A Knitter Has Cast Off

Early this morning, at the grand age of 94, my Great Aunt Helen passed away. She had been declining for a few weeks, and finally went to sleep a few days ago, dying last night in the arms of my Uncle Don, her husband of 57 years.


I went to Helen and Don’s every boxing day of my life, and when my kids were little, I spoke with Helen almost every day. She had a lot of sanity. Earlier this year, it became clear that Helen and Don could absolutely no longer live on their own, and they moved together to a nursing home that Helen never really got the hang of, and a few weeks ago she stopped eating and weakened very quickly. We all wondered if she’d found a way to leave the place…one way or another, although Helen claimed that wasn’t her plan. A lot of uncomfortable testing seemed like it would injure her for more than it was worth, and she wasn’t in any pain, so I guess we’ll never really know. I think it was three things. Old age, a broken heart at leaving her home, and a reluctance to stay and watch Don decline further than he had already.

The last time I saw her was a visit a few months ago, before she was transitioned from the temporary nursing home here in Toronto to the one she and Don have been at in Sudbury. It was obvious to me then that she was fragile, but Helen has been old my whole life, and I somehow thought that she and Don weren’t playing by the same rules as the rest of humanity, and I realize now that some small part of me really did think that she might live forever.

I had hoped she would live long enough to see the essay about her in this last book… but maybe it’s better this way. I’m trying not to feel very sad about it. It was a good life, a happy life and a very long life with a peaceful ending. What’s breaking my heart is sadness for my Uncle Don, because I just don’t know how you go on alone after almost 60 years in each others fine company.


I have no idea how you would do it.

740 thoughts on “A Knitter Has Cast Off

  1. i am so sorry to hear of you and your family’s loss. please accept my condolences and know that i’m thinking of you all and wishing you (and uncle don) well.

  2. I am so sorry for your loss. My grandparents had been married for 68 yrs when Gram died. Gramps has managed these past 10 yrs, but I know he thinks of her everyday. He is now 98 and his faith is what sustains him.

  3. I am so sorry. Even though we know that couples like this have had many years of love and we know that eventually one will have to leave the other, it is still very difficult to watch. I think it’s harder to see the one left behind. Our love and thoughts are with your entire family. Hugs.

  4. Stephanie, I’m so sorry. No matter how long our loved ones are with us, it is never long enough. It is a very hard decision to not intervene when someone is passing, but I think the elderly are especially grateful to be allowed to pass naturally, since they are so fragile and medical tests and treatments can be dreadful even when you’re young and strong. My condolences to your family.

  5. Hugs to you and heartfelt condolences to uncle Don. I can only imagine what it must be like to lose your spouse of so many years…

  6. I am so sorry for your loss. My aunt, a prolific knitter and crocheter passed away this year at the age of 98, just shy of her 99 birthday. She left behind a legacy of afghans and great grandchildren, just as your great aunt has left her legacy. God bless you and your family and especially your Uncle Don.

  7. I’m so sorry for your loss. I had an Aunt Helen in my life, only her name was Mary. She was a wonderful woman, full of life and love. She has been gone from this life almost 30 years and I still miss her and her sisters, my grandmother and aunts. May you, Uncle Don and the rest of your family find peace and comfort.

  8. Sincerest condolences to you and your family. How fortunate you were to have had Aunt Helen in your life. Uncle Don will need your continuing love, visits and support. My parents celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary next week–due mostly to my mother’s stubbornness in sticking with my difficult father, who has mellowed only slightly as he has aged. My mom would do well in a retirement center/nursing home, unlike your Aunt. My father would not. My father in law went and died three weeks before moving into the retirement center–I think he just couldn’t deal with the idea of the adjustment. I’m thinking of moving early into a retirement center, when I’m young enough to deal with the adjustment and when I’m in good health and it’s my decision. sorry for the long message; you raised issues that many of us worry about.

  9. I’m so sorry to hear that she passed away. My thoughts and prayers are with you, your family, and most importantly, your Uncle Don.

  10. So sorry to hear about your Great Aunt. Mine just passed last year and although I am comforted by the thought of her long wonderful life, it’s still painful to know that she isn’t just a phone call away anymore. Maybe my Aunt Becky and your Aunt Helen are keeping each other company.
    xoxo to you and your family.

  11. My Mom died this year, and my Dad is struggling to go on without her after 35 years together. I hope your Uncle Don is surrounded by people who love him and will keep him company as he goes on.
    Your aunt sounds wonderful. Thank you for sharing her with us.

  12. I’m so very sorry, YH. Although I’m a critical care nurse who’s supposed to understand that all humanity has to pass sooner or later, it remains a difficult thing for me to let loved ones go. So I truly understand how much you will miss her. (I, myself, just lost the one most important person in my life.) You are in my prayers.

  13. I am so sorry. A very good friend of mine just lost his father. His parents had been married for 65 years. I can’t imagine losing someone after all that time either. My thoughts and prayers are with you and especially your Uncle Don.

  14. My mother died a few years ago. Although it NEVER would be a good time for me, it was a good time for her to die. My heart does go out to Don. Perhaps the long years of true love they are still sharing is giving him strength for the rest of his days. Thank you Stephanie for sharing your stories of times together. My heart goes out to you and your family.

  15. My grandmother passed away in December… she and my grandpa had been married 60 years. It broke my heart when, a few weeks after the funeral, he said “I really miss having someone to hug.” So, many hugs to your Uncle Don.

  16. I’m so sorry for your loss – I love the stories you’ve written about Helen and Don. I’ll keep a good thought for you and your family, especially Don.

  17. I’m sorry to hear of your loss. I had a neighbour like that (but single), she had been ‘old’ since I was a little girl and was in her early 90s when she passed too. It’s hard no matter when it happens but yes, somehow, when they’ve managed to live so long already you just kinda think it will always be like that and it really shakes things up.

  18. My sincerest sympathies at this special loss. Your tribute was lovely and loving and I’m sure she knew how you felt about her — a very important thing. How fortunate you are to have had her and your uncle to enrich your life.

  19. Stephanie, I am so sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with your family and your Uncle Don. I believe that your Aunt Helen will indeed see your essay from heaven.

  20. My condolences go out to you and your family. I too thought my grandmother might live forever. I took it pretty hard when she passed two years ago.

  21. Thank you for sharing Helen with us these past few years. She has made me laugh and now cry. My thoughts to you and your Family, and Don.

  22. So sorry for your families loss, I read your essay about Helen just yesterday and it was obvious how much influence that she had on your life. It is never easy to let go, however it sounds that your family did the best in a bad situation for both Helen and Don. My prayers are with your entire family

  23. A big hug to you and your family. She looks so cute, she reminds me of my grandmother who died at 91, still full of p&v. Raise a glass to Aunt Helen and all those tough old ladies that we hope to be someday.

  24. To you and your family, my thoughts and love to you. It is good to know that your family had her wisdom and love to guide you for so long.

  25. I’m so sorry for your loss. She sounded like a wonderful person and you and your family obviously cared for her very much.
    It’s okay to be sad–it’s okay. It’s one of the ways people take care of themselves, by knowing when they are sad and grieving.
    My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  26. My thoughts are with you and your family. I hope your uncle does okay. Hopefully he will make some friends where he is living and they will help him through this time.

  27. I had a Great Uncle Don too. He and my Grandpa were both married to Mary’s and kept pens in their pockets at all times. My Grandpa refused to wear t-shirts except as undershirts so Grandma kept sewing him shirts. He had a whole list of reasons why her shirts were superior…
    My best wishes to you and your family.

  28. Please accept my condolences and extend them to your Uncle Don. Know that you are both in my thoughts and prayers, wishing you and your Uncle Don well.

  29. Deepest condolences, Stephanie — I’ll miss hearing about her in your Boxing Day posts, but she will always be able to bring a warm smile to your heart, and mine too, since you were generous enough to share her with us. Big warm hugs to all of you.

  30. I send all sincerest condolences for your family’s loss. How fantastic that you wrote about her in your book of essays, what a wonderful way to keep her spirit out in the world.

  31. You write so movingly about this lovely, special lady. It brought tears to my eyes. I’m 12,000 miles away, but I’m with you as I think about my relationship with my partner – 30 years- and people I have lost.
    Thank you for this piece

  32. I am sorry for your loss. All the strength and positive thoughts to you and Uncle Don. And as someone else mentioned, it is OK to be sad. Grieving is a normal process when we loose someone we love and care about.

  33. Hugs and sympathy, Steph. It’s tough to lose a friend and beloved aunt, no matter if they’re 30 or 94. Keep your memories, and she’ll always be alive in your mind.

  34. So sorry for your loss.Your thoughts your shared were lovely.She will always be with you….I hope they comfort you now.

  35. I just want to add my voice to all the others, hoping that knowing others can empathize with you brings you some comfort–as Don is sure to experience comfort from you. Please take care of yourself…

  36. I’m so sorry, Stephanie! I think that part of us deep down thinks all the people we love will live forever. And by writing about them, we almost sort of maybe make it happen. May her memory go on with you and be a blessing.

  37. Stephanie, I’m so sorry for you and for your uncle. My grandmother passed away under strikingly similar circumstances just two months ago. It brought me a lot of comfort to think about the fact that she hadn’t felt much pain and to feel that she seemed to make the choice to die all on her own. I hope that you and your family can find that same comfort even in your sorrow.

  38. Bereavement in their death to feel
    Whom We have never seen —
    A Vital Kinsmanship import
    Our Soul and theirs — between —
    For Stranger — Strangers do not mourn —
    There be Immortal friends
    Whom Death see first — ’tis news of this
    That paralyze Ourselves
    Who, vital only to Our Thought —
    Such Presence bear away
    In dying — ’tis as if Our Souls
    Absconded — suddenly —
    Emily Dickenson

  39. My thoughts are with you and your family, Stephanie. I feel as though we’ve come to know Aunt Helen through your blog…her joy, her elder knitter status, and your deep love for her. The community of knitters will miss your Aunt Helen, a truly beloved elder.

  40. What a beautiful tribute to love! Their love and yours. My thoughts are with you and with Uncle Don.

  41. Stephanie, I am so sorry. It’s always difficult to lose those we love. I imagine your Uncle Don will be joining his sweet Helen before too long. It frequently works that way. Please know that you are very much loved – even by many who only know you through your blog – and your sorrow is ours. You are our friend and we feel your pain. God be with you and your family at this time.

  42. Stephanie, My sympathy is extended to you and your family at this very sad time. No matter how old, how fulfilling a life was, or how expected the loss of a loved one, is never easy. The time of loss and when everyone returns to their own lives is the hardest. Altho’ very trite, time does help….not heal completely, but help. Take care of Uncle Don, and each other. Bets

  43. I am so sorry, I wish we could comfort you with words. Maybe this will help:
    “That which brings us sadness has once brought us joy. May you cherish forever all that was yours.”
    “Maybe all of life’s promises don’t come true, but mornings still come and hope, like sparrows, still sing in the trees.”
    “Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay awhile, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never, ever the same.”

  44. My grandfather died last spring at the age of 91, after 66 years of marriage to my grandmother. It was the best death one could hope for, comfortable, in his sleep, surrounded by family, but still achingly sad for those of us left behind. My grandmother is soldiering on as she would say, with a good attitude, but I’m worried about her.

  45. (((hugs))) My sincerest sympathies to you, your Uncle Don, and the whole family. We never have enough time with our loved ones, be it minutes or decades.

  46. Condolences to you and your family. I hope Uncle Don finds something to sustain him through this time.

  47. My deep sympathies for you, and your whole family. Losses are hard, no matter what age. My especial thoughts go out to your Uncle Don; I too have no idea how you’d go on without your life-companion, and wish him all the comfort that there could be.

  48. My brother died when he was 24. This happend many years ago, now, but there is always a quiet sadness that moves through me every time I visit his old bedroom. I never understand why he left so soon, or why he left before any one of us were ready to say good-bye. He was a brother, a son, a nephew, a friend. Over the years, I have remembered not just that he died, but that he lived and that his life gave memories to many too beautiful to forget. Please accept my heartfelt sympathy on the passing of your great-aunt.

  49. For some reason, I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently. It’s really been in my consciousness this past year because I have a dear Aunt in a similar situation. It’s makes the concept of dying from a broken heart so very real. My sincere condolences and healing wishes for you and for your family during this sad time.

  50. Very well put. I like the way you it that she cast off. Only a writer/knitter would put such a transition into imagery the way you did. Uncle Don will move through the process as he needs to its not up to you to make it easier for him you each need to grieve in your own way. Take each day as it comes for each is its own stitch in your knitted lifetime.

  51. Ok..I’m going to sound like a nerd..but am I the only person that thinks it’s romantic that she died in his arms!? That made me start crying.. ūüôĀ

  52. I am so sorry. Loosing sucks. My prayers are with you and your family for a time. Grief is such a long haul.
    I recently was told that although the tears which flush a speck of dust from our eye are pure saline, emotional tears, including of grief, are filled with toxins. I hope when the time for tears comes, you and yours have the courage to let them flow.

  53. When I read your boxing day entry last year I thought of my own aging grandparents and how I wished I had shared a similar tradition with them. Alas, they lived across the country from me and I never got to spend such quality, and quantity, time with them. I congratulate Helen on leading such a long and fulfilling life. We should all be so fortunate.

