Tuesday 15 June 2021

Memories of my Great Aunt.

I had quite a few great aunts but one by one, over the years they have passed away. My Aunty Jean was the last of that generation and passed away late on Thursday night. She was unwell for a few weeks. She broke her hip, had surgery, came home from hospital but then started to struggle with her breathing. She had COPD which didn't help but was just too weak to fight off the chest infection. She died peacefully with her daughter and niece holding her hands which brings me some comfort.

My grandmother passed away just before I was born so her sister, my dad's aunt, my great aunt took the role of a grandmother and she has always been in my life.

My great aunt, brother and me.

My Aunty Jean was a massive part of my life. I remember going to her house every Friday night when I was kid. She would always make my parents a cup of tea and then bring her little tables out and fill them with plates of sandwiches and cakes. Tinned salmon sandwiches were her thing. She always kept a cupboard full of toys for my brother and I to play with but I used to really enjoy her trying to teach me how to knit. I was never good at it but she was always so patient.

Until she retired she used to work in a crisp factory and would bring big bags of about 50 packets of crisps, the one's that had faulty packaging. Those crisps would always taste better than the one's my mum would buy even though they were sometimes the same brand and flavour.

My parents both worked full time when I was a child and Aunt Jean would help out when it came to decorating. She was amazing at wallpapering and really enjoyed doing it. She always used to tell the story about how she had decorated and the next week there was pen all over the newly papered wall. I had done it. Oops. I don't remember her telling me off but I am sure she must have had words with me.

She was the one who took me to the hospital when I fell down the stairs when I was little. My grandad rang her because my parents were out working and couldn't be contacted, there was no such thing as mobile phones almost 40 years ago. I can just to say remember her shouting at my grandad for letting me eat cereal. I think she was worried I might have needed surgery, I didn't. She never let my grandad forget that. hehehe

My great aunt with my eldest

When my mother ran off with a man she met on the internet and my dad was obviously devastated and Aunty Jean was first person I phoned and she came to help me help my dad. Since then she always worried about my dad and was so happy when we moved just up the road from him. 

My Aunty Jean was the one who taught me how to bake, my scones have never been as good as hers but I am getting better at them. She was also an expert at making muffins. Whenever she visited it was chocolate one's for me and banana one's for Stu and the girls.

She has always doted on the girls. She didn't have any grandchildren of her own so adored my two. She would spoil them rotten. It was always pj's for Christmas from her and stationery for their birthdays and the return to school. Apart from Stu she was my biggest support when the girls were diagnosed with their heart problems and had their surgeries. She was always there at the end of the phone. She worried so much about the girls but as they have got older she was so proud of the young ladies they have become. 

I remember wanting to tell her that Becky had a girlfriend and Becky wasn't keen. She is an older generation and Becky didn't want to upset her. I took the plunge and told her, she asked if Becky was sure and that was it. She was happy for her. She was the one who first joked about the fact that there would be no surprise babies appearing. lol

My great aunt and my girls

The last time we saw my Great Aunt was just before Christmas 2019. Then Covid happened and we never got to see her again but I am glad. I am happy to remember her how she was and not how was at the end. My dad said she had a good innings and she did. He saw her a few weeks ago and said she looked so frail and old. She's always looked old to me but I knew what he meant, old as in tired. I think the last year of not being able to get out and about because of Covid and hardly seeing anyone wore her down. We used to ring her and send her cards and letters and it makes me sad we couldn't do more, visit and have more time with her.

I could write so much about my Aunty Jean but I think I will leave it here. I couldn't not write anything as she was such an important person in my life. Her daughter said she was an important person in so many lives and she doesn't think my Aunty Jean realised how important she was. She is going to be missed by me and many others.


  1. i am so glad you shared this story. it was beautifully written. my condolences—truly sorry for your loss.

  2. What beautiful memories. She sounds like she was quite a wonderful lady. I am so sorry for your loss.

  3. I'm so very sorry for the loss of your Aunty Jean and the fact that Covid took away time you could have had in that last year. She sounds like she was such a lovely lady and I'm glad that you have such beautiful memories of her. The ones you have shared are so lovely. Thinking of you all and sending the biggest virtual hugs your way xx

  4. Sorry to hear abiuf your Aunty Jean however you have some lovely memories to treasure x #mmbc

  5. She sounds absolutely lovely and even more important as your replacement mother figure. I'm glad she had a long and happy life and got to spend time looking after you and your girls. Thinking of you, sending hugs xx