Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Aunt Sylvie / Tia Sylvia

La version español está después de las fotos.

AFTER NEARLY 95 years in this world, my Aunt Sylvie died Sunday morning. She was very special to both Jerry and me. After my uncle Harry died in New York in 1996, Sylvie began to fly to California with my mother for her annual visits to us. We were together in San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara — until Sylvie learned she had dementia.

My mother and their youngest sister (there had been seven siblings, six girls and one boy) found live-in help for Sylvie so she wouldn't have to give up her independence (she flat-out refused to move), a professionally trained caregiver who devoted her life to my aunt.

In the last few years, Sylvie made minimal connections with the rest of us. She imprinted on Leah, who treated her like her own mother, but mostly like an adored daughter. My mother (we didn't call her The Dowager Duchess for nothing) had a difficult time as Sylvie grew more confused, leaving their "Kid Sister" to do all the other things involved with Sylvie's care.

Sylvie had a difficult life. She married her husband Harry in 1946. They had two sons. The first was severely disabled and was institutionalized (which was what was done at the time) at a young age. It devastated them. Their second son was also severely disabled, but at a level where they were able to care for him at home, although with great hardship and difficulty. Both sons are in wonderful residences and are loved, respected, and well cared for. San Geraldo and I took over for my mother last year as advocates for the older of the two. San Geraldo has again earned his title (saint).

I loved Sylvie and Harry, but didn't have the same connection with them that my sister Dale had throughout her life. Dale had lots of challenges in her young life. Sylvie and Harry adored her from the start and she adored them. They made her feel smart and special — which she was. Also, if Dale found anyone in need, she was the first to step up. She had a gift for relating to both her cousins and they idolized her. They were never as comfortable with anyone as they were with Dale. That only made Sylvie and Harry love her more, which made them more special to me.

Sorry to go on so long. I have some hilarious stories to share in the coming weeks. But I just wanted to respectfully and lovingly remember "Aunt Sylvie" on the day of her funeral.

1998. ON OUR WAY FROM SAN DIEGO TO PALM SPRINGS FOR A FEW DAYS.
1998. EN NUESTRO CAMINO A PALM SPRINGS POR UNOS POCOS DÍAS.
SAN GERALDO WITH THE DOWAGER DUCHESS (LEFT) AND AUNT SYLVIE.
SAN GERALDO CON LA DUQUESA VIUDA (IZQUIERDA) Y TIA SYLVIE.

DESPUÉS DE CASI 95 años en este mundo, mi "Tía Sylvie" murió el domingo por la mañana. Ella era muy especial tanto para Jerry como para mí. Después de que mi tío Harry murió en Nueva York en 1996, Sylvia comenzó a volar a California con mi madre para sus visitas anuales a nosotros. Estuvimos juntos en San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs y Santa Bárbara, hasta que Sylvia se enteró de que tenía demencia.

Mi madre y su hermana menor (había habido siete hermanos, seis niñas y un niño) encontraron una cuidadora para Sylvie para que no tuviera que renunciar a su independencia (ella se negó a moverse), una cuidadora profesional que dedicó su vida a mi tía.


En los últimos años, Sylvia hizo conexiones mínimas con nosotros. Ella imprimió en Leah, que la trató como su propia madre, pero sobre todo como una hija adorada. Mi madre (no la llamábamos La Duquesa Viuda por nada) tuvo dificultades cuando Sylvie se sintió más confundida, dejando a su "Hermanita" para hacer todas las otras cosas para Sylvie. No podría haber sido fácil para ella, pero se mantuvo a su lado durante todos estos años.

Sylvia tuvo una vida difícil. Se casó con su esposo Harry en 1946. Tuvieron dos hijos. El primero fue severamente discapacitado y fue institucionalizado (lo cual fue lo que se hizo en ese momento) a una edad joven. Los devastó. Su segundo hijo también estaba severamente discapacitado, pero a un nivel donde podían cuidarlo en casa, aunque con gran dificultad. Ambos hijos están en residencias maravillosas y son amados, respetados, y bien cuidada. San Geraldo y yo tomamos el control de mi madre el año pasado como defensores de la mayor de las dos. San Geraldo ha ganado nuevamente su título (santo).


Me encantaban a Sylvie y Harry, pero no tenían la misma conexión con ellos que mi hermana Dale tenía a lo largo de su vida. Dale tenía muchos desafíos en su vida joven. Sylvie y Harry la adoraban desde el principio y ella los adoraba. La hacían sentir inteligente y especial, lo que era. Además, si Dale encontró a alguien en necesidad, fue la primera en acelerarse. Tenía un don para relacionarse con sus dos primos y la idolatraban. Nunca se sentían tan cómodos con nadie como con Dale. Eso sólo hizo que Sylvie y Harry la amaran más, que los hizo más especiales para mí.

¡Siento ser tan prolijo! Tengo algunas cuentas divertidísimas que compartir en las próximas semanas. Pero sólo quería respetuosamente y amorosamente recordar "Tía Sylvie" el día de su funeral.