  54. How very weird is this internet world. I thought I ‘knew’ your aunt from the Boxing Day posts. And when I read this, I was just struck with a sense of loss for someone who really wasn’t in MY life. My condolences to all of you. You were lucky to have her for so long so that your girls could know her too.

  55. Honestly, I think there’s a point beyond which the members of a couple can’t – or no longer want to – survive the loss of the other one. My grandparents will have their 72nd anniversary in December, 5 days after my grandmother’s 89th birthday and a little over a month before my grandfather’s 94th. We all expect that regardless of which of them passes first, the other won’t be far behind.
    The only thing you can do is love them, every day.

  56. Losing someone is never easy, but knowing it was a good life and they and many blessings along the way makes it easier to let them trasition. I wish you peace and comfort as you go through this time.

  57. Memory Eternal for your Great Aunt Helen. I’m so sorry for your loss and will be thinking of you and your family in prayerful intentions.
    You’ve written a lovely tribute to her and may it bring much solace to your family.

  58. Wow……..how wonderful for them that they have shared so much love and life together. I know you and Don will miss her physically but I bet she’ll always be around you……..

  59. What a beautiful lady, your Aunt Helen. How lucky you are to have had her in your life for so long. She will always be one of the treasures of your heart, perhaps even one of the crown jewels.
    I hope your Uncle Don will rock on until it is his time to join his beautiful wife. I don’t know how you go on either, but I trust family and friends will have a lot to do with Uncle Don putting one foot in front of the other, as difficult as that will be.
    Godspeed to Stephanie’s Aunt Helen!

  60. Cherish the memories and pass them on to your girls and their (future) children. You have been very lucky to have had her in your life. By the time all the comments are in, you will have received so many hugs and greetings for Don that he can be comforted by one of us each day for a very long time. My condolances, and my thoughts are with you and your family.

  61. I am sending more thoughts of comfort to you. Thank you for sharing some of the good memories of your Great Aunt. The good memories are so important to hold on to.

  62. Sweetie, I’m sorry for your loss, and my sympathies extend to the whole family. We lost our Boxing Day auntie a few years ago; some traditions are truly sacred and non-transferrable.

  63. There must be something wonderful about ‘Great Aunt Helen’s. I had one too. I remember her Crumble Top Banana Bread and her love of teaching children. I wish my Great Aunt Helen had known that I would become a teacher. I’m so glad you had an Aunt Helen to love too, I hope there are more of them out there like ours. The world needs more. We are now one less. I’m going to go home and bake some banana bread now.

  64. Thinking of your family at this sad time. Sounds to me the best way to go, peacefully in the arms of the one you love.

  65. My sincerest condolences, you have painted such a wonderful picture of these two on the blog over the last couple of years. There are no words. I hope she’s found peace and will watch over your uncle Don.

  66. I am so sorry for your loss. When I was 24 I lost my fianc√© of 4 years to cancer. He was 24, too. Now, 14 years later, I’m married to a wonderful man who is healthy and I demand that he stays that way. I used to tell him he was to live at least 40 more years, but I’ve now decided he can’t die before I do, because I couldn’t take it without him. I hope Uncle Don finds comfort in his many memories. Blessings.

  67. Awwww, that’s so sad. My dad died in July and they’d been married 66yrs. My mother will never get over it…

  68. I’m terribly sorry for your loss. I’ll be thinking of you and your family, trying to send peace and happy memories your way.

  69. Steph, I am so sorry for your loss. After all you have written about Aunt Helen, I was half certain she would live forever too. My prayers/thoughts for Uncle Don.

  70. My condolences to you and your family, Stephanie. I’m glad you were able to have her in your life for all of these years, and I love the picture of these two old sweethearts.

  71. My condolences. Your Great Aunt Helen reminds me of my Great Aunt Marguerite. Lots of virtual hugs to you and your family.

  72. I can’t help but think of Mr. Auden’s poem: “Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone…” You probably know it.
    The best thing for your uncle right now is company. People who’ve been married that long get lonely — for words, for company, and for touch. He needs hugs and phone calls and as many expressions of love as he can get.
    I am so very sorry that you’ve lost your Great Aunt Helen. Great Aunts are wonderful relatives to have around, and she sounds like she lived up to it in magnificent ways. Looks like her life had lots of good laughter and love in it.
    I’ll be thinking about you and your family.

  73. All my sympathy, Stephanie, to you and your family. I enjoyed your boxing day stories (especially about the beer!)!
    The only thing I can think of to say is that it seems like your aunt got a good death. In this world, that isn’t always the case, and your family is to be commended for listening and caring.
    Your story today is very sad, but even so, it’s very very sweet. Your aunt was clearly a wonderful person.

  74. I am so sorry, Stefanie. For you, your uncle and your whole family. My grandfather died in June at the age of 86, after 64 years of marriage to my grandmother. I understand some of how you feel. I had 36 years with my Papa and I am grateful for it, but who is to say how long is long enough? No amount of time is ever enough with someone we love. My grandmother is mourning and learning how to go on without him, but it’s difficult for her and hard to watch. My heart breaks for her. I know death is part of life, but grief really sucks.

  75. Sorry for your loss. What a long life she had and to spend it with someone you love is so fortunate. My heart goes out to your uncle Don.

  76. Please accept my condolenses for your horrible loss. You and your family are in my thoughts and heart.

  77. My deepest condolences; my thoughts are with you and your family.
    When my grandfather was quite elderly, he worried about grandma and who would take care of her if he died first. (they raised a large filial family; he needn’t have worried.) Grandma passed first at the age of 86, after almost 65 years of marriage. Grandpa stopped eating and followed her to peace within a week, at the age of 92. He just needed to be with her and take care of her, wherever she was. Everyone is different, and no one knows what the future will bring.
    Take care. *hugs*

  78. My heartfelt sympathy, Stephanie. Death is the enemy of us all, and living forever our natural desire. My grandmother died August 20 at age 89, peacefully and at home…small things to be thankful for. My prayers are with you and yours at this sad time.

  79. It is hard when you have to admit to yourself that your heroes (the most important of which tend to be family) aren’t untouchable and can’t live forever. I’m so sorry you have lost such a hero.

  80. Crying, crying, I am crying. I didn’t know Helen, I don’t know Don, other than through your words of them and their pictures on the blog. I am so saddened at her passing. My heart, too, aches for Don, because you’re right…what do you do after 60 years of companionship? Hugs to all of you. ūüôĀ

  81. I am sorry for your loss. All that wisdom and history is gone. The story continues with others, but it changes.
    Loss comes to us all in different ways, but the common thread is death – of our loved ones and ourselves.
    Love and Hugs

  82. I’m sorry about your loss. It sounds like you have many fond memories which can lift your spirit.

  83. Stephanie, my deepest condolences to your family at this time. I hope you write down as much as you can remember of her stories and life for your kids and their kids. Helen sounded like a truely wonderful lady. Nat Alea

  84. I am so sorry. She seemed like such a happy soul from the pictures. They both do. I can’t imagine what it would be like to go one after 60 years together with someone you love…

  85. What a joy to have lived so well for so long with so much love. Its all we can ask for and its all that really matters.
    Your Uncle Don won’t carry on without her. He will carry her with him for the rest of his life. My own Papa lost his wife of almost 60 years 2 years ago and will never stop hurting, loving or missing her. You just need to be there for him, to give him someone to hug, to kiss and to talk to. Especially in a few months when the newness of the loss has faded.
    Thanks for sharing Helen and Don with us.

  86. Stephanie, you have my heartfelt condolences. My prayers are with you, your family and especially your Uncle Don.

  87. Oh, Steph, I am so sorry to hear of your loss. Our thoughts are with you.
    I can tell you that when my Nana died, after their 60-years+ together, PawPaw declined rapidly thereafter. He died a year to the day after she did. So I suppose the answer to, how can you do it?, is that you can, if you must, but why?

  88. Oh, sweetie. I’m so sorry for your loss.
    My great-grandfather was 98 when he passed, and I truly understand the mindset of thinking they are going to just keep on living. I just knew he’d see my grandkids grow up.
    When we wind up with that perception – intended or not – when they pass it hits so much harder than you’d figure it should. After all, they are “old” right? We should just accept it and roll with it.
    But, it’s harder than that, isn’t it? It’s like the world and reality as we knew it is now totally off kilter.
    My heart goes out to you, and to her husband of so many years.

  89. My mom passed this last Sunday. My dad remarked that in the last 34 years, he’s only ever paid for one haircut.
    My love and sympathy go to your whole family, especially your Uncle Don. I am looking forward to the time that remembrances of my mother bring smiles instead of tears.

  90. Sounds like Don needs to see the essay in the new book. Any advanced copies available that you can sign and send up to him?
    I’m sorry for your loss. Sounds like she had a good life and you have many happy memories that will live on.
    Also, make an effort to go and visit him soon.

  91. Stephanie, so sorry for your loss. My own Aunt Jane is visiting my daughter and me right now. She is my favorite aunt, and has been a surrogate mother for me since my own mother died 28 years ago. I hope that my daughter will cherish her great aunt Jane the way you obviously cherished your own great aunt.

  92. You were recently musing about your writing and what it meant to you when it touched someone. Today’s entry did. Bless them both.

  93. So sorry; I have no idea how you would do it, either. Will be keeping your family and particularly your uncle Don in my prayers.

  94. My sympathies. A close friend recently lost his mother, leaving behind Ed’s dad after more than 60 years of marriage. It has been hard but he says that his dad just always says that he was lucky to have had June for those many years. That doesn’t make loss any easier, just puts a good face on it. Keep your wonderful memories close to your heart and your aunt will live on.

  95. Sincere and heartfelt condolences. As someone (very) newly married, hearing about such a loving and lengthy partnership is inspiring and also comforting. Thanks for sharing something so personal with us.

  96. I had a Christmas Eve Aunt, and I miss her too.
    I used to spike the punch on Christmas Eve beacuse I thought it was funny. Now I do it because I can still hear her yelling at me to behave. My condolences.

  97. My thoughts are with you and your family. When my Grandfather passed away just week short of my grandparents 50th wedding anniversary, I thought my grandmother would be lost without him. But she always told me that he was with her everywhere she went now – in her heart, and believing that someday she would see him again helped her carry on through the tough times. My best to you.

  98. My sympathy is with you and your family. When my grandmother died, my grandfather died only 6 weeks later, and it was comforting to think of them together in the next dimension.
    Sounds like your Great Aunt Helen was a wonderful, well-loved woman.

  99. I’m so sorry for your loss. What a tremendous gift to have had this lady in your life! My Aunt Dottie died in January, and I also worry for my Uncle Ed. I will be thinking of you and your aunt and uncle today.

  100. this fills me with joy, steph, because it is a comfort to know that someone who is 94 could be married for that long. i am 55 yearss old today, i still have hope of a lifelong marriage, yes?
    you’re coming to Jacksonville? take a billion photos of downtonwn at night. beautiful . hope to see you there.

  101. Please accept my most sincere condolences on your loss. I know that regardless of the time we have to ‘prepare’ ourselves, when death comes, it never is easy.
    Be comforted that she’s in a better place, where the wool is always soft, in the right shade, and never a ball short.
    Gene Reyes

  102. I can only imagine what a comfort your book will be to Uncle Don. What a beautiful couple!
    My grandparents were married 72 years and then Grampa passed at 95, Gram two years later at 96. She was lucid, but still, she kept asking, especially towards the end, Why did Wallace leave me? Why did he leave me alone? She gradually stopped eating too, it just didn’t interest her enough.
    I’m convinced the reason they lasted so long was that they had the means to afford 24/hr care in their own apartment, so they didn’t have to uproot. I know how rare that is.
    I have my grandmother’s autobiography, her stories in writing, and I cannot begin to say what a treasure and inspiration it is to me. Which is why I know how very great a comfort Don will take from your writing about them: they will not be forgotten.

  103. I enjoyed your Boxing Day posts, and thought how marvelous Don and Helen were. Her memory is a blessing.

  104. Ohhhhh. I remember you writing about them before. It’s bittersweet- you’re right- she had a good life- but no matter how hard you try not to be sad, you still miss her. Just love your uncle 3 times as much- he’ll join her when the time is right, and that will be okay, too. Wishing you all much peace.

  105. I am saddened by your news. I’ve enjoyed your tales of times with your Aunt.
    My mother died a month short of her and Dad’s 56th wedding anniversary. Dad went on for three more years but you could tell he missed her every day. The missing never stops, for any of us.
    You and your uncle and the rest of your family are in my thoughts.

  106. Stephanie? that last picture and their brilliant smiles say it all. thanks for sharing her and Don with all of us. my life is better for it. my heart goes out to you and all of your family.

  107. Somehow it seems that certain people in our lives will just keep on forever, but sadly not. Not for any of us.
    But you have shared with us previously a beautiful life; and surely this is a beautiful death.
    My most sincere condolences to you, your family and your great-uncle Don. I know you will all miss Helen terribly.

  108. Stephanie, my heartfelt condolences to you and your family. May you all provide comfort to each other at this difficult time.

  109. I don’t know what to say, except I want you to know there’s a lot of good energy coming your way. I hope it supports you and that you know people are thinking of you. My heartfelt condolences.

  110. I’m so sorry for your loss.
    Though, I do completely understand the comment about her living forever. That’s how I feel about my grandfather. He’s 93, lives alone, takes ZERO medication, learned the computer & how to surf the internet and do email and such at 89 and really, will live forever.
    My thoughts are with you & your family.

