I had never really understood the saying that bad things happen in threes before, but I seem to be living through it. I received a phone call last night from my estranged mother, whom I have not seen in nearly 8 years. She called to tell me that my darling Auntie Gem has died. Not really an auntie, but a close friend of the family, and an honorary one. My mother had been calling her on and off for several days, but didn't receive a return call. Worried, she called Gem's sister in England, who phoned her other (estranged) sister here, who called the police, who broke into Auntie Gem's apartment and found her dead on the floor. She had apparently been there, dead, alone, for at least three weeks. I can't contemplate how horrible that is. Gem was alone in the world. 70 years old, no husband or children, nearest family in England and the Caribbean. She and I hadn't seen much of each other for the last 10 years or so, but she always held a warm spot in my heart. She was beautiful, stylish, eccentric, had a smile that would light up a room. And now she's dead. Old, alone and dead. What a horrible way to pass, with no one to even notice you're not there for weeks. My heart is breaking for her. And now I'm confronted with the possibility of having to deal with an impromptu family reunion once funeral arrangements are made. I don't want to see or speak to my parents, my brother or his family. They (my parents, certainly) WILL be there, and I will comport myself with grace and dignity, just the way Gem would have done, and just the way she would have wanted me to. But I don't want to deal with it. ---------- mother in law's memorial is this Sunday. I haven't really even had time to start grieving for her. And now Auntie Gem is gone as well. ---------- BFF's second brain surgery was earlier this week. She is progressing slowly, but the doctors are pleased with her progress. She still cannot walk or talk, but she has a bit of feeling and movement on the paralyzed side, which they see as very positive. They are Medevac-ing her home this weekend, where she will continue with physio and rehab. It will be so much better having L and R back home, close enough where I can do something to help, besides just praying. ---------- If you could please spare a prayer for Gem, that she's at peace and that she knows how much she was loved, even if we weren't there to show her directly. And one for L that her recovery continues.