Just Around the Corner

Dear friends, I have been away so long.  A lifetime.  You might say I’ve been in another state.

I went to Detroit to say goodbye to my Aunt Loena.

They say for everything there is a season, but how can one ever be prepared for the last goodbye?

At her funeral we connected with cousins we hadn’t seen for ages, and did what we could to help Loena’s kids, who’d generously shared their mom with us over the years.

I fulfilled a promise I’d made to my aunt, to help her clean out her craft room.  We brought baskets of ornaments she’d sewn for friends to take home as keepsakes, which would’ve pleased her.

Aunt Millie brought notebooks and pens, and encouraged people to share their stories of Loena for her kids to read and treasure, perhaps when their hearts are not so sore.

Saying goodbye is hard.  Aunt Loena said Mom always told her, “Whatever happens, we won’t cry.  We’ll smile, kiss the kids goodbye, and stop the car around the corner to do our crying.” I still cry when I think of her, which is often.  Everything I might say or write feels trivial, so I’ve said and written very little.

If you’re the praying sort, as she was, please say one for her.  Better yet, an act of kindness would be the most appropriate way to honor a compassionate woman, who devoted her life to the care and service of others.

Thank you for your patience.  When I find my center once again, I’ll stop by to see what all my blogging buddies have been up to.  For now, here are some stories about my loving, funny, good-natured Aunt Loena, my other mother, who always had room in her heart for everyone.

Unique New York

As You Like It: Reflections Upon Life and the Art of Aging.

 Painting by Charles Willson Peale, 1822, The Lamplight Portrait.

All words and images, except where stated, copyright 2015 Naomi Baltuck.

Click here for more interpretations of The Weekly Photo Challenge: Off-Season.

Click here for more interpretations of the Weekly Travel Theme: Off Center.



  1. leecarlsonyoga says:

    Very nice tribute to Aunt Loena.

    1. Thanks, Lee!

  2. Carol says:

    My prayers and heart are with you and your family.

    1. Dear Carol, thank you so much.

  3. Elyse says:

    So sorry that you lost a big piece of your heart.

    1. Dear Elyse, that’s what it feels like. Thanks so much for your kind thoughts.

  4. Lola Jane says:

    Lovely tribute. Condolences to your family.

    1. Hi Lola,
      Thank you for your visit, and for your kind words.

  5. I’m sorry for your loss, Naomi. ❤ ❤ This is a fitting and loving tribute to your loved aunt.

    1. Thank you for your kindness, Tess. It is always so good to hear from you.

  6. Patty B says:

    Prayers and hugs..

    1. Thank you so much, Patty!

  7. Sorry for your loss.

    1. Dear Lisa, thank you!

  8. Pat says:

    Some people are so big in life that they leave a big hole when they are gone. Sending you a warm and gentle hug, Naomi.

    1. Der Pat,
      There is no one who can fill that place–you express it so beautifully–just reading your words brings tears to my eyes. Thanks so much for your thoughtful response.

  9. raptekar says:

    Loving thoughts, no matter how short and heartfelt, are special. As you are, Naomi. Thank you once again for opening your heart at this sad but important moment in your life. Peace.

    1. Thank you, Richard. I don’t know if you ever met Aunt Loena–my mom’s sister–but she has been like a mother to us all since our mom died in 1989. I suppose we are grieving for a whole generation with her passing. I appreciate your kind thoughts.

  10. anainturkey says:

    Dear Naomi, thank you for sharing your memories and thoughts about your Aunt Loena with us. Lots of hugs to you and your family.

    1. Dear Ana, thank you so much for your kind thoughts. I am sending a hug back to you too!

  11. niasunset says:

    I am so sorry to hear this dear Naomi, my prayers and my heart with you and with your family. Love and hugs, nia

    1. Dear Nia,
      Thank you so much for your kind thoughts. Love to you and your family as well.

  12. arlene says:

    Welcome back Naomi. thank you for sharing your memories of your loving aunt.

    1. Thank you for your warm response, and comforting thoughts, Arlene. It is good to be back.

  13. Dear Naomi, this comes with love for you and your family. May your heart be solaced and comforted. Hugs, Sharon

    1. Sharon, you are such a sweet angel. Thank you for the hug–and I am a big one back to your and your family.

  14. scillagrace says:

    Oh, Naomi, I have loved meeting your Aunt Leona in your posts and celebrating the spirited woman she was. Thank you for sharing her with us! May your heart and soul feel the connection that is never dissolved, and may it be a balm that refreshes you. Take time for you. Blogsville will wait. *hugs and love* scilla

    1. Dear Scilla,
      Your message brings tears to my eyes. I can’t thank you enough for coming along on those adventures and getting to know my aunt. I take comfort in your words.

  15. Naomi, perhaps there is no greater tribute to a life than to say it was well storied. May there be comfort in those stories held close, and deeply shared. Much warmth.

    1. Dear Michael,
      So well said, and so true. Thank you, thank you for sharing your warmth and wisdom and a fresh perspective. I do find comfort in that.