  111. I’m so sorry for your loss. Your blog posts have been a beautiful tribute to your Aunt and Uncle. Uncle Don and the rest of your family are in the hearts and minds of a lot of knitters right now.

  112. Such a sad day YH, what a lovely eulogy. Takes me back to when my very special Granny died. Lots of good thoughts for your family and your Uncle Don.

  113. I’m sorry for your loss; you will undoubtedly miss her. I feel only joy for Aunt Helen, who seems to have had a long and happy life and to have left it when she was ready. Try not to worry too much about Uncle Don; she has just gone ahead to show him the way, and I’m sure she’s watching over all of you even now.

  114. Memories – of those wonderful years together and a hope for something more with that person when they die.
    I’m so sorry to hear of your loss. Stick with your uncle as much as you can. You all need each other!

  115. I am truly sorry to hear of your aunt’s passing. Your writing of your Aunt Helen and Uncle Don touched my heart. They are so, so lucky to have had such a lovely, wonderful life together. What a true blessing.
    My thoughts are with you.

  116. She was a lucky lady to have such an appreciative and wise great-niece. A friend of mine said, Growing old ain’t for sissies. So true. So hard.

  117. Please pass the condolences of the blog to Don and the whole family.
    I have enjoyed your stories about them, and enjoyed getting to know them a little. I hope Don finds some comfort in knowing how many of your readers are remembering him and his wife today.

  118. What a beautiful tribute to a beautiful lady. I’m so sorry for your loss, Stephanie. I’ll be keeping your family, and especially Don in my thoughts.

  119. My mother’s name was Helen, and they are a fine lot of folk. My deepest condolences in the passing of your Great Aunt. Peace be with you.

  120. I am so sorry for your loss. It’s hard to lose a family member, no matter who it is, but what lives on are your memories of them.
    My great-grandmother was old when I met her, mean when it suited her, older when I got to know her, and older yet by the time I recognized that ‘mark’ on her ankle was a tattoo. She was 93 when she passed away (22 years ago), and even if that was all I remembered, it would be good.

  121. I am so sorry….my heart aches for your uncle. I hope you all find the strength and love you need in each other at this time, and in the memories of the love you all shared with your aunt. Your grief at this moment bears testimony to what a lovely human being she must have been.

  122. My deepest condolences to you and your family. It is when we go through these very painful losses that we earn our place as elders in our families. Mourn, cry and feel everything that you need to feel; Then celebrate her memory because, from what you have written, your Aunt is one of the people who helped make you as you are now. That is how she will live forever.

  123. i’m very sorry for your loss stephanie. i remember first reading about your boxing day tradition and thinking that it sounded wonderful. it sounds like she was as fortunate to have you in her life as you were to have her in yours.

  124. I wish I had an answer for you. My delightful in-laws just celebrated their 61st anniversary. An absolutely astonishing event in this current climate. I often torture myself with thoughts about what will happen to the other when one finally passes. It is indeed bittersweet and the world will certainly be a poorer place without these people.

  125. My condolences. While it is true that the fact that she had a long satisfying life is of some comfort, the fact that she will no longer be with you still hurts. You will go on remembering her & tell stories about her to your grandchildren – that is immortality.

  126. How wonderful that your Aunt Helen was loved and cherished all those years by you.
    My prayers and thoughts are with you and yours.

  127. I’m so sorry about Great Aunt Helen. Through the years of your writing about her she sounded like such an amazing lady.
    Your post made me think (as I often do) of my own older relatives, several great aunts and uncles that are in their 80s and 90s and it just makes me so sad to think that they are not immortal.
    Giant big hugs to you and your family, especially Great Uncle Don.

  128. Stephanie, Joe, the young ladies and Uncle Don — may you find comfort in your memories of Aunt Helen, and in each other.
    I’m so very sorry for your loss.

  129. Just look at that last photo…how much more love and joy could have possibly fit in it? Helen and Don had what most people long for and they are among the fortunate few to have found it. My heartfelt condolences to you all.
    May her memory be eternal.

  130. To quote a Susan much above me:
    “My heart feels warm and sad, at the same time. ”
    We’re lighting a candle for you and your family.

  131. I’ve read your Boxing day posts over the last few years–and it is great that you have so many wonderful memories. Thanks for sharing your memories with us.

  132. We just had a loss in our family, too…my 33 year old cousin died of brain cancer last week. Even when it is expected and you know it’s time, it’s very difficult. I don’t care if they are 33 or 94, it’s just plain hard. I’m sorry for your loss and I remember you sharing pictures of your Aunt Helen in the past. I’m glad you have your memories. I do pray your memories bring you comfort in the time to come.

  133. I am so very sorry for your loss. I lost my beloved mother almost 2 years ago after her health declined. I too thought is some small part of my heart that she would never die. She did – at least in body – but her spirit is still with me. Over time you may find your aunt’s spirit is still with you, too. I hope so.

  134. I’m sorry for your loss, happy that your wonderful aunt had such a long good life with a peaceful ending. You’re all in my thoughts, especially your uncle Don.

  135. Dear Stephanie,
    I am so sorry for your loss, and extend my condolences to you and to your entire family. Thank you for sharing Helen with us. Boxing Day won’t be the same without her, though it may bring you comfort to know that many of us south of the border now recognize and celebrate Boxing Day because of you, and can’t think of it without thinking of your aunt and uncle.
    The first year will be the hardest for Uncle Don. We nearly lost my grandfather under similar circumstances, but he hung on and actually thrived for another decade, one that ended up being one of the happiest and richest in his life except for the absence of my grandmother, his beloved Kitty. Lots of things came full circle in my grandfather’s final years. Through some truly bizarre (miraculous?) coincidences, he got to meet two very famous individuals who had meant a great deal to him. He went to a number of events (mostly concerts) with family members, continued to make new friends, and adopted a dog that, unbenownst to his family, was a spitting image of the farm dog he’d had as a boy. He could often be heard commenting on “what Kitty would think of this” but as the years wore on the pain of separation eased, and he died peacefully and happily surrounded by all of his other loved ones when it was his time. I wish as much for Uncle Don, that he will find solace in love and memories, as well as a rich and vivid tapestry of life for his remaining days, and I suppose ultimately I wish this for all of us. Are there knitted tapestries? I’m realizing now I went with absolutely the wrong fiber metaphor. Ah well. If it’s fiber, there’s love involved, right?

  136. Welcome grief into your heart. Let it fill you and then, gently, release it. You have a right and a need to grieve and be sad; to cry and to rail against a loved one’s loss. SHe soundsed like (and looked like) a particularly awesome soul.

  137. They are not gone for as long as someone remembers them. A part of her will live on now, caught in time for as long as there’s someone to read about her.

  138. Did she teach you how to knit? If so, what a wonderful legacy she left. I am sure that she much have been very proud of you and took much joy in your family. Peace to you…

  139. I’m bawling. Of course I’m bawling. I’m so used to reading about your family spending Boxing Day with your aunt and uncle. I feel like they’re part of my family too, or at least my holiday traditions. I am also an animal person, among other things and do I remember correctly that they had a dog? The perpetual dog? What happened to him? Does he need a home?

  140. I am sorry for your loss, but you are right in that she lived a good long life. My heart goes out to you and Uncle Don.

  141. Oh, I’m so sorry! I always loved those stories about her – she seemed like the great aunt everyone wishes they had. What a terrible loss!

  142. I’m so sorry.
    You know, I guess I somehow thought she would live forever. A surprise sometimes to be reminded that we’re all mortal.

  143. Please accept my sympathy on your loss and please convay to your Uncle Don our sympathies as well. This will be a very hard time for all. If we can help in anyway please let us(those who read your blog) know.

  144. I am so sorry for your loss. My great-grandmother was the same about leaving her home, it is just so devastating for some.

  145. You and your loved ones are in my thoughts. Even though you know she lived a good, long life, it’s still got to be so tough to say goodbye.

  146. Steph, I am so sorry for your heartache at such a loss as a fine woman like Aunt Helen. I have the same bewilderment as to how the world goes on moving when such an obviously lonely space has been left. I suspect the answer is that this space is quickly filled with memories of the love and warmth that she will bring to you all well beyond her years, here. Many hugs to Don. Just celebrated year 16 with my hubster and that seems such a long time…still, I cringe at the thought of our life journey – together- ending – be it by age or consequence. I ache at the thought of the grief one of us will face.

  147. I look forward to reading the essay about Helen, as much as I enjoyed reading the Boxing Day stories of her, Don and their dog.
    My thoughts are with your family.

  148. My deepest sympathy for you and your family’s loss. Please know that we are all praying for you and Aunt Helen.
    A happy long life is a wonderful thing to experience and remember.
    Warm hugs and prayers to all of you.

  149. Stephanie, I am so sorry to hear about Helen. I have loved reading about Helen and Don and Boxing Day so very much. Please, let Don know we all are thinking about him.
    Precious people like Helen who were part of us growing up never really leave us though — the lessons they taught us, the laughter they gave us, stays with us forever.

  150. Im sorry,
    Dont know how this sounds,but that was a lovely way to leave this world.
    In the arms of someone you spent 60 years with.

  151. Oh Stephanie. You’ve got me crying at my desk. As I said at my grandfather’s funeral, when someone has been with you for so long, you begin to suspect that they will live forever. And when they do leave this earth, you’re shocked that they ever dared to leave you behind.
    I wish Helen all the peace that she deserves and for Don, the happiness of having known such a perfect love in his life.

  152. My heart goes out to you. I’m so sorry for your loss. You write so beautifully about her. I’m sure she’s smiling at you.

  153. Stephanie, I am so sorry for your loss of a beloved elder in your family. They are so wonderful while we have them. My own beloved elder was my mommy-in-law, who had been both my surrogate mother and best friend for over twenty years when she died peacefully of a stroke. The suddenness shocked all of us, but we all recognized how lucky she was not to linger, incapacitated or in pain. Her wonderful husband has declared his readiness to join her ever since, but at 93, he has learned all over again to cook, and he welcomes the entire extended family for Christmas and Thanksgiving every year. (We cook – for twenty-five or thirty). He misses Mildred terribly I know, but I think he’s OK because family and friends check in on him every day and he’s included in all gatherings he wants to go to.
    My thoughts are with you.

  154. I am so sorry for your loss, and I feel the most intense sympathy for your Uncle Don. It was very much a treat to read about them at the holidays, and I must admit to feeling a strong pang of concern for Cricket, the World’s Perpetual Dog.

  155. I’m so sorry for your loss. My great uncle lost his wife of 67 years, and we thought he’d be gone not long after, but he lived with the surety that he’d see her again “after” and I’m sure he has.

  156. (((Gentle hugs))), My heart, thoughts & prayers go out to Uncle Don, You & your family.
    I share Mary E. Dadds, 2:23’s sentiments.
    (((Gentle hugs))) again.

  157. I agree with what you said, and I think how my friend just had a baby an hour ago, and this life thing is amazing and beautiful. How it just goes on… My best to your Uncle Don and to you and all of your family.

  158. The world needs more Aunt Helens, or in my case, Aunt Bettys. My condolences for your loss. What was her favourite type of knitting?

  159. I’m so sorry for your family’s loss. It brings to mind a song getting a lot of radio play lately (country) called “Johnny and June” by Heidi Newfield (formerly of Trick Pony). The song is about Johnny and June Carter Cash’s great love for one another and how neither wanted to go on without the other. The singer wishes that she could experience a love like that. The last line goes
    “And when there gonna be no tears to cry,
    Only memories of our lives,
    They’ll remember, remember
    A love like that.”
    Sounds like your Uncle Don and Aunt Helen were among the lucky ones.

  160. My condolences.
    I often threaten my husband that I plan to be a merry widow, most often when I’m concerned that he isn’t making a smart lifestyle choice. The threats don’t work because he knows I’d be absolutely crushed.
    Hugs most of all to Uncle Don.

  161. I’m sorry about the loss for your family. I have loved reading about your Aunt Helen and Uncle Don, and will miss her.

  162. While I sit here in tears, I can’t help but think how lovely it is that your family was graced by such an obviously beautiful and spirited soul for such a long while. I also want to thank you for sharing Helen and Don, and your love for them, with all of us. I have never commented here before, there are always so many others, and I am painfully shy, but I feel I must tell you how inspired I am by your willingness to share yourself with not only friends, but with anyone and everyone, without expectation of reciprocity. In dong so, you have given Helen an incredible gift; you have extended her legacy through your words. Thank you, and I hope your family is able to take comfort in the moments shared with Helen in your time of sadness.

  163. I’ve always loved hearing about your Aunt Helen and Uncle Don in both your books and in your conversation . . . I recall their immortal dog and of course they both seem immortal as well. I love that Helen died in her beloved’s arms, and my heart goes out to Don, you, and everyone who loves these two beautiful human beings. May Don manage to continue through the remainder of his days with his Helen still whole and alive in his heart and imagination.

  164. I’m so sorry for your loss and for your Uncle Don. You wrote such a beautiful tribute. My mother is struggling with the loss of my dad after 58 years of marriage. It isn’t easy. Many kind thoughts to you and your family at this time.

  165. I’m so sorry for your loss, and so glad you had Helen for so long.
    DH and I have been together 30 years. My greatest fear is being the one left.

