On Saturday morning I received the sad news that my Auntie Ona had died. When I tell people this, it just doesn't feel true. I feel everything has changed forever and I'm really struggling at the moment.
Auntie Ona was actually my Great Aunt. I know to some people that may seem like a distant relative, but I always felt really close to her and she has been a major part of my life. Auntie Ona was also my godmother so I've always felt a connection to her.
I know that at 80 she has had a good innings, as they say. She has two children and has had a happy marriage, having recently celebrated her golden anniversary. However, despite reflecting on her great life, I still feel she has gone too soon and I feel incredibly empty.
I only have fantastic memories of her. She was a generous and selfless woman who made you feel great about yourself. She really loved me and knew how to show that love.
When we were younger she and my Uncle John lived in a bungalow with a large garden and fields. When we got to the final traffic lights before the bungalow my cousins and I would spontaneously sing a song where the only lyrics were "Auntie Ona's". It was sheer excitement to get there; you couldn't get there fast enough. I remember once waking up in the car as we pulled onto the drive and being so happy to have woken up there; I'd not missed anything, I'd not missed any time there.
Boxing Day was always spent at my Auntie Ona's and we had great family parties there. I really don't like bananas so she would make the fruit salad without them because she knew how much I loved fruit salad. I remember the first time I ever ate melon was at her house. It tasted so sweet but I think I loved it because it was at her house and everything was great there.
We used to play in the spare bedrooms and there were all her children's toys which were from the fifties and sixties, yet they seemed so much more exciting and enchanting than our own toys.
We played board games, were allowed to use the remote control on the television (ours didn't have a remote) and generally enjoyed each other's company.
My grandma has a photograph of me in Auntie Ona's garden wearing an oversized knitted jumper which she gave to me. It was miles too big and in the photo I'm upset because people have been asking me to take it off for the photo, but I insisted on wearing it. I'm about four years old, but I think I must have loved my Auntie Ona dearly even then.
I cannot believe I'm going to her funeral next week. It just doesn't seem possible. She has been a giant in my life and I cannot believe she's not with me anymore. Last year I knitted her some socks, which she loved, and earlier this week I found the remainder of the wool just to remind myself of how much I loved making her those socks.
She had a great voice and a great laugh and I can't believe I'm not going to hear them again. She meant the world to me. I really miss her.