Just a week ago, memories of my last great-aunt, who passed away recently, were vivid in my family’s mind. I was honored to have the chance to say something in memory of her.
Anyone who knows me, knows that I’m big on customer service, and that’s key to earning my loyalty and my business. The way people are treated, whether it’s in a personal relationship or in a business transaction, matters to me. I want to be treated as a valued customer, not just another number, whether I spend $10, $100, or more.
When it comes to personal relationships, that matters even more, and that’s what I chose to share with the audience at her funeral.
My aunt (great-aunt, in reality), was a dignified, kind and lively woman. To this day, my siblings and I laugh at the stories from the childhood of my mom and her twin. As kids, my Mom and her aunt lived not just in the countryside, but in the boondocks of the countryside.
My aunt made the arduous trip to visit them on a regular basis, and growing up hearing my mom talk about that still makes me smile. Going to the countryside in Haiti is no small feat. Typically, it can take several hours to reach the main capital of a province. Beyond that, there can be hours more worth of walking to reach your destination.
That may not be something which is appreciated in this country, where even remote areas are easily accessible by vehicle. Even Haiti’s name alludes to its mountainous structure. For someone to make the trek to see you is a big deal.
Even as people get old and sick, sometimes you don’t imagine having a day without them. What matters is to honor and treat them well while it still matters to them, while they can still remember it, while they can still enjoy it. I’m proud of how my mom’s cousins took care of both their parents. They prioritized their mother; she was not an afterthought. They are an inspiration to me.
While my last great-aunt is no more, I still have a few aunts left. I am grateful to be a part of their lives. Making memories is always a present tense activity. Someday, they will be all we have of the people most important to us.