  166. My heartfelt feelings go out to you, Don and the family. We always have to grieve the loss, no matter how rich and fulfilled their lives have been. It’s like living in a broken spider web for a while.
    My father is 95 and living in his house, alone and independently (with Mum’s ashes since 1991!)and your message made me realise this is how it should be for him, despite our concerns for his safety and capability. He is cantancorously (spelling!) content for the most part and still fairly compus mentos.
    May you Aunt Helen live forever in your memory.
    Janet MF

  167. I feel honored to have the chance to come to know Helen through your words. My condolences to you and your family, Stephanie.

  168. My sympathies to you, your family and especially Don. I don’t know how you go on alone after 60 years. I had my DH only nine; and in the month since he’s been gone, I am nearly overwhelmed by the loss and the silence. I’m told it gets easier but I don’t know how.

  169. I’m so sorry for your loss and I understand what you are going through. My grandfather passed away last week. He and my grandmother had just celebrated their sixtieth wedding anniversary – on the same day that my husband and I celebrated our third, so it’s nice to know we’ll always share that with them. It’s so hard to say goodbye and more than anything, you want to do something for the person left behind – I can’t imagine losing my life’s companion either. Hugs to you and your family.

  170. I have loved your Boxing Day stories; I’m so happy that Helen and Don could make each other smile like that, even after 57 years. We are all thinking of you, and Don.

  171. Awww, I’m so sorry. Don will no doubt appreciate the essay. And you no doubt will keep her in your thought and heart from here on out – she’s built in to you at the cellular level.
    Thoughts to you and your family and hers as you grieve.

  172. Hugs to you dear. While I understand and am deeply saddened by your Aunt Helen’s passing I know one thing for a fact. My beloved Gramma Ruth met her at the gate with a basket of biscuits and some wonderful yarn. They’re probably both knitting and talking about us as we speak. Hugs and blessings to your Uncle Don, things will be rough no doubt about it.

  173. Wonderful tribute to a beautiful long life. May we all be so blessed to live that long. My thoughts to you and your family especially to your Uncle Don. I also don’t know how you go on after losing someone that has been in your life that long.

  174. Thank you for sharing your Aunt Helen with us. May she live on in all our memories. My heart goes out to you and your family, and especially your Uncle Don.

  175. I am so sorry for your loss. And it appears to be a great loss in your life given your close relationship. As you said, she lived a long good life and I’m glad you can hold onto that thought at this time. My thoughts are also with your Uncle Don. I’m sending him a great big hug.

  176. Thanks for sharing Aunt Helen’s wonderful legacy with all of us. I hope she is at peace. Your family, especially Uncle Don, are in my thoughts.

  177. I am so sorry for your loss. But your words and memories are lovely for a lovely lady.
    Tonight pour a glass of wine – one for you and one for Helen. Raise it up and drink to her.

  178. Stephanie and family,
    Only my faith could carry me through, if I were in Uncle Don’s shoes. Please accept our thoughts and prayers for you all at this time. You truly did share your aunt and uncle with us, and we are all the richer for it.
    ~ Dar

  179. She would be proud of your essay and your tribute post. I was young when my grandma passed, and three days later Grandpa Gerrit (who one of my sons is named) died in his sleep – this world kept them apart but the next is eternal. She was a knitter and he held the yarn while she balled the skeins up. I imagine they are doing the same as I type. Peace to you and your family.

  180. You wrote: “I’m trying not to feel very sad about it.” hmmmm….don’t try that….it is very sad, and you are entitled to every bit of your sadness. Matter of fact, if you try to push it away, it will just niggle at you until you go ahead and have those good cries. Consider yourself hugged by me, and I’m sure, lots of other readers who feel a part of your cyber-family.

  181. What a joy she must have been, to have you speak so well of her. My thoughts are with you and your family. Peace to you all.

  182. I’m so sorry for your loss. My heart goes out to you, Uncle Don, and the rest of your family. I can’t wait to read the essay about Aunt Helen in the new book.

  183. When I’d finished reading this I glanced at the top and saw the back link to your last post “You know what would be fun?”. My Mum is 84. Her mum lived to be 98 and her aunt made me tea the first time I visted her at 103. All of them have lived a great deal of their lives stumbling from one “you know what would be fun?” moment to the next. I’m sure this applies to you Aunt Helen, too. I look forward to reading about her in your new book. Your family, and especially Don, will be in my prayers.

  184. Oh Steph. I am so sorry. I can relate to what you are saying about your heart being broken for your uncle. When my grandfather died, I knew he was in a better place so I tried not to be sad for him; but I found that I was very sad indeed for my own father, who was losing his dad. That’s the part that still brings tears to my eyes.
    My thoughts and prayers are with you and yours.

  185. I am so sorry for your loss. My thoughts are with you and your family. Remember those that have left us here on earth are still with us in our memories and thoughts.

  186. I am so sorry to hear about your Aunt Helen passing. Please accept my heartfelt condolences for the loss that your Uncle Don and the rest of your family has suffered. You have been blessed by having her here for so long, and now you will be blessed by her memories. It is not easy when ones partner has gone on. For my Mother, she coped by thinking that my Dad was just out to sea on a long trip. Perhaps your Uncle could just think that Helen is in another room, and is waiting for him to come to her.

  187. Something that comforts me at the loss of a loved one, that I hope will comfort you, is this:
    You wouldn’t miss them so much if they hadn’t been so wonderful, hadn’t had such a wonderful, large part of your life. Missing them is just more loving them; only in a different form.
    Peace and healing to you and all of your family.

  188. She inspired you to write about her–of course she will live forever.
    (((hugs))) for your family, and for Uncle Don. It sounds like your memories of her will be blessed with sweetness.

  189. It sounds like she held a lot of space in your heart, and you are already missing her greatly. Don’t be afraid to lean on Joe and the girls during this hard time. Our thoughts are with you.

  190. “What’s breaking my heart is sadness for my Uncle Don, because I just don’t know how you go on alone after almost 60 years in each others fine company.”
    This is what I was thinking while I was reading about your dear Aunt Helen. I have no idea how you do this either. My father’s mother died when I was a small child and his father didn’t last long alone. I think he just didn’t want to and it was understandable.
    I am sorry for you and your family that Aunt Helen is gone. I think you are right; she had a nice, happy, long life and a peaceful death. What more could you wish for her?

  191. I am so sorry for your loss. I know your Uncle will miss her deeply but I am sure he will do well. My prayers are with you and your family at this trying time.

  192. I’m so sorry to hear about your Aunt Helen’s passing. And of course it will be hardest on your Uncle Don. I hope he has loved ones nearby who can comfort him, and that your family finds solace in the many fine memories you have of your Aunt Helen. From what you have shared, she was a remarkable person.

  193. She was rich with a supportive husband and family and her legacy will go on through you.
    Joe has had more than most men.

  194. I’m so sorry Steph. You had spoken of them so lovingly before, it is obvious how wonderful and important they have been to you. Everyone should be so lucky as to have a Helen and Don in their life.

  195. I’m so sorry Stephanie. I loved reading your storys about Helen and Don.
    I haven’t read the other messages. I can’t at this time because I would never be able to stop crying.
    My Mother died May 26 at 86 years. They were married 56 years. They knew one another for 64 years. Since that time my Father has had pneumonia and spent time in the nursing home to gain strength. Went we brought him home it was to a room with a hospital bed in it. We had to get rid of their bed. The other night he told me that he leaves space in the bed for her every night. When he wakes up in the middle of the night he sees her smiling face beside her.
    I think that is how we go on. The memories that keep us going.
    We are very lucky we are able to keep him at home. With caregivers and my Sister, Brother and myself being there for them.
    I wish Don all the best with the life he has left. They were both very lucky to have each other.

  196. You have given your aunt a lovely tribute. Deepest sympathy to you and yours at this sad time.

  197. I’m so sorry for your loss and for your Uncle Don. I remember them from your Boxing Day posts. What a beautiful tribute you wrote. Thank you for sharing them with us.

  198. Can’t read all the comments, so I’ll just say my piece (peace).
    I’m so sorry for your loss, but so many blessings will ease your heart.
    How wonderful that your essay is already written while she was here, full of joy, written in the present and not the past. And although she didn’t see it in print, I like to think she knows.
    “I have no idea how you would do it.” In spite of knowing that the longer you are together, the lifelong commitment made, you know: rarely do you go together. It’s amazing anyone can do it, but many of us do, some way or another.
    “Life is made up of meetings and partings, that is the way of it.”
    Kermit the Frog in A Muppet Christmas Carol.

  199. I’m so sorry for your loss.
    When my Dad called to tell me that my Grandmother had passed away, the first word out of my mouth were “But she was supposed to live forever!” It does seem that way when you’ve known someone as ‘old’ all your life.
    Carry on, and cherish your memories of her.

  200. I’m so sorry to hear of it. My best wishes to you, Uncle Don, and your family. I wish there were more I could say.

  201. I’m so sorry. My father-in-law passed away in his 60s, so I worry that my husband will have a limited lifespan. And 30 years is too short. But I imagine that 57 years aren’t enough either.

  202. I’m so sorry for your loss. It’s never easy to let go, especially when they’re supposed to live forever. You and Uncle Don, and the rest of your family are in my thoughts and prayers.
    Thank you for sharing that lovely tribute to Helen.

  203. I’m so sorry to hear this sad news. It’s brought a tear to my eye because my mother-in-law passed away just a couple of months ago, after a short unexpected illness, and watching my father-in-law and husband struggle is so difficult.
    I wish peace for your family and especially for your Uncle Don.

  204. It’s wonderful to read of such a long life, well-lived, and ended in loving arms. But heartbreaking, too, to think of the one left behind. Sending love and peace to your uncle Don.

  205. I will raise a glass to honor a life well lived and celebrate the joy of love graciously earned. A hug to you as you transition to a world with only memories of someone so beautiful and meaningful to you. And my prayers go out for your Uncle Don, may he find peace and enjoy bountiful love and support from others.

  206. Words seem so inadequate at a time like this but they’re all we have. I am watching both my parents and my in-laws go through this process and it is wrenching. I empathize with you. But it is good that your aunt and uncle had the wisdom and courage to make the move when they did, even though it was hard, because at least she was physically safe and comfortable, or as much so as possible. Hugs to you and your family.

  207. I’m so sorry to hear your sad news. I’m sure it will be hard for your Uncle. My mother died 14 years ago and my father never got over it. He still missed her terribly right up to the day he died, nearly 2 years ago. It probably hurts right now, but you will have so many wonderful memories to treasure.

  208. A neat quote…by an unknown (to me) author once said, “When we lose a person we love, we gain an angel we know”. – I like that. – Many kind thoughts are coming your way.

  209. I’m so sorry about the empty place in your family. I very very much have enjoyed reading about the Boxing Day trips to their home. Their relationship of joy and strength for each other is an example to me. I’ll send up prayers for Don – I cannot imagine having such a sparkler as your Great Aunt (and so beautiful too) for one’s other half and then not having them near.

  210. I’m sorry to hear about your Aunt Helen, my heart and sympathies go out to you and your family. It’s always difficult to lose people, more so when you think they will be with you forever. I’m sorry.

  211. What beautiful pictures. And I think it’s OK doe you to feel very very sad, even if she did live a long and happy life. She leaves a big hole in your life too. I do do the praying thing, so I’ll be praying for your family, especially your Uncle Don.

  212. My heart goes out to your uncle Don. Two years ago my grandfather passed away, he was 92 years old and it was his time, his death was not difficult to accept. What’s heartbreaking is to think of my grandmother who is now alone after having been married for 62 years. It’s very hard. Lots of cards and phone calls to remind her that she’s loved by lots helps a bit, but it still breaks my heart every time she talks about missing him. She taught me to knit! She’s the best!

  213. My deepest condolences to you and your family. May you hold her in your heart forever.

  214. I’m so sorry to hear about your Aunt Helen.
    I’m getting married in two weeks, and I hope to have a life with my future husband like the life your Great Aunt Helen and Great Uncle Don had.

  215. I wish I had words to ease the great sadness you and your whole family must feel, and keep you in my thoughts.

  216. I’m so sorry to read about the passing of your aunt. But what a lovely tribute and I can’t wait to read the essay.

  217. God bless and thank you for such a wonderful tribute. How lucky you were to have such a rare “gem” like that in your life. Your memories of her will teach you things and help you grow for the rest of your life. I know–my grandmother has been doing that for me since she left me three years ago. What a wonderful tribute!

  218. When I married my husband this year at the ripe old age of 38 (he is 44), it seemed to me like we could not possibly have enough time together–that we would have 40 years only if we are very lucky. Your aunt and uncle had 57, and while I know it was still not enough time, I think they were still very lucky indeed. My sincere condolences to your family and to your uncle especially.

  219. I’m so sorry for your loss. You always wrote of the wonderful Boxing Days you had with your Aunt and Uncle. She will be greatly missed.

  220. Stephanie,
    Your words and pictures brought tears to my eyes. I lost my grandparents in very much the same way with the retirement home and then my grandmother just seemingly giving up and having to be moved to an actual nursing home, away from her husband of 72 years! It was heartbreaking, yet she lived a good, strong and true life and I miss them and think of them both every single day, so often with laughter. My condolences to you and your family, celebrate the life that she had, I am sure that is how it is supposed to be.

  221. Words of comfort are eluding me, but not the tears. Our hearts can be grateful for the time we share with someone, but the sadness in growing old and death are real, too. Thank you for sharing the love you shared with your Aunt.