  16. A lovely tribute, and I am sorry for your loss.

    1. Thank you so much.

  17. elisa ruland says:

    This is a beautiful tribute, Naomi. Prayers are on their way for the wonderful Leona!

    1. Dear Elisa, you are so kind. Thank you so much.

  18. Lucid Gypsy says:

    So sorry to read this Naomi, Loena must have been a lovely lady. I hope you get to return to England one day.

    1. Dear Gilly,
      Thank you for your condolences. My aunt stepped in for us all after my mom died in 1989–I must be thankful for all the beautiful times that we were able to share.
      As for England, yes! I have my fingers crossed.

  19. Beautiful tribute.

    1. Thank you, Curt. So easy to do for a beautiful person.

  20. Tom Siewert/深思 says:

    None of us gets out of this game alive. All we can ask as we exit the playing field, is that we have touched people’s lives, and that they are there to grieve for us as you grieve for Aunt Loena. She was obviously a wonderful woman to have touched you so. Thank you for sharing your beautiful tears with us in these words and pictures. Thank you for allowing us to grieve with you.
    Blessings to you and your family in your sorrow.

    1. Dear Tom,

      Your words bring on the tears, but somehow it helps. There is truth and wisdom and compassion in what you say, and I am grateful for your kind thoughts for my aunt–she was an exceptional person and no one can ever fill that place in my life. Blessings upon you, Tom, and your dear family. Thank you again for such sweet comfort.

  21. Beautiful tribute to your aunt, Naomi. The aunt and niece relationship is a special one. xo

    1. Thanks so much for sharing such kind thoughts. I certainly treasured my relationship with my aunt.

  22. what a beautiful tribute!! and a fine story of Aunt Loena (unique New York). I will read the other as well! Thank you for sharing this heart felt and heart warming story!

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, Cybele.

      1. I love reading family stories and yours are wonderful!

      2. Thanks so much, Cybele!

  23. diannegray says:

    This is a beautiful tribute to your Aunt Loena, Naomi. Hugs and love from Australia xxxxx

    1. Dear Dianne, thank you so much. Hugs and love right back to you from Seattle.

  24. dogear6 says:

    I don’t have to anything to add that hasn’t already been said. Thanks for sharing with us. It doesn’t hurt for you to take a break from the blog as you’re doing things that are far more important.


    1. Dear Nancy,
      Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment. It’s always good to hear from you. I am catching up bit by bit, but won’t worry about blogging on any kind of schedule. I do appreciate your thoughts on that.

  25. paulaacton says:

    A lovely tribute to your aunt, sending love and hugs and I shall certainly do a random act of kindness specifically in her memory, it is never hard when the ones we love leave but there is no vale that can be placed on those memories they leave us with xx

    1. Dear Paula, Thank you so much for your kind words of comfort. I’m feeling it all the way across the ocean, and sending love and hugs back to you.

  26. pattisj says:

    Sorry to hear of the loss of your dear aunt who kept a song in her heart. She reminds me of my own aunt, my mom’s sister, who we lost this year–always ready for an adventure, and who kept in touch with all her nieces and nephews. I like the idea of journals to hold the stories the kids often don’t know. Hugs to you, my friend.

    1. Dear Patti, thank you so much for your kind words. I am so sorry for the loss of your aunt–she sounds like she was a very special person. Thanks for the hugs, and I’m sending a big hug back to you.

  27. Madhu says:

    Naomi, I am so sorry for your loss. Your love for your aunt shines through in this beautiful tribute. Hugs and prayers coming your way. Take care.

    1. Thank you so much, Madhu!

    1. Thank you for the pingback!

  28. So sorry for your loss, love, but it sounds like you guys celebrated her life…which is the way to go.

    Have you seen the movie Elizabethtown, by chance? It’s one of my faves. Susan Sarandon does a tap dance at her husband’s funeral to “Moon River” and I think it’s incredible. Hugs!

    1. Dear Britt, thank you so much for this thoughtful response. After a health scare in 2007, we knew every trip might be my aunt’s last, so we just planned something special every year–either taking her someplace fun back east or bringing her out to Seattle. That is what I need to remember and focus on.
      I have never seen Elizabethtown, but I will now. Thanks again, and hugs to you too!

  29. What a wonderful send off for your Aunt Loena. I love the idea of inviting people to share a story, memory, or tribute. Am so glad she had so extra years after her health scare, where you could do something special for her on an annual basis. Sending my love, hugs, and prayers to you and your family, Naomi xxxx

    1. Thanks so much, Sarah!

  30. restlessjo says:

    One of those posts you don’t want to read, Naomi! Over the years your family becomes our family. Sad to say goodbye. Hugs! 🙂

    1. Thank you, Jo. You are so dear!

  31. footsy2 says:

    Such a beautiful tribute. It took my breath away…

    1. Dear Footsy,
      Thank you so much for your very kind words. You are so dear!

  32. My thought and prayers to your Aunt Loena. A beautiful person that is a light and joy to so many. Wonderful tribute my friend.

    1. Thank you! I miss her so much, but it feels good to be able to share her memory. Thanks so much for your kind words and prayers.

  33. nutsfortreasure says:

    So sorry for your loss and thank you for sharing her with us HUGS

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