When I was young, my aunt lived in New Mexico. We drove out sometimes to see her. My mother, father, me and my and my brother and sisters would climb into the family car and make the long trek out to see my mother’s sister at her Santa Fe condo apartments there. My sisters and I were fascinated by her. She was a very creative spirit who painted beautiful things and even made statues. We loved that she let us play in her art studio and try out some of her supplies, too. She is the one that got me started in art. She knew right away that I had a gift like she did. I’ve stuck with ever since then.
When I learned that my aunt passed away, I was incredibly heartbroken. She and I had remained close over the years after I became an adult. She would check in with me, and I would do the same for her. She would invite me out to come stay with her from time to time. We would sit for long hours at night under the stars on her patio. She would also have a nice fire in the outdoor adobe fireplace she had in the backyard. We would sip wine and discuss life and art. I always wished that I lived nearby so that I could see her more often, but that never came to be.
When she passed away, my parents were too old to make the drive out to the funeral. My siblings could not get away from work. I went alone to the funeral. Attending the funeral was tough on me. She had so many friends that were with her in life, and it was good to meet them. I went to her apartment to begin packing things up, and then I decided to ask the leasing office if I could take over the contract. I decided to stay there and live permanently.