  222. Aunt Helen knows – she has read every word of that essay & is very, very proud of you. Sincere sympathy

  223. It must be hard for you – best wishes to you, your family and your Uncle – Dec 26th will be tough this year

  224. Oh that’s so sad! I always loved reading about your Aunt Helen. A big hug to you. Yes it was a great long life, but sadness is still ok. I hope you will all be able to reach out to your Uncle Don often in the coming months to help him through–I don’t know how one adjusts to that either. My condolences to you and your whole family.

  225. So sorry to hear that news. No matter how long or well our loved ones live, it hurts to say goodbye. My condolences to you and your family.

  226. I’m so sorry for your loss. I love the picture of the two of them together… love and warmth just radiate from their faces. God bless you all.

  227. You have my prayers at this difficult time, you and your Uncle Don and your whole family. What a lovely essay and pictures.

  228. I’m so very sorry to hear about the passing of your Great Aunt Helen. From what you wrote, it sounds like she had a wonderful, loving life, and you can’t wish for more than that. I can’t imagine being without my DH. It sounds like your Uncle Don will miss her terribly, so I hope he has visits from family often.

  229. It is just heartbreaking, isn’t it? I dread to imagine what it would be like be in your Uncle Don’s situation. Love is so sweet and so tragic at the same time. Thank you for your poetic words in your Aunt’s memory. I’m so sorry for your family’s loss.

  230. Most sincere condolences to you and your family. And oh those photos you posted. Pure love, pure joy….in the midst of the sorrow of your loss, there is the pure delight of these lives and somehow this is now given to us all. In the midst of your sorrow is this most splendid affirmation of life. Somehow we all carry some of your sorrow and share some of the joy of their lives. Don’t know how this happens but I sure feel it.

  231. Steph,
    How very blessed your are to have had her for all of your life. It is always so hard to lose those we love. We will be thinking of you and uncle Don and praying for you and yours.

  232. I’m so sorry for your loss. She was a beautiful gal…what a lovely smile!
    Mourn her with no regrets. Then, go have a beer (or whatever favorite toddy befits her) and drink a toast in her honor.
    I will pray for your family.

  233. I’m so, so sorry. She was beautiful, and clearly, not all of her beauty was physical, because she gave you and your family so much. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  234. No matter how long they live, it’s always a life too short when a loved one dies. I wish healing and comfort for both you and Don.

  235. So sorry to hear that your aunt is gone. It sounds as though it was peaceful at least. I hope your Uncle Don and the rest of your family can find their way without her.
    Knit on!
    Be well.

  236. Sounds like she was a beautiful lady. I hope your Uncle Don can find a way to go on without her until it’s time for them to meet again.
    She’ll probably be reading your words from heaven.

  237. God blessed you and your family with her for 94 years.. it’s time to return the favor. I’m sure God is getting as much enjoyment from her as you did. God bless your family during this difficult time.

  238. how blessed you were to know them both, have them in your life and live with their influence upon you and your family. how wonderful to have role models. they have left their legacy in you and your love for them. all i can advise is to continue to cherish don and remember helen. god bless.

  239. Dear Stephanie, I’m so sorry to read about the passing of your lovely Aunt Helen. What a beautiful tribute you wrote. I look forward to reading the essay about her when the book reaches the UK. My love and sympathy to Uncle Don, you and and all the family.

  240. I am sorry to read about your Great Aunt Helen.
    I remember when you told us of the Boxing Day family get together at your Great Aunt Helen’s and Great Uncle Don’s home. It reminded me of the one our family had at my Grannie’s place.
    Hugs to Uncle Don, you and your family.

  241. Stephanie, my sympathies, and thank you for sharing Helen with us. She was truly beautiful. I want to look like that when I am 94!

  242. My heartfelt sympathies go out to you and your family. It’s very hard to lose someone who was such an integral part of your lives. I’ll keep you all in my prayers.

  243. Condolences for the loss of your Aunt. As for your question on how to go on after almost 60 years together, it can be done. My mamaw and papaw were married for 59 years, 11 months and 28 days before she passed of ovarian cancer. My papaw has had to learn how to go grocery shopping, use a debit card, pay the bills, balance the checkbook and other household duties since she passed. He has done it, but it has been difficult some days. But he has done it!

  244. I’m so sorry for your loss. It sounds like you have some wonderful memories that will keep your precious great aunt alive in your hearts and minds.

  245. So sorry at your loss — thoughts and prayers with you, your family, and Uncle Don. If you’re one who believes in a continuation of life after this one, I wonder what kind of yarn they have in heaven???

  246. Stephanie, I am so sorry. I have recently lost an aunt, as well, and the hole is large. It is hard to measure the impact one person’s life has on another’s, but a loss is always sadly felt.

  247. By virtue of your affection and respect for Great Aunt Helen, we all share in your loss and sadness. Prayers of strength and comfort for Uncle Don and all who surround him. It is the memory of her that you hold now, precious as it always will be.

  248. I’m sorry that your family and your Uncle Don will be missing her. Thank you for sharing such warm remembrances of her with us.

  249. My sincerest sympathies to you and your family. Know that you are in our thoughts and our prayers.

  250. I’m sorry. (((Steph)))
    (This is a virtual pebble, used to let someone know that you visited, read the post, and are thinking of the poster, even if you don’t have something specific to say. I’m envisioning this pebble as a smooth, river-worn agate, with some lovely orange streaks.)

  251. It’s strange – I’ve never met Helen, but I, too, thought she would live forever. There are worse ways to go, much worse, but I don’t have any idea how you go on after 60 years, either.
    Thinking of you and the McPhee clan.

  252. I am so sorry for your loss. She will be forever in your heart. Silver threads and golden needles are now hers.

  253. My condolences to your family. I hope your family finds peace in all the lovely memories you have of Great Aunt Helen. And big hugs to Great Uncle Don.

  254. I don’t know how one would go on, either, but people do: in surprising ways.
    I hope that I give out as much kindness (or knit and much) so that I have the chance of such a nice tribute from one of my line as you did for her. Strength and comfort to you.

  255. If your essay in the new book is any where as splendid a tribute as this post, your Aunt will be part of thousands of lives. Wrap yourself in your memories. Probably you’ll hear her whenever you need her. Thank you for sharing her and your feelings with us all. Many condolences to you and your family.

  256. I’m so sorry. My grandparents are similar. They’ve been married for more than 60 years and had to leave the home they had shared for most of that time to move into an assisted living facility. I personally think they will pass within a couple of months of each other because they are basically one entity and sometimes the only thing or person they still recognize. They’re just hardwired to be together.
    I’d like to hear about Helen’s knitting.

  257. What a wonderful blessing she must have been to you over the years. I hope you can take some comfort in having known her all this time. You said it yourself – it was a good life, a happy life. God bless Uncle Don.

  258. I also would like to hear about Helen’s knitting, but I’d also love to see a picture of her when she was young. I think it’s a special tribute to the elderly to remember them in their prime, as well as in their old age.

  259. What a lovely tribute. A life well lived. A family well loved. Is there anything better to leave behind you? I don’t think so. You and yours are all in my thoughts and prayers.

  260. I’m so sorry to hear about your Aunt Helen. Your tribute to her here is really lovely, simple, and seems fitting. My thoughts are with your family, and especially with Uncle Don. Be well.

  261. My sincerest condolences for you and your loved ones. While your Uncle Don may no longer have your aunt here physically, she’ll be with him (and all of her loved ones) in spirit, love and memories forever.

  262. a knitter has cast off………..how perfect. my condolences to your Uncle Don, you, and everyone who loved her.

  263. I’ve only been married 24 years and I don’t want to be without my husband. What must your uncle be feeling?

  264. I have read for several years now of your wonderful boxing day visits. The love and caring between Helen and Don and your family and them shines out through your words. How marvelous that they were with you for so long. Certainly now you have great memories that will always be with you even though Helen has gone back to Source.

  265. Stephanie-
    I’m so sorry to hear of your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you, your family, and especially Uncle Don. Thank you so much for sharing them with us. I was just laughing with the kids about the perpetual dog, Cricket. My grandparents had “a” dog named Chichi who seemed to live forever, changing genders and markings now and then. They could never break it to the grandkids when a Chichi would die, so would just rush off to the pound for a suitably marked replacement. It took years for all of us to catch on.
    Blessings to you and your marvelous tribe.

  266. I also just don’t know how you do it and am so, so sorry to hear that Don is going to be figuring out how. How wonderful for Helen to have peacefully died in the arms of the man she loved most of her life. I will be thinking strength and caring thoughts for you, your family, Helen and especially Don. Take care…

  267. I have grown to love your Aunt Helen and Uncle Don through your Boxing Day posts every year. I am so sorry for your loss and hope that Uncle Don will find a way to cope.

  268. Strange how a dear one’s slipping their earthly coil leaves us feeling bereft, isn’t it? After all, what and who Aunt Helen was hasn’t left you – that lives in your heart and your memories, and will be there as long as you are.
    But when there’s no one to hug, no new memories to be made, it’s hard to realize they’re gone. My best friend died 17 years ago of a virulent bone cancer, and I still find myself talking to her, laughing with her, and sharing my life with her. I hope you, your family, and Don will all continue to keep her a part of your lives.
    And still talking to the ones already gone? That’s not woo-woo crazy is it? Works for me, though.

  269. I, too, am so sorry for your loss. I think it makes it easier that she lived a long life filled with love, but you still miss her. Deepest sympathy.

  270. I’m so sorry for your loss. What a beautiful couple. I’ve wondered how it will be with my own parents (who have been married a mere 39 years at this point) – how one will go on without the other, and I just can’t imagine. My heart goes out to your Uncle Don, and to you and the rest of your family.

  271. We got to share Aunt Helen a teeny bit every boxing day with you and Uncle Don, and your family. And I know I feel a bit richer for it.
    Godspeed sweet Aunt Helen.
    love and hugs to you and your family- especially Uncle Don.

  272. it’s good folks like Aunt Helen who give meaning to all the knots and loops we knitters create everyday in weaving our lives together. i remember her from Boxing Day posts and look forward to reading the essay about her in your new book. it’s the little ways that we remember people that mean the most – to us, and i’m sure, to them. my condolences to Helen’s whole family.

  273. I’m sorry to hear about your aunt, whom we’ve gotten to know through your stories and pictures. I lost my own dear aunt several years ago, so I know what you will be going through. My sympathy goes out to your uncle Don as well. It will be a hard adjustment for him. I recall you showing some pictures of their little dog, Cricket. Did he find another home? (I can’t help wondering–I’m a dog person.)

  274. 60 years…wow. 94…that’s great. It’s hard not to be a little bit sad as I’m sure you will miss her and Boxing Day will be different.
    I bought a sympathy card the other day, just because I liked the sentiment on the front:
    “Perhaps they are not stars, but
    rather openings in Heaven where
    the love of our lost ones pours
    through and shines down upon us
    to let us know they are happy.”

  275. I add my love and hugs and prayers to those of all the others. For you and all your family and for your Uncle Don. That beautiful, laughing picture of your aunt and uncle is one I’ll remember for a long time. May you be blessed with loving memories and mitten patterns.

  276. Steph, I am so sorry for you loss. My heart goes out to Uncle Don. I am feeling your sorrow here in the states b/c it so brings back the memories of my gr’mother who sounded alot like your Aunt Helen. She will be missed but what a legacy she leaves behind. Somethings that everyone will share and laugh about. HUGS to Uncle Don and many HUGS to you. Aunt Helen had to know she was loved. Just look at her lovely face with that smile. Great many years they had together. Love ya and my prayers to you and your family.

  277. oh stephanie, please accept my most heartfelt sympathies for your family’s loss . . . they will be together again soon enough; she is waiting for him there, and maybe that is how we go on.

  278. My sympathys to you and your family. It is always sad to lose a loved one-and especially difficult when they have meant so much to you since childhood.
    But, what a “nice” way to go-If I can live til that ripe old age and pass away in my sleep with my husband of 60 years holding me I will go with a smile on my face. With all the harsh ways the world has given the human race to die she picked a good one!
    I hope your sweet memories of her will sustain you while going through this difficut time and that your Uncle Don remembers her and their life together every day with a smile.
    He may find he is a real hit now in the home he lives in–my grandpa (who could fix anything) was surrounded by the women in his home every day!! It was “Oh, Dale , could you come to my room and hang a picture for me” or “Dale, would you push me to the dining room” etc. He missed my grandmother(they too had 60 years without a night apart) but he had a smile on most of the time because of all the attention he received from the ladies!!

  279. I am so sorry for you loss. What a blessing to have had such wonderful people in your life, even if it isn’t ever long enough. I remember a past post you had about them. They seemed so full of life and happiness in the pictures, you could feel it. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  280. My sympathies to you and your family.
    “She had a lot of sanity.” What a lovely and amazing tribute. Your aunt has surely left a ‘stash’ of wonderful memories.

  281. My heart goes out to you and your family. Knowing she had a wonderful life helps a little. Take care of yourself.

  282. What a blessing to have had her in your life for so long. I’m so sorry for your loss. Keeping you & your family, especially Uncle Don, in prayer.

  283. I am very sorry for your loss Stephanie. I wonder too, how long a companion can hang on after loss. My cousin & my father both passed away within 5 months of each other. My cousin in September 2007 (84), and my father in January 2008 (87). They left their respective spouses whose health has been failing ever since. My cousin’s wife has declined consistently and my mom, well, she has held her own although she now has the grocery store list of meds to take due to the medical problems that arose from the stress of worry over my dad before & after. Both women were married to their men for 60+ years. Nothing can ever replace the loss of spouse/companion, but knowing ones family cares is important & helps. Take care.

