My aunt Janet has had lung cancer for the past 2 years. When she was diagnosed the docs gave her 6 months tops with chemo. She stopped taking the chemo a year ago because it wasn't working. It's been a long battle. Aunt Janet went from a healthy 140 lbs down to 75 lbs. Aunt Janet was always fiesty, fun loving, caring, and one of the most giving people I have ever met. I know from reports from family members that she was that way up until the last moment this morning. My Mom called to say she passed on just a short while ago. I feel a need to pour my heart out here with my board family. I did not get to visit with my aunt in her last days during her illness due to circumstances I was unable to control. And I don't know even if I will be able to attend the funeral which is Saturday because my family is in Illinios and I am here in Ohio. I'm hoping that since easy child took the weekend off for the Yard Sale that she will take me and the rest of the family. This aunt was very very close to them as well. So since I never got the opportunity to say to aunt Janet all I wanted and needed to say I will do it here. And I hope with all that I am she will see it where she is now and know how much I so dearly loved and cherished her and how she was one of 2 people who made me the person I am today. (feel free not to read-this is mostly for me) Dearest Aunt Janet Grandma was my Mother. But you were my 2nd Mother. Grandma taught me many many valuable things. But you taught me things she couldn't. These were often little things that others would think insignificant, but to me they were valuable lessons I carried on to my own children. The most important thing you taught me was to love and accept myself. This was crutial to a child who's own mother held me in comtempt because I am half Indian, living in a community that was extremely racial most especially toward Indian people. You were always there when I needed you. Even when you knew that it made you vulnerable to Mom's paranoid vicious attacks. Remember when I was 12 and I'd walked in from school to discover Mom in one of her Psychotic episodes. She had screamed at me that I was Devils Spawn, Evil Incarnate, that she cringed at the sight of me, hated the very thought of me........ Grandma was living with you then because she couldn't live alone. I walked straight back out the door and headed for downtown. It was a 4 mile walk. I knew, even though I didn't know how, that Grandma would be there and you would be with her. And you were. You were livid, do you recall? You took me directly to your house. You didn't even call Mom to say that I was there. I stayed with you 2 months before Mom had the guts to call and ask if Grandma had seen me. Then I stayed another month because you let it be up to ME to return home. You told me I could stay forever. That I didn't deserve to be treated like a dog. You went thru hell with Mom and the family because of that. Because you protected me. I'll never forget it. Because of that I stopped being a victim. And not just with Mom, but with others in my life as well. The little things all add up to one huge thing. When Grandma came to live with you I spent so much time at your house the neighbors thought you'd adopted me. lol I learned that people actually celebrate holidays other than Cristmas and Thanksgiving. You and Uncle T bought me my very first Easter basket. I was 10 and thrilled to death. I remember the Bunny cakes you made and I now make them for my grandkids. I went trick or treating for the first time when I was 11 while at your house. And oh, did you teach me to have fun! No one could have fun like aunt Janet. Remember those rainy days when me and the cousins would be bored to tears? You'd let us upturn all the furniture in the family room and play Fort, Desert isle, all sorts of interesting things. Oh, and the Haunted House you let us make down there one year!! lol You let me get MUDDY! You let us gallavant thru your woods. You taught me how to cook. Personal hygiene. You taught me most of my parenting skills since Grandma's children were all grown. You listened to me. No one but Grandma ever listen to me. No matter what I had to say, you really heard it. Even if it hurt you to hear it, and I know now as an adult it often most likely broke your heart. When my children came along you loved them the same way. They, too, adore you as I always have. You're not really a great aunt to them, more of another grandparent. This is not anywhere near everything. How can I put here a whole lifetime? Without you and Grandma there for me I know without a doubt I would have gone down a much more disasterous road in life. I wouldn't be the person I am today. I wouldn't be the wife and mother I am today. And now both of you are gone. But because of you I am strong enough to stand on my own. I'm sorry I never got to tell you that you were, and always will be, my Hero.