• Seena Elbaum

Love My Aunt Harriet

TODAY feels like the end of an era. With deep sadness and also a true sense of relief, I journey to New York to be present when my Mother’s longest time childhood friend is laid to her eternal rest. She was my first Aunt who was not a blood relative. I grew to be as close to her as any adult in my life and we would always end our telephone conversations by saying I love you. Whoever said it first, it was always echoed in return.

What I loved about Harriet was that she was full of acceptance about life on life’s terms. She was not one to hold on to situations that were distressing, rather had the gift to release the challenges, and find the room to live in an emotionally unencumbered way.  Through even the toughest of times of loss and life strife, she was able to exercise this gift and the challenge did not consume her. She had a solid even spirit, and combined with a consistent practical streak, she was a great person from whom I would seek advice. She had a very positive way to give constructive criticism, and it was easy to receive. Her insights, encouragement and a special comfort that only her voice and vision could bring will live on in me, and many others.  It was her version of loving. And I always felt it as good.

I learned a lot about style through Harriet. Her choice of clothing breathed an air of conservative femininity, always clean, crisp and tailored. Because she shopped, and for a while worked at Lord and Taylor, I grew to love that store, still to this day. Even in the dead of winter, Harriet’s skin was tanned as if she was living an eternal summer. I have beautiful memories of being on the beach with her, walking on the boardwalk with her and visiting her in her winter Florida home. I always felt welcome. I learned about love of the kitchen and cooking simple and clean. My Aunt Harriet was the reliable weekly phone call after my Dad and Mom died, that lasted through the week, and now, will be missed.

She is in my soul, in my mind and heart, until we will meet again. As for now, she will be reunited with her husband, her parents and grands and her lifelong best-friend, my Mom. There is tremendous comfort in knowing that she was ready to leave this life and is no longer in that suffering space. Thank you Gd. 

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