She spent the last 35 years without him and now it is their time to be reunited. I will see them both again as will my cousins. Keep my cousins and their families in your thoughts and prayers please. This will be a tough time for them although they know she is a better place, selfishly they wish she was still here. That is just human nature. So if you are one to partake in adult beverages, please raise a toast to my Aunt Hamdy Mae tonight and one for my cousins.

Love you Aunt Hamdy Mae, till we meet again.

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