  284. My condolences. To have such a wise and steady fixture in your life – an amazing gift, and you recognized it as such. May your memories keep her close in your heart for all the years to come.

  285. It is ok to be sad..part of the grieving process…just be there for your Uncle. Just keep thinking of the blessings you all shared..my heart is with you & your family.

  286. I am so sorry, Stephanie. I have always loved your stories about your Aunt Helen and Uncle Don.
    It’s such a bittersweet thing when two such devoted people are separated–wonderful because they had 57 loving years, and heartbreaking to see the one left behind. Sending you, the rest of the McPhees, and especially Uncle Don loving thoughts and a virtual hug.

  287. I’m sorry to hear of you Aunt Helen’s passing. I’ve enjoyed every blog entry where you’ve written about your Aunt Helen and Uncle Don. I too thought they were immortal. (And where can smiles that they both possessed ever die?) Please accept my condolences.

  288. My sympathies. In October my paternal grandparents will be celebrating 67 years together. The entire family has been thinking the same thing you voiced…

  289. May you find comfort in all the wonderful memories that you have of your Aunt Helen. It’s hard now, but it will get easier, and she wouldn’t want you to fuss I’ll bet. My thoughts are with you.

  290. My dear friend – I’m sending warm and loving thoughts to you, and to your family – and especially to your great-uncle; it may be, you know, that he will follow his bride before so much time passes. Stephanie, you’ve created a spot of love for you in my heart (and as you surely know, in hundreds and hundreds of hearts worldwide). When it’s my time, I’m going to look up your Great-Aunt Helen and share a cup of tea and a chinwag. Loving prayers borne aloft on fragrant smoke are ascending, as we speak.

  291. What a lovely tribute to your aunt. She sounds like someone I’d have loved to know. Condolences to you and, most of all, to Don.

  292. I love your thoughts for Uncle Don. My husbands father is dying of lung cancer right now, and while he is not happy about it, it is a lot harder on his wife in some ways. Peace to all, and, as we all get older (as one who is treading that path) may we be comfortable with our journey!

  293. I am very sorry you are having to go through this. Three years ago I lost my father to cancer and the day he died my mother had a massive nervous breakdown. I brought her home with me and took care of her for the next 3 years. She died this past April. It is hard to watch someone die of a broken heart. My life will never be the same.

  294. So sorry to hear of your loss… Please let your Uncle Don know that there a bunch of knitters on the internet whom are all thinking of him – because we’ve loved your stories about Aunt and Uncle… (well I would anyway – but I feel like we know them a bit if we’ve been long time readers of your blog, because your posts about them have always made them seem like our family too!)

  295. I am very sorry for you and your family, it must be hard to see someone you love leave this earth.
    My thoughts are with you.

  296. oh my…………… many cyber hugs going out to you, your family and for dear Don… I don’t know how he could do it either.
    such an enormous loss…
    I am so sorry.

  297. I am so sorry for your and your family’s loss. There are a thousand arms right here that are around you now.

  298. So sorry for your family’s loss. Many thoughts and prayers are with you and your family at this time.

  299. I’m so sorry for your loss, your family’s loss and for Uncle Don. I’m glad you’re celebrating her and that you’re willing to share that with us.

  300. Stephanie, Don, and all the other members of your family –
    May God bless all of you while you learn the impossible: how to live without someone you love. They never die as long as they live in your hearts.
    That’s how my father kept his mother alive for me, although she had died when he was 16. And then – he died when I was 16. That was in 1964 and a day doesn’t pass when I don’t miss him terribly. He was 59 and I’m older than that now. He never got to see my daughter, his only grandchild, who was named for his mother and himself. He would have adored her.
    Only the sure and certain knowledge I’ll see him again (and all the others whom I loved and who have gone on before I was ready for them to leave) keeps my heart from breaking. We will meet again, and there will be great joy.
    May God bless you. May He hold you all in the palm of His hand and give you peace.

  301. So sorry! Ironically, my grandmother, also a great knitter, would have been 104 today – she died at 99 1/2. We thought she would live forever too, and think she failed quickly at the end because she’d fallen out of bed and broken her neck, requiring her to wear a collar that prevented knitting. Without her knitting she was lost. My mom still grieves. I try to just remember all the fun we had together.

  302. Stephanie, I am so sorry for your loss. What a treasure your Great Aunt Helen must have been to your family. I know she will be deeply missed. I’ve always enjoyed reading about your Great Aunt and Uncle and your boxing day tradition. I know there is really nothing that anyone can say to ease the pain of losing a loved one, or the worry for those left behind. But I hope you can take some comfort in knowing that tonight, you and your family are being held close in all of our thoughts and lifted up in our prayers.

  303. My condolences for your Great Aunt Helen. Your love for her is obvious. She sounds like a marvelous person to have had in your life.

  304. Those we love never completely leave us as they live on in our hearts. My heart goes out to you and yours…keeping you in my prayers.

  305. I am so glad that you had such a wonderful auntie, and I am also so sorry for the loss to your family. Our hearts are with you and yours.

  306. i think it’s worse on the opposite end. those of us without family or mate. that is very very hard to do every day in one’s 20s 30s and definitely 40s. and many of us do it very badly.

  307. Cling to God, and HE will help you through this difficult time. Draw close to HIM, and HE will mend your broken heart and strengthen your soul. Be certain that your Great Aunt is with the Father now (Ecclesiastes 12:6,7) and is young and happy, indeed.
    I am sorry for your loss. I lost my mother four years ago, and God helped me cope through the storm. Seek Him! And you will see that He will never leave thee nor forsake thee.

  308. I’m so sorry for your loss. In the picture your posted they both look like wonderful people who have lived life with joy. We need more like them.

  309. My condoleances. My own Gran is 98, going on 99. She has been bedridden for a few years and lately her mind wandered in a place of her own. She smiles at us, talks very little, but we know she is slipping away a little more every day. Your Gran must have been a great lady, and she was lucky to have Uncle Don with her for almost 60 years. Mine was widowed after only 4, never remarried, and brought up my Mom all by herself. I think they would like each other if they ever meet …

  310. Sending heartfelt condolences and soothing hug-energies your way. Your Great Aunt Helen sounds like a wonderful and cherished Auntie. Bet she cherished all of you just as much. Hugs to your Great Uncle Don especially.

  311. Stephanie, you and your family are in my thoughts. I’m a strong believer in heaven or the afterlife or whatever one chooses to call it surrounding us every day. So, if you do as well, remember that you are not without her. She is within you.

  312. My sympathies to you and your family in this big loss. It is always evident how much she means to you…and my heart goes out to Don as well. Hugs and comfort to all of you.

  313. No matter how well lived the life, we always want more time with them, don’t we?
    I’m so sorry for your loss. My deepest sympathies to you and your family.

  314. My condolences to you and your family, especially your Uncle Don. Thanks for sharing your story with us.

  315. I’m very sorry for your loss. My thoughts and best wishes are with you and your family. I hope that your Uncle Don is able to make peace with her leave-taking, and that he can find comfort from the loneliness.

  316. Your new book just arrived and I found your essay about Aunt Helen in the back. A more fitting tribute would not be possible. Wonderful……..

  317. I’m so sorry for the loss of your aunt. What a blessing though that they had that many good years together. May your uncle be comforted by friends and family around him to ease the loss. It’s not easy to loose a mate after so many years but it’s all in God’s perfect timing. May this be a reminder to you that we are never guaranteed the next day so use each day to tell your family how much they are loved.

  318. So much love. *hugs* My thoughts and prayers are with you and your Uncle Don.
    No matter what, when those we love leave us, it is sad. It’s not so much sad for them, but sad for us because we will miss them. It’s okay to be sad.

  319. This makes me very sad. Thank you for sharing your stories about Helen and Don. My condolences to you, Don, and the rest of your family.

  320. Thank you for sharing this with us, Stephanie. I’m so sorry for your loss. But I’m glad that you had so much time with your Great Aunt Helen, and I’m glad she’ll live on through your writing and your memories.
    My grandmother died nearly two years ago, leaving behind her husband of 68 years. We can’t begin to imagine how much he must miss her. He’s declining, but very slowly and only physically ‚ÄĒ mentally, he’s as razor-sharp as he ever was. It’s as if he’s trying to stick around for as long as possible so he’ll have plenty to tell his beloved Ellie when they meet again. She loved his stories, and he loved telling them.
    My heart goes out to you and your family, Stephanie, and to everyone here who has lost someone like Great Aunt Helen or my grandmother.

  321. May she rest in peace. I am sure her life span was just over and it was time for her to go now, to a better place. I wouldnt be surprised if Don goes soon, too, I have seen it quite a few times. Go to be together, forever.
    I am happy you didnt have to endure the hard things that can come when people get old – the Alzheimers, for example, or the helpless crying when both body and mind gives in for an old person – while they are still aware of it.

  322. I am sorry to hear about Helen’s passing, I have so enjoyed ‘meeting’ her through your boxing day stories. Loving Family applied liberally to an aching heart can be the best balm at sad times like this. thank you for sharing your family with all of us in this blog.

  323. Steph, I am sorry for your loss. I loved reading about your Aunt Helen and Uncle Don in your boxing day posts.

  324. Warmth and hugs to you and your family.
    She will live forever, in all of your hearts.

  325. I’m sorry to hear about your Great Aunt Helen. My sympathies to your family, and especially to your Uncle Don.:-(
    When elderly people are cool, they’re cool to, oh, the 100th degree!

  326. But you had her, for your whole life – and she and your uncle have formed part of the fabric of your existence, and your children’s lives too, so that you will always talk about her, and remember her, and pass on the stories. Isn’t that what someone said about immortality? – along the lines of it’s being “remembrance in the hearts of men”.

  327. I’m so very sorry. I know exactly what you mean about Helen and Don not playing by the same rules as the rest of us. I always thought the same thing about my grandmother and Great Aunt. They were amazingly tough women that in spite hardship and pain, were happy and always a source of inspiration to me. My grandmother and grandfather had been married 56 years when he died. I had been living with my grandparents for a month when it happened. She was devastated and it was so sad to watch. She and I happened to be together at a time when we both were sad and needed each other. We had a great time together and I loved her very much. She wasn’t just my grandma, she was my dear friend too. She died of a heart attack about 8 years later. She was always bigger than life and, like you, I realized that I thought she’d live forever. She did exactly what she wanted to do right up until the moment she died, whether it was conventional or not LOL! My great Aunt Minnie was much the same way. She was 96 when she died and had outlived her husband and her only son. She was a knitter, who knit the most wonderful mittens for making snowballs that you’ve ever seen. Those suckers were knit so tightly that you could stand the mittens upright, on the cuff, and they would stay upright like they were a sculpture LOL! All my friends were very jealous of my mittens, in spite of the fact that they were yellow and orange. She was an awesome lady and knitter, but she was slightly color challenged in the knitting department! They were so tightly knit that snow didn’t stick to them like everyone else’s wool mittens so in a snowball fight they were woolen gold! When she died, my first thought was good for her! She’s finally with Uncle Mike and Bill. My next thought was that even though I was happy for her, I would miss her terribly. I’ve had too many friends and family die. Some I knew were coming due to illness, and many that were totally unexpected. It never gets any easier. I get through it by crying when I need to, but by spending more of my time remembering all the great times and all the funny stories. The stories always make me feel better and keep me connected to them. It sounds like you have a wealth of great stories to sustain you during this hard time. Thank you for sharing your Aunt Helen and Uncle Don with us. When you wrote about Boxing Day with them, it reminded me of going to my grandparents house for all the holidays. It brought back all the great stories. You’re all in my prayers, especially your Uncle Don.

  328. Stephanie, so sorry for your loss. Older people somehow seem to cope by accepting the unacceptable. Do feel sad as often as needs be. There is a wonderfull song, sung by Scottish John Wright (deceased this year) called “It takes time to learn to say goodbey”. That is soo true. Wishing Uncle Don, you and the family the strength to learn to let go and say goodbey.

  329. Condolences to you and your whole family. I don’t know how one would go on either. I think I’m kind of hoping when the time comes I’ll get to take your Aunt Helen’s route and check out first.

  330. Stephanie-I am sorry for your loss, but especailly for your Uncle Don. My father died 3 years ago and left my mother a widow after 63 years of marriage. The only reason I can say that it is good that my mother has dementia is that she still thinks he’s alive and just down the hall at the nursing home. Sad for us, but good for her, I think.
    I know what you mean about thinking your Aunt Helen might live forever. My father was the same way. When they called from the hospital to say he had died (he had emphysema for 35 years, lung cancer and asbestosis and was 88) I was shocked that he had died. I think a small part of me thought he would be there forever.
    I’ll look forward to reading your essay on Aunt Helen in your new book, which I hear is on it’s way to my house right now. Boxing Day will always bring warm and loving thoughts of Aunt Helen and Uncle Don. You were blessed to have had them in your life for as long as you did.

  331. I am so sorry to read this. I lost my father this year and know how the little girl inside feels. Though my father was very ill and still quite young I thought he too would live forever. Five months later and my heart still aches for my mother at the thought of her being with out her sweetheart of 45 years. You and your family will be in my thoughts as I knit my way across the state of NC to day.

  332. May your tears ease you, your memories comfort you, and the love of friends and family support you in your time of grief.

  333. (((hugs))) My heart goes out to you. Even though she’s gone to the big knitting needles in the sky, she’ll always live on in your heart.

