My Great Aunt Lorna, one of my very favourite relatives, died this morning. She was my grandfather's oldest sister, the oldest of his family of 11 siblings (or 12? I can't remember). She was funny and tough and sweet and tiny and absolutely darling and she was 94. As they say, not a bad innings! At her 90th birthday party, she dropped her tissue while she gave a speech but was able to reach straight down to the ground to pick it up without missing a beat!
What a lady!
Until very recently, she lived alone in the same house for as long as most people can remember, across the road from where my dad grew up. When I was a kid, I would go there to visit her with my nan and she would give us sausage rolls and cordial - standard but valued Great Aunt fare.
Some days she would come out and visit my nan (who lived next door to us) and when my sisters and I got home from school we'd go over and visit her and steal scones and cakes and cups of tea. Lorna would call me over and get me to show her my spindly, adolescent legs,
'Lift up your skirt and show me those pins, Bec! Oh they're gorgeous!' she'd cry.
And the women would laugh at me blushing. But she meant what she'd said. She'd tell me I was beautiful and special and that she was proud of me even when my achievements were minor. Lorna, like her children, was the kind of person who left you feeling better than when you had arrived. I think that's one of the most special talents anyone can have and it's always inspired me.
I love all of my enormous local family, but I particularly adored Lorna.