I think about Aunt Vi nearly every morning. Some of you will remember she was my husband’s aunt who lived to be 102.5 years old.
She liked to use that extra .5, because at her age, every month counted. Kind of like a little girl who might answer the question about her age with “4 and a half!” eager to head to kindergarten when she turned five.
Anyway, I think about her most days as I make my morning oatmeal. During her last year of life she lived in a nursing home, where the only meal she would eat was her breakfast oatmeal. And the only thing that made that meal edible was the brown sugar she kept in a baggie in her nightstand drawer.
She showed me that bag on one of my visits, a worn out baggie, opened and closed numerous times. The kind where you have to line up the two sides correctly to get the bag to seal.
It it wasn’t completely sealed, the tiny bits of brown sugar hardened at the bottom of the bag.
And I think about it now. Sprinkling that brown sugar on her oatmeal (which she said was often cold by the time it got to her) was the highlight of her day. Those bits of sweetness were like gold might be to someone else.
And it never occured to me to offer to bring her more. I could have shown up one visit with a fresh bag of brown sugar, sugar that was still soft, but more abundant. Sugar she wouldn’t have to ration so tightly.
Every morning when I make my oatmeal, when I sprinkle it with brown sugar I think of her.
And I send up a silent apology that I was so blind.