  334. Stephanie, it’s so sad when we lose someone that’s been there forever. And we do have to grasp at the things that make us feel better about it like the facts that her life was long, happy and successful. I know exactly what you mean about Don as my father in law died a few years back at age 72 and my mother in law still struggles every day without him. She’s married him at age 17 and had six children with him. My thoughts are with your Uncle Don and your family.

  335. How sad to see her go, even if after a long happy life with her family and husband. My thoughts are with you.

  336. And yet, how very fortunate he was to have the almost 60 years. My husband and I got married with him in his early 50’s, me close to 50 (just a couple of years ago). We are so in love with each other, and enjoying this surprise at this point in our lives. But, it is unavoidable to realize that no matter how hard we try and no matter what good care we take of ourselves — we won’t have a chance at a 50 or 60 year marriage.
    Saying goodbye hurts and cuts deeply no matter how much time people have had together. But wow, 60 years together with someone you love. What an amazing gift to be grateful for no matter when you have to say goodbye.
    I’m sorry for your loss, and for your Uncle Don’s. I know nothing can soothe the pain.
    Warmest wishes,

  337. Thinking of you all, and sending love your way, I hope that there is peace in the huge number of messages that knitters have sent your way today, so much sympathy and empathy can only help to heal a heart that’s broken.
    Take comfort in each other xxxx

  338. I’m sorry for your families loss, but thinking with joy about the long life your Aunt had, and hsared with your Uncle, and the rest of the clan. I look forward to reading the essay about her when the book arrives and learning a bit more about her.
    Sending warm thoughts your way and prayers of comfort for your family.

  339. Oh Stephanie I’m so sorry. I know when someone dies who has had a wonderful, full happy life, we try to be rational about it, and tell ourselves that we shouldn’t be sad, but the reality is they are GONE and we are HERE and we will MISS them. She was very loved, and will be missed terribly, and I will keep your family and of course Uncle Don in my heart this week.

  340. Dear Stephanie, prayers to you and your family, especially your Uncle Don. It was really hard after 21, hard to even contemplate after 60. Sounds like they lead a rich and happy life. Blessings for that. Dee fm KS

  341. Stephanie
    I’m so sorry for the loss of your Aunt Helen. It sounds as if her passing went in the best of all possible ways….peaceful and in the arms of her beloved husband. God bless her. And you and Don as well.

  342. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during this time of loss. I have a feeling your Aunt Helen will be reading your book in Heaven and having a chuckle or two.

  343. so sorry for your families loss… thank you for sharing Helen and Don and your love for each other and their love for each other..with us.. the voyeurs of your lives…
    Will be praying for you all… Don especially. Much love

  344. Stephanie: I am so sorry for the loss of your Aunt Helen. How blessed you were to have someone like her in your life.
    You wonder how Don will go on. I think that Don will be able to go on precisely because he had that love for so long. My mother lost my father last Nov after almost 62 years of marriage. Their marriage made her strong and letting him go when he was ready made her strong too.
    I think you may find that Don handles this loss much better than the rest of the family.
    I know you will be thinking of Helen and all your memories of her. Share stories with your children–it will help you all.

  345. May sorrow only last for a time and then may memories of her joy of life, her giving spirit and her wide, embracing arms be what remains.

  346. May you be comforted in your time of sorrow. Condolences to you and your whole family, and especially to Don.

  347. I am so sorry for your loss; please know that my thoughts and prayers are with you, your family and particularly Uncle Don.

  348. So sorry to hear she went too soon, she sounds like a great person.
    My dad went in his sleep earlier this year, age 72, in bed next to my mom. Peaceful transition, graceful transition. Not easy on those of us left behind, so honor her with good memories.

  349. My grandparents were together for 60 years when my grandpa died. We all figured my grandma would go shortly thereafter – but instead she took a vacation to Florida and a creative writing class. I’m constantly amazed by people’s strength, and I wish you as much as possible in the coming weeks. I’m glad to hear she passed in the arms of the man she loved. It’s how I’d like to go. Much love to you and yours.


  351. I’m so sorry for your loss. It reminds me of my own grandparents, who were married 60 plus years. After my grandfather died we had to move my grandmother out of her home of more than 50 years. It was heart-wrenching for all of us and despite the fact that she went to live with a daughter, I know it broke her heart to loose her spouse and home in such a short time. May all your happy memories of your Aunt Helen help to ease your pain.

  352. I’m so very sorry to hear about your Great Aunt Helen and am sending my condolences to your entire family. I so love the stories you’ve shared about them in the past and through that, Helen can live on in our hearts and minds. My heart goes out to her husband.

  353. I’m so very sorry for your loss; I remember well your previous posts about Boxing Day at your aunt and uncle’s house.

  354. What lovely people. Your aunt will certainly be missed by those who knew her – it sounds like she has a beautiful soul. Thanks for sharing your love for her with us.

  355. What a beautiful tribute. Thank you for sharing a bit of her story with us. She will be missed. Be gentle with yourself.

  356. so sorry for you loss. My grandpa was 97 and just got tired, he did the same thing, stopped eating and soon after he died.
    I must say there is dignity in going that way, and it does not appear to be painful. I have seen too many older people die in pain.

  357. You’re allowed to be sad. It’s hard to have someone in your life for that long and not miss them when they’re gone. (hug)

  358. You wrote a beautiful tribute. It’s lovely that you have such good memmories to keep with you. All the best to your family and especially Don.

  359. Steph,
    I’m so sorry. Do check in or call Uncle Don frequently over the next few months as they will be very rough. My dad died in January this year. He and Mom would have been married 63 years in April. It has been a very difficult transition for her. My sister and I try to talk to her daily to keep an eye on things — sometimes the grief is overwhelming because folks like Helen and Don and my folks never knew adult life without each other.
    May her soul rest in eternal peace and may you and your family find comfort in the wonderful memories you have of her time with you here.

  360. What a lovely tribute. I’m sure that somewhere, somehow, she’ll know about the essay and smile. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  361. I am so, so sorry. I hope all the blessings of love remembered and love continuing will get you and your family through

  362. my condolences – even when you know someone has had a long and beautiful life, it’s hard to let them go. what amazing gifts she’s left you and your family.

  363. My very deepest sympathies for your loss. I look forward to reading your essay about Aunt Helen. I’m sure it will be as loving and moving as your heartfelt remembrance here.

  364. i’m so sorry to hear that your aunt helen passed, and i hope that you keep us in the loop with your uncle don’s condition. i’m worrying about him. i’ll really look forward to reading your essay about her.. it has new depth and meaning.

  365. I am so sorry for your loss and for your Uncle Don. I know it was very hard for my mother after my father passed.
    But, perhaps you can think of it this way, our loss here on earth is heaven’s gain, perhaps she is knitting lacey angel’s wings.

  366. Your story brought tears to my eyes. My grandma will be 95 in February and I couldn’t help but to think of her. I offer my deepest sympathies for your loss. I will think of this post when I read your tribute to her.

  367. Dear Stephanie:
    I am so sorry for your loss; sorrier still for your Uncle Don’s loss. I hope that he finds comfort in the love and care of family and friends, and feels your Aunt Helen’s presence and love around him.

  368. Our thoughts are with you and yours during this very sad time.
    May we all live long, healthy and happy lives full of love and quietly go when it’s time.

  369. My deepest sympathy to you and your family on your loss. May your memories be a comfort to you until you meet again.

  370. There’s always that one special connection we make with people in our lives that makes us believe that they’ll really live forever… or at least so we hope. However, realizing that we’re all just human does nothing to lessen the heartache when they pass on.
    My deepest condolences to you and your family during this difficult time. You’re all in my thoughts and prayers.

  371. I remember you talking about your Great Aunt Helen around Christmas time every year. I am deeply sorry for your loss. My thoughts will be with you, your family, and especially Don.

  372. I’m sorry about your great-aunt.
    I used to volunteer at the local hospital. One day I was with an elderly woman who was a patient. She had a prayer shawl wrapped around her that her church had given her (members make the shawls [praying while they do? not sure] and give them to congregation members who are in the hospital, etc.). She said that having something to snuggle into was very comforting. Maybe make your great-uncle a shawl? Or a sachet with a knitted cover and potpourri or lavendar or rose inside that he can hold in his hand and have as comfort there?

  373. Your words that bring laughter and love to knitters around the world will comfort you at this time.
    “Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely and in a good-looking and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out and loudly proclaiming: WOW – WHAT A RIDE!” — author unknown

  374. I am sorry for my loss, and all of our hearts go out to you. I will be sure to carefully indulge in every word of your essay about Helen and rejoice in your story of your beloved Aunt and fellow Knitter.

  375. I am so sorry for the loss you and your family are undoubtably feeling. The loss of the earthly relationship you shared with your Great-Aunt is sad. You and your family and extended family are in my thoughts and prayers.

  376. Warm thoughts heading your way.
    Our family is long-lived as well as realistic, but it never ceases to hurt when a loved one exits (our last lost one was 102…hard to argue that’s not a good long run).

  377. My condolences Stephanie. I lost my Gran at 93 over two years ago and like your Aunt, she went really fast and I had figured she would live forever. I still miss her and your post made me remember the great times we had together. I am sure you Aunt will continue to live on forever with you and I can’t wait to read the essay in your new book. My thoughts are with you and your family.

  378. thank you for being willing to be so vulnerable with us. your aunt was a family treasure. such treasures live always in our hearts. I has a good cry last evening then had a good laugh near a candle to light the way.

  379. Dear Stephanie–
    Please accept my condolences to you and your family. I really hope there’s an afterlife, and if there is, I hope that all the people who were “makers” on Earth get to make things there. I hope there’s something important to do that we get to contribute to. I hope your Great Aunt Helen is in a place like that, and I hope that in time your Great Uncle Don gets to be there with her and doing whatever he loves.

  380. My deep sadness for you and for your Great Uncle Don.
    That’s the part about marriage I dread: living on after. Hugs to you both.

  381. My deepest sympathy dear Stephanie.
    My copy of Free Range arrived yesterday and for what I thought was an unknown reason I hadn’t started reading. Now I know why, I want to read the essay about your Great Aunt Helen first.

  382. I’m so sorry to hear about your loss. Your post made me weep again for my gramma, a great knitter and my great buddy in life, who we lost a couple of years ago. I still miss her deeply and I’ll be working through her stash for years.

  383. There’s not much I can add to all the other thoughts posted here. You were lucky to have such a lovely great aunt for so many years.
    My best to all your family, especially Uncle Don.

  384. I am so sorry to hear of your loss. My prayers are with you, your family, and most of all, Uncle Don.

  385. Just think of it this way, The Creator has prepared a place for your auny helen, where there is no more pain, or sadness, just blissful happiness and peace. My Mother sent me a sign she was very happy in Heaven, and I wish the same for your Aunty. Just think, what a great time we will have when we meet up with our loved ones in this happy Heaven, its a lovely place. Your Aunty deserves to be happy, if she led a good life was kind and loving then her reward is great. Requiescat in Pace.

  386. hi stephanie,
    with my eyes filled & a smile for your aunt Hellen….
    my prayers are with Don, you & the family
    peace &blessings

  387. So sorry to hear about the loss of your great-aunt. I’m sure Boxing Day will never be the same. Maybe this year you can devote it to telling funny stories and reminiscing about Helen’s life.

  388. Dear Stephanie,
    I’m so sorry to hear of your sorrow in the sad loss of your Great Aunt Helen. Please hug your Uncle Don for me, and here’s one for you, too. {{{ HUGS! }}} May your dear Helen rest in peace, and may the Angels comfort those who are left to grieve.
    Many prayers…

  389. My deepest condolences to your family and Don. Your Aunt has such a great twinkle in her eye. I’m glad you got to have her for so many years. Blessings and hugs.

  390. ‘S e Dia as t√®armann dhuinn gu beachd,
    ar spionnadh e ‘s ar treis:
    An aimsir carraid agus teinn,
    ar cobhair e ro-dheas.
    Dear Stephanie,
    Blessings on your house and all ones you love. A gentle, fearless, passing, a new star in the night sky. A great oak that has many little acorns. A loving legacy. Knit on!

  391. I am so sorry for your loss. I understand the shock of losing someone you have known all your life (I lost 2 grandparents this summer). I will keep you and your family, and especially your uncle in my prayers.

  392. I just wanted to say that the world needs more Aunt Helens. I hope we can all grow up to be even half as loved. May your family find comfort in each other, my condolences for your loss. I know words are not enough.

  393. How lucky that they had so much time together; and how fortunate for you to have been privy to all that love. May the wonderful memories stay in your heart and comfort you.

  394. Stephanie – I remember the first time I read about your Aunt Helen and Uncle Don in one of your posts about Boxing Day. Something about the way you wrote about their vibrancy stayed with me – if they can touch me, through a computer screen and through words, I can only imagine how they touched you and your family. My healing thoughts for you and your family during this time-and especially for Uncle Don. What wonderful memories they made – I hope they will help heal him in the days ahead.

  395. Stephanie & All Ones Who Love Aunt Helen,
    My heart aches for you, yours and especially Uncle Don. The ache in your heart now is just a small reminder of how much she is loved. That love will never leave and the ache does over time get less noticeable.
    Please let all of us who you have touched in various ways hold you and those you love in our hearts and prayers during this time of love, loss and memories.
    Thank you for letting carry you for awhile.
    Deb in KS

  396. Stephanie & All Ones Who Love Aunt Helen,
    My heart aches for you, yours and especially Uncle Don. The ache in your heart now is just a small reminder of how much she is loved. That love will never leave and the ache does over time get less noticeable.
    Please let all of us who you have touched in various ways hold you and those you love in our hearts and prayers during this time of love, loss and memories.
    Thank you for letting us carry you for awhile.
    Deb in KS

  397. Thank you for sharing with all of us amidst the pain of your loss. Your auntie clearly meant a lot to you. Please let Uncle Don know he is in our thoughts.

