"Sometimes when you're doing simple things around the house, maybe you'll think of me and smile" Keep Me In Your Heart, Warren Zevon.
My Auntie G was amazing. A five-foot-two-inch powerhouse of determination, opinion, passion and sometimes anger, but mostly I remember the love. Love of a kind that left you feeling that she could solve the UK's energy crisis by simply attaching a crocodile clip to wherever it came from. (Where is the socket for the soul? In my most maudlin moments, of which there are many, I like to think it involves a silk plug rested on that bit of the neck that makes you go shivery)
Auntie G has been gone since March 2009; but the breast cancer that took half her chest before seeping its despicable poison into her bones had been with her for eighteen months or so. It was hearbreaking to see her return from every oncologist appointment with the banal yet devastating report, "Still waiting for good news, cock."
The three years since have been revealing in many ways.
It became obvious that she was the hub of our entire family; something we had taken for granted previously. From my Nan & Grandad, her siblings, myself, my cousins and onto our children, she was the fulcrum around which we all revolved, quite literally, as her house was the place we congregated in.
She was never bothered about toddlers tipping cupboards out, our children stayed up too late and ate too many forbidden foods on sleepovers, and she would make the endless, mandatory cups of hot drink that British family gatherings demand.
Auntie G's coffee was always served in a cup and saucer. I never asked why. I wish I had now.
It's a cliche to say that she is always with us, but that does not make it less true. Each time good school reports or loving drawings are produced by her great nieces and nephews, when Ronan Keating appears on TV or radio, when I am breathing out of my eyeballs climbing a long hill on my bike she is there. She is respectively proud, giddy or an example of what people can go through and to stop being such a bloody wuss!
Her daughter, my cousin, is marrying next year. She would be so proud, so happy, so domineering, such a bloody nightmare about the arrangements, but most of all she would be here.
We would trade the daylight tomorrow and the next day, and the next if that could be changed.