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. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

    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.

    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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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!

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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!

  11. 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

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