  398. Stephanie, please accept my deepest sympathies. I lost my beloved grandmother recently (six months ago this Monday), and it’s been very hard. Knitting a sweater was all that kept me sane. However, I am very glad I had Grandma for just short of twenty-four years.
    I read this in “KnitLit The Third”, and it’s helped a lot. “I realized that life is still for the living and the best memorial to anyone gone is to live your own life as if everything is a blessing and a miracle.” (“Susan”, by Peggy Neuber). That’s easier to say than do, sometimes, but the effort is what matters.
    All our thoughts are with you.

  399. So sorry to hear of Aunt Helen – I remember a Boxing Day blog post from several years back when you talked about the 2 of them at some length. Hugs from Tucson…

  400. So Sorry for your loss Stephanie. You’re in my thoughts. I’m sure, because you wrote so beautifully about her, she’s smiling down on you.

  401. I’m sorry for your loss. May your memories provide comfort for you, for your uncle, and for all those knew and loved her.

  402. Oh Stephanie, this is just heartbreaking. I have tears as I write. Thank you for sharing with us, and many hugs and condolences to you.

  403. I’m sorry, sweetheart. And I don’t know how you’d do it either. I’m not sure I could. Every last warm wish I can conjure up to Don, poor love.

  404. I just want to cry after reading your post!!! Don’t have anything to say that can take the sadness away.
    Just hang in there and embrace all the positive energy coming your way from all of us out here.

  405. What a lovely remembrance of her. I’m very sorry for your loss, and for your uncle Don’s loss. May she live on happily in your memories.

  406. As a newly-wed, I cannot imagine 57 years together, nor can I imagine not having them. My best wishes to you and the rest of the family. Peace and light in this time of grief.

  407. Stephanie, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family at this time. Your Aunt Helen will live on in your memories and, because of your beautiful tribute (and the Boxing Day stories) in ours.

  408. This is not the time to be brave. Go ahead and feel sad. Isn’t it strange that we all forget about dying? Yet death is all around us every day. I’m really sorry for your loss. I know what it means. Hugs, hugs, hugs!

  409. Many of us have been lucky enough to have an “Aunt Helen” in our lives.
    Dying in the arms of your sweetheart is a rare and, I think, wonderful thing. My own heart goes out to you all and most specifically your dear uncle. You will, of course in your kind wonderful way, help him as much as is possible.

  410. Stephanie, Thanks so much for this beautiful post. I am going through a rough and very sad time in my family regarding the eldest generation. Every word of this rung true for me, and it brought tears to my eyes. They look like such beautiful people. Thank you.

  411. I’m so sorry for your loss. You and especially your uncle are in my thoughts and prayers. I don’t know how you carry on after the love of your life has gone.

  412. Your tribute to your great aunt was very touching. I work in a nursing home and have seen many people that don’t adjust well to leaving their homes and can’t bring themselves to fight old age anymore. My thoughts are with you and your family.

  413. My thoughts and prayers join those of so many other people. Your great uncle, your family and, of course, you are in my heart.

  414. Baruch Dayan Emet — Blessed is the Great Judge.
    I’m sorry for your loss. How wonderful she was in the arms of your uncle — both for her and for him. I don’t know which of us will go first, but I’d like to be with my wife when the time comes.
    You should volunteer to host Boxing Day now. You are a big girl and you have to be a really cool Aunt. And in 40 years someone not yet born will write in his/her blog “I’ve got to Auntie Harlot’s house every Boxing Day of my life.”
    Go hug Joe. It will make you feel better.

  415. Ah, Steph I’m so sorry to hear this. My thoughts and condolences to you all and especially to Uncle Don.

  416. My friend Bea and I used to sing this together. She was old too.
    Gonna take a Sentimental Journey,
    Gonna set my heart at ease.
    Gonna make a Sentimental Journey,
    to renew old memories.
    Got my bags, got my reservations,
    Spent each dime I could afford.
    Like a child in wild anticipation,
    I Long to hear that, “All aboard!”
    Seven…that’s the time we leave at seven.
    I’ll be waitin’ up at heaven,
    Countin’ every mile of railroad
    track, that takes me back.
    Never thought my heart could be so yearny.
    Why did I decide to roam?
    Gotta take that Sentimental Journey,
    Sentimental Journey home.
    Sentimental Journey.

  417. Stephanie – my deepest sympathies to you and your family … it was nice that your uncle could be there to say goodnight one last time.

  418. It’s harder to lose those pillars in our lives than we expect. Mark’s grandfather passed away at 99 (10 years ago) & we still discuss on an almost daily basis what he would have said or done about any given situation. She will live on in you, your girls & everyone she touched. Hold your Uncle Don close in your heart & enjoy the extra time you get with him.

  419. Oh, Stephanie. My deepest condolences to you and your family, especially Uncle Don. He will need all of his family by him to help him through this most difficult of adjustments. If each of you love him the best you can, and make yourself available when you can, it’ll help. That’s how we did it when my dad died and Mum didn’t know what to do with herself.
    Your family, and Uncle Don in particular, are in my prayers.

  420. Oh, Stephanie. My deepest condolences to you and your family, especially Uncle Don. He will need all of his family by him to help him through this most difficult of adjustments. If each of you love him the best you can, and make yourself available when you can, it’ll help. That’s how we did it when my dad died and Mum didn’t know what to do with herself.
    Your family, and Uncle Don in particular, are in my prayers.

  421. So many of us who are faithful readers of your blogs and books feel like we are old friends. So, along with a hug, I offer my deepest heartfelt sympathy to you and your family.
    Remember her, share her joy with the world.

  422. She died in the arms of her beloved. I can’t think of a better way to go.
    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  423. Stephanie- thank you for sharing stories of your Aunt & Uncle with us. I celebrate her life and all knitters with every stich I make.

  424. My sympathies to your family, especially to Uncle Don. But I could not imagine a better way to go than to die in the arms of the one you love the most. Love and hugs to all of you.

  425. I’m so sorry to hear she’s gone. Rejoice in your memories of the many years you and your children had with her … truly a great gift.

  426. My deepest sympathies to you, your family and especially Uncle Don. I’m sure your lifetime of memories will always be with you to cheer you up.

  427. Stephanie,
    Thank you for sharing the photos as well as your words. I see a lot of character in Helen’s face. I bet you have a lot of great memories. Sorry for your loss.

  428. I’m so sorry you’re giving up such a sweet lady. What character shines in pictures of her! Can you imagine the amount of change she saw in her lifetime. I’ve been a nurse for 34 years. It’s been my experience that older patients will become tired and know that it is time to give up and move on. And they do just that. Do not be surprised if your Uncle joins her soon. That also happens many times. The surviving spouse will grieve themselfs to death. But be happy that you have such wonderful memories of them. I hope you asked them all the questions you wanted to ask. If not, ask your Uncle now while you have another chance. I shall have a glass of wine tonight and toast a great lady. Know that we will all have comforting thoughts and prayers for you and your family.

  429. My parents are Helen & Donald. My mom left this world last year, living until after their 60th wedding anniversary. She too passed on peacefully. At first my dad wanted to go with her – but he has since decided to stay a while longer – meeting new friends, and starting to enjoy life again. I think the deeper the love, the harder the ache… My deepest sympathy. Your uncle will need the support of his family during this trying time.

  430. I’m so glad you had such a wonderful person in your life. And so glad that family bonds can go on forever. My best hopes are going out to you, your family, and especially your Uncle Don.
    I’ll never forget your Aunt Helen’s words to Don shortly after he retired:
    “I’m not sure this is going to work. I married you for better or for worse; not for lunch.”
    It will always make me smile. :o)

  431. My grandparents are in their 90s, and I often wonder the same thing that you are wondering now; how will one go one without the other?
    It’s hard to think of a sense of loss as a blessing, but it does show a life of love given and received.
    I also had a great-aunt Mary who was 80 when I was born, and like you, I could never conceive of her getting older than she was. She was timeless and patient and knew how to let a child dream.
    Your aunt Helen sounded like one of those people who will never die. She’s too deep into your hearts, with each memory you share, she becomes a part of others’ hearts as well.
    Peace to you and your family, especially your uncle Don.

  432. I am so sorry for your loss.
    I remember reading about your Great Aunt Helen in previous posts — about her joie de vivre and the joy you took in being with her. I was always impressed and admired the depth of bond you had.
    I hope that you can look back on the times together and remember how great she was. I hope those memories get you through the painful moments.

  433. I cared for my mother the last year of her life she didnt get to see my 2 youngest she was 59 years old when she passed.It makes you realize just how short our time on earth is and to treasure every moment.(((Steph)))Darcy

  434. Just want to chime in with all the many responses here.
    I lost my mom this year at age 84. She had been in a nursing home for a while, but it wasn’t until Dad started having problems that she began to quickly decline. We lost her just shy of their 60th wedding anniversary.
    I hope your uncle can be comforted and I know how much you miss her. I hate so much losing these very valued members of our world.

  435. My thought and prayers are with you. I understand so well as my grandparents are now 96, married nearly 80 years. My grandmother is in a nursing home now and says her “husband can take care of her, there is no reason for them to be separated like this”. It is precious to see the love and heartbreaking to see the pain. You are blessed to have had her in your life. The love and memories live forever.

  436. Sorry to hear about Aunt Helen, I’m wondering if this is what she was hearing:
    “It’s a good day to be born, we’re all waiting to meet you. Move along – and safe trip. It’s great out here.”
    May she rest in peace.

  437. I’m several days behind in my blog reading and just read about your Aunt Helen. As soon as I saw her name, I thought – Boxing Day! From your blog I almost feel like I know her and your Uncle Don as well and I cried as I read this entry. You and your family are in my thoughts. But I also wondered, what happened to Cricket, the perpetual dog?

  438. This is the loveliest tribute I have ever read. I’ve been married for 33 years and I can feel how difficult that eventual parting will be for me and I get the impression you’re feeling it too.

  439. I am just now catching up on some posts, as I have been working a lot.
    Today, my grandmother passed away at the age of 90. Though it was “expected”, I am still trying to come to grips with it…the last one of a generation of elders in my family.
    So I guess I am trying to say, I know what you’re talking about. I am sorry about your Aunt Helen.
    Oh and Uncle Don…I do hope he’s OK…but how can he be?

  440. It sounds to me that your Aunt died very much as she had lived. and that is a blessing and a gift. my thoughts are with you and the rest of her family. The twinkle in their eyes speak volumes of their love of life.
    it’s always a shock even when it’s expected. Have a beer in her honor… something tells me she would have liked that.
    and… it’s really OK to cry and grieve your loss… take care of yourselves.

  441. I’m so sorry to hear she’s out exploring the Rim. My condolences to you and yours. (hugs) May the Goddess take her into Her eternal embrace as gently as Helen left this earth.

  442. I’m so sorry. It won’t be easy for your uncle. But it is very possible that it will get easier. My mother died just short of celebrating the 60th wedding anniversary with my dad. He was lost the first year-and-a-half. He’s MUCH better now even though he still misses her.

  443. Hi Steph,
    A friend sent me your blog site knowing that I am a yarnie. Worked in a dry cleaners for many years and might have a solution for blocking your beautiful shawl. In the shop, we used “upsteam” which was then vaccuumed also from underneath.
    If necessity is the mother of invention, I may just have given birth to a solution for many knitters.
    First, beg, borrow, steal or buy a window screen that is larger then either the width or length of your bath tub. Then put the screen over the tub and lay on as much of the knit work as possible.
    Halves, thirds or whatever but even amounts as you will probably need to reposition the work if very large.
    Now, run the hot water until it is HOT. THEN
    put the plug in and add two (or so) inches of HOT water. Leave all until the water and knit piece is cool. Let the water out.
    now repeat the procedure.
    It is essential that the work NOT be disturbed until cool.
    You might wand to practice on a smaller item.
    Good luck and knit wits to you.
    ps please share!

  444. My thoughts are with you. My parents made it to 47 years — we lost Dad at 88. The “going on” part isn’t easy for the one left behind.

  445. Oh, Steph! I’m so sorry to read your news. I have no words of wisdom just wanted to let you know that you’re in my thoughts.
    – Pam

  446. So sorry to hear about your Aunt Helen. I’m sure she lead an extraordinary life. Many, many warm hugs to you and Uncle Don.

  447. Hold on to the happy memories, keep them in your heart.
    She was lucky to have a “great” niece like you to tell her story

  448. Just read this post Oct 2nd. I am so sorry for your family’s loss, and especially for Uncle Don. My father passed away 3 months ago, and my mother is struggling with how to cope with living alone for the first time in 72 years. Oct 3rd would have been their 53rd anniversary. He always said he wanted to die before her, he got his wish, but the strongest, smartest woman I have ever known is having a hard time adjusting to living alone for the first time in her life. Her children are working hard to make sure she knows how much she is loved and needed.
    God bless your Uncle Don, and Cricket the perpetual dog, and your family. Having seen the incredible degree of love in your family, there is no doubt that Uncle Don will feel needed and important for all the years that he remains with you.

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