I sobbed on my husband’s shoulder begging for relief…

when. when will we catch a break? it all has to stop. it just has to stop. now. i can’t take this any more. it’s not fair. when will it stop?

It may have been one of my worst moments dealing with the news that one of my most beloved Aunts has been moved to hospice and it’s only a matter of time.

Hala and Aunt Georgiann

I got the kids to school and went immediately to see my doctor and was told I am not healthy enough to travel. So when the time comes, I can’t be there. I can’t be with my family who needs me and I can’t say good bye. I can’t read at her funeral like she read at my wedding and I am so very tired of all the ‘can’ts’ in my life.

I have spent 48 hours keeping myself in check while the kids are looking, so I don’t scare them anymore with my tears. I have told them and my husband and my brother and my cousins just how much I love them over and over because I am so very tired of losing people that mean so very much and I refuse the miss out on letting those I love KNOW that I love them.

I have thought about how to best pay my respects to my Aunt who did nothing but give herself, her life, to everyone else. She was there for me always. She was my sponsor for my confirmation. She never missed a birthday or a holiday or any of my surgeries with a card or a pair of pjs or even some flowers. We had this love of sunflowers together. And we’d send them to each other whenever we could.

When the time comes I am in charge of making sure there are sunflowers at her funeral. From me. It’s a task I dread and yet will do with love. For her. Because it’s all I can do.

My kids didn’t get nearly enough time with her. They knew she always sent ornaments at Christmas and gifts for their birthdays. They remember the summer in Michigan fishing off the docks. They know her from our wedding photos, and how she was so nervous reading Elizabeth Barrett Browning for me. But she did it, for me.

My other Aunt held the cell phone to her ear for me the other night and I┬árambled off as much as I could when you only have a few moments to say everything you’d like to say over a lifetime. I told her I loved her. But I also begged her to fight. And then I eventually told her I would see her soon.

I couldn’t bring myself to say goodbye.

For as long as I can remember she was one of the remaining relatives who went to Mass every Sunday. So I did the only thing I knew to do and packed up the kids and headed to our local church to light a candle for her. And the doors were locked. The church doors were locked.

I was so angry the doors of a church were locked when I needed to light that candle. I had to light that candle. Didn’t they know my Aunt was dying? Didn’t they understand that lighting a candle was all I could do? Who locks church doors? Shouldn’t they be open so people can pray whenever they need to pray? Or light a candle to Mary or any other Saint they choose?

I can’t believe that not only am I unable to get on a plane to be with my family in Detroit, but I can’t even manage to light a candle. Failure thy name is Erin.

Just this once, I am asking the universe for a break. Let her pass without suffering. Let her be at peace. And please let my family be comforted. She was a selfless woman, who deserves that much. And my family has been through enough.

I love you Aunt Georgiann.


  1. Hugs Erin, hopefully soon life will calm down for you and your family.

  2. Dear Erin,

    I just lit a candle for you and Aunt Georgiann. I share your disease and your heartbreak of can’ts. Limitation is the random, yet constant companion of autoimmune disease and failure is its by-product. I am so sorry for your pain presented by this disease. I thank you for sharing all the plight of many lupus sufferers n you honest, raw entries.

    Blessings to you and all you love – cm

  3. Hugs to you, Erin.
    I lit a candle for you and your Aunt.

  4. I’m sorry, Erin. My prayers are with your family and your aunt as she goes through these last days.

  5. So sorry you’ve been handed this too.

    Have you thought of recording a video clip that could be played? Then you could still be there, in a way.

  6. I am so sorry Erin.I hope that the music I sent can help you relax a bit. I am sure you have been told how important it is to take care of yourself, and your aunt Georgiann would be the first to say that to you. You can energetically reach out to her…I think we’ll be surprised to see someday how easy it is to connect energetically.

    Woowoo aside, this is a super site to light virtual candles for any purpose or person. Gratefulness .org was set up by David Steindl Rast and can be a wonderfully supportive site. I started a group for you, if you search under QofS Bless you.

  7. Peace. Peace. To you, to your Aunt Georgiann, and to the family gathered ’round, in person or in spirit.

    It’s ok that you can’t be there Erin. It really is. It has to be.

    Sending love –

  8. Thank you so much for lighting a candle for my Aunt. And for those of you sending me all your love and strength. She passed this morning.

  9. angie_seattle says:

    Peace to you. I’m sure she felt your love always. Sorry for your loss.


  10. francine hardaway says:

    I’m sorry, Erin. My condolences. You ARE there for her, however. It’s not just about geography, as I know you know. It’s about love.

  11. I’m so sorry Erin. That you can’t be at the service. I am so very happy that you had your Aunt Georgiann in your life. She sounds like an amazing woman.

  12. Dear gentle Erin my prayers and energy are with you and your family. A candle lit and sunrise and sunset meditations offered. Share your pain with us we do love and admire you. Namaste with metta

  13. Dearest Erin,
    You lit that candle. You didn’t do it in the traditional way, but when have you done traditional? You lit a prayer and positive thought chain that will reach across time and space. Your wonderful aunt is now in all of our hearts.

    I am sorry you can’t be at the funeral when the time comes. And, I bet, she wouldn’t want you to put yourself at risk for it. She knows you will be there in spirit. She loves.

    I know it sounds weird, but can you attend remotely?

  14. I will light a candle for her tomorrow at Mass. I will light one for you too.

  15. Erin I am so sorry, prayers for you and your family. She knew how much you loved her, and now you have another angel watching over you, though I am sure you’d much rather have her here.

  16. Erin, I am not an observent Jew, but on Yom Kippur I light a 24 hour Yahrzeit candle for Nanay, my (Catholic) mother-in-law and for other people I have loved who have gone. I did so last night.

    Light a candle for her at home, say a prayer and know that where she is, she knows you’re doing it. Lots of love going out to you.

  17. If the church has an adjoining chapel, CHECK THE CHAPEL. The chapels are usually kept open instead of the main church for financial and security (yes, I know, ‘security’ is an awkward word for churches) reasons.

    The only reason for a chapel or a church building is that we need places that we can explicitly identify as “sacred.” In reality, ANY place can become a sacred space.

  18. Do you want me to send you sunflowers? I can’t be there to hug you and I think you need the flowers too.

  19. Aww sweetie, I am so very sorry.

  20. I am so sorry, Erin.

    I will light a candle for her too.


  21. Erin,
    I am a new reader, but so sorry to hear about your loss. Your post struck a chord with me, especially the sunflowers. I carried a sunflower bouquet at my wedding, against all advise (it was beautiful!), and have 2 friends who are charged with supplying the sunflowers at my funeral. Someday. All good thoughts to you and your family.

  22. Erin I am sorry for the loss of your much loved Aunt. I am sorry you couldn’t
    go when you wanted to, that’s very hard.

  23. hey erin: we had a drink together and played catchphrase around a tiny table in the middle of a museum in chicago once, and i’ve checked in here on you from time to time ever since. i don’t know if you remember me, but i have red hair just like you and i live in ann arbor. if you would like me to attend your aunt’s service in your honor, i would be more than willing to do that, or anything else that can make this time a little easier for you.

    i know it sounds weird, i just feel compelled to offer. i’ve had to miss a lot of family stuff due to illness, as well. so i guess i can relate to how incredibly painful it is.

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