Women Who Inspire Us

Women Who Inspire Us #7: My aunt

Today’s post is the seventh in the Women Who Inspire Us Series.  You can read the previous posts here.  You may also want to subscribe to my RSS feed, or “like” my Facebook page to catch the upcoming posts.  As always, if you would like to share your inspiration by participating in the series, please contact me.  I would LOVE to hear who inspires you!

I am so happy to share today’s inspirational woman.  My friend Ilana-Davita, who I met through the blogosphere about a year ago, contributed this lovely post.  I have very much enjoyed reading and commenting on her excellent blog, which is thoughtful and interesting, and provides a peek into what her life in France is like.  Maybe someday we’ve actually get to meet IRL, until then, I’ll continue to enjoy our “across the sea” relationship.

Who is a woman you find inspirational?
I have chosen to talk about my aunt.

What is her relationship to you?
She was my mother’s younger sister and was born in 1946. She married in her twenties and had three children who are now in their forties. She studied Biology, stayed at home when her children were born and went back to work as a trainer for jobless people once my cousins were teenagers. Sadly she died of cancer in 2007, 16 months after her husband.

When did you meet her?  Do you think the timing of your meeting affected her impact on you?
Photos show that my aunt visited my family when I was born but I obviously have no memories of this. When I was 5 I stayed at her house for the first time and although I can’t remember much about these few days I know that I enjoyed them. From then on I spent at least a week at my aunt’s every year.

She and her husband did not live very far away, but it was a change from home all the same. When I was about 10 they moved to the country and lived in a renovated farm, which was quite exotic for me. The house was a little cold, there was a cat and in the summer we went berry picking. Besides my uncle sold swimming-pools which means there was a small pool in the garden, something I greatly enjoyed in the summer.

What is inspirational about her (it can be more than one thing, i.e. personality, actions, overcoming hardships)?  Can you share a specific memory (or more than one)?
I appreciated how my aunt always made me feel welcome and unique even though she had children of her own. When I was a teenager, I spent a lot of time discussing a number of topics with her.  She liked to talk about books (her passion), movies, religion and the radio programs she listened too.   She evoked her childhood and told me anecdotes about my mother (her big sister) or the rest of the family that I did not know.

I also admired the simplicity of her life, the moral way she approached everything and the way she treated people.
When she was 50, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and she was extremely brave about it. She underwent several operations followed by chemo and I never heard her complain.

How has this inspiration affected your life?
I am positive that her attitude towards me and other cousin shave influenced my dealings with my own nieces and nephews. When they come and visit I want them to feel welcome. I hope they go back home with lovely memories of the time we have spent together.

I believe that aunts and uncles have a special role to play in the life of their siblings’ children, even as these children grow into adults. Maybe because they are less involved in their education; it seems the relationship can remain serene, less passionate.

When do you find yourself thinking of this person?  How do you feel when you think about her?
I think of my aunt quite often as my cousin still lives in his parents’ house.  Some discussions or books also remind me of her.  I feel a little nostalgic but also proud that I was privileged to meet her.

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