40 comments:

  1. This is a lovely tribute to your aunt, and to Dale.
    Love the photos :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Judy:
      It seems to always come back to Dale. Thanks!

      Delete
  2. Sorry to hear about your Aunt Sylvie,,, she lived longer than most and I bet because she always was surrounded by love from so many .. Can't wait to see you cuz,, and give you big, big hugs XOXO

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sheree:
      Can't wait to see YOU and to belatedly celebrate a birthday!

      Delete
  3. My condolences to you two...and happy to hear that you are able to assist with protecting her loved ones by being advocates for them. Hugs.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cheapchick:
      Thanks so much. Jerry has been a gift from... somewhere above!

      Delete
  4. So sorry for your loss, Mitch and Jerry. She sounded very special and has been/will be missed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jim:
      And she WAS my mother's sister, so there are stories to come.

      Delete
  5. Such a sweet and thoughtful tribute to your Aunt Sylvie, Mitchell. My condolences to you and SG and to the rest of Sylvie's family and friends.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wilma:
      Thanks, Wilma. I was pleased to know her two sisters were there yesterday and a number of my cousins.

      Delete
  6. I am so sorry Mitchell, she sounded like quite a lady. I am looking forward to hearing more about her.
    Take care.
    Robin

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    Replies
    1. Robin:
      I'm looking forward to telling some stories. Thanks so much.

      Delete
  7. Do not apologize for showing your love of family, Mitch!

    I applaud you and Aunt Sylvie and Dale and Saint Geraldo and the list goes on!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ron:
      And THIS was a heavily edited version. If I had to, I could write a book. (And I know you'll be singing now.)

      Delete
  8. My sympathies. Aunt Sylvie sounds like she was a helluva woman, may she rest in peace, her long journey done.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Debra:
      She was definitely interesting. You'll hear more about her.

      Delete
  9. I appreciate that you wrote this in Spanish too - so thoughtful of you.
    May warm-loving memories of your loving, resilient Aunt Sylvie provide comfort during this sad time.
    My condolences and warm loving thoughts to you and yours, Mitchell.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Robyn:
      I'm hoping my friends here in Spain are feeling a part of my blog. I do know some he are now dedicated to reading it. That means a lot to me. And thanks for your warm and loving thoughts!

      Delete
  10. Replies
    1. anne marie:
      Thanks! You'll be pleased to know she liked Philly!

      Delete
  11. So sorry for your loss. She sounds like she was a wonderful person, and left her loving mark on your family.

    RIP Sylvie

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    Replies
    1. Bob:
      She was very special and my uncle Harry was, as well, and a real character.

      Delete
  12. My condolences on the loss of your aunt. It's easy to say she's now in a better place but it's a sad reminder that eventually we all must face our mortality.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Stephen:
      She said she was ready to go early in her dementia. So it really is a blessing.

      Delete
  13. Always so bittersweet to loose a beloved family member. I enjoyed those pictures. You two could be movie star, with those star quaintly looks. My thoughts are going to you...

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    Replies
    1. mistress maddie:
      Well, I could be a character actor! I'll have to find early photos of Sylvia. My father had a major crush on her. THERE was a movie star!

      Delete
  14. my condolences to you and to your family at this difficult moment. Beautiful pictures.

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    Replies
    1. Laurent:
      Many thanks. It was time. And now it's time for the good memories.

      Delete
  15. Sending good thoughts your way. We often have a special place in our hearts for our aunts and uncles who, over the years, can become more like friends than simply the siblings of our parents.

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    Replies
    1. Walt the Fourth:
      You're so right. I had a lot of aunts and uncles. Some are especially precious to me.

      Delete
  16. I'm so sorry to hear you've lost your Aunt Sylvie, Mitch, even though a part of her may have been lost for some time. You honour her, and the rest of your family with such a fine eulogy.

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    Replies
    1. Rozzie:
      By the time we left for Spain 6 years ago, she was only intermittently connected. But she still had some very special and surprising sparks. The last few years however she was mostl vacant. We've missed her for a while.

      Delete
  17. I wish you comforts, Mitch, on your dear, precious loss. Hope you can get through coming days by respectfully honouring the memories which will undoubtedly be thrown up, then, when you're ready, peacefully to move on again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ray:
      Thanks so much. Doing fine. Thinking now of the funny stories. She WAS sister to the Dowager Duchess. What a pair!

      Delete
  18. Sorry for your loss. Good that she was there for your sister despite having challenges of her own to deal with.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kirk:
      Thanks. Dale made them all really happy. It was a special bond.

      Delete
  19. RIP Aand rise in glory Sylvia

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gosia:
      Thanks for the kind words, although her religious beliefs wouldn't go for the "rise in glory," I'm sure she would be grateful just the same.

      Delete
  20. Mitchell: te acompaño en el sentimiento. Creo que manera que tienes de expresar por escrito un pequeño resumen de su vida es la mejor manera de recordar su memoria. Un abrazo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Guadalupe:
      Mil gracias. Yo sé que tú puedes entender!

      Es muy bueno para mi salud mental, también!

      Delete

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