- Who was the first person who died in your life and how did you feel?
Just before my sixteenth birthday the lady I called Aunt Cella passed away. She wasn’t an aunt in the blood relation sense, and she was more of a grandparent if she had been.
In typical Cella fashion she passed away on February 29th, leap year. Her getting sick and passing away was something no one really saw coming, at least that’s what they said in ’92.
Cella spend Christmas with us before my parents divorced and my little sister and I stayed at her house on a few New Years as well. Cella’s was the place we went to get away from our families, at least that’s the way I always looked at. Cella spent the time with us that, then I felt our parents couldn’t.
The time I spent with Cella was some of my favorite summers, favorite Christmases and best New Years. She always smelled like Topaz by Avon and always had candy around, something my dad frowned on.
I spent summers with my cousin Tony at Cella’s, which were awesome because I didn’t have many friends at school and Tony was a cousin, which means instant friend. Cella had a cherry tree in her backyard, and our family kept picking off pieces of the tree until there was nothing left. For Tony and I the tree became a fortress, a spaceship and a place to hide, just because.
A few days before Cella passed we went to my Aunt Bonnie’s house. Cella was living there since medical coverage was too expensive and by that time we were sure what was coming. I gave her a kiss on the cheek. She smelled of a hospital, but there was still that faint smell of Topaz in the room, still my favorite smell.
The day Cella passed my dad came home, his eyes streaked red. He’d gone to Bonnie’s to say goodbye and Cella had passed while he was on his way, but in true Cella fashion she came back and he was able to tell her goodbye.
Cella taught me I can do anything if I want it bad enough. She was the first person in my life to tell me that, my Grandma Jaramillo was second. Cella was hard on me at times, but never rough or mean spirited, she knew I got that enough at home I guess.
I keep a picture of Cella on my bookshelf next to my writing desk because I know she’s close, maybe closer than I think; after all my daughter does love sparkly jewelry like Cella.
Brian B. Baker is an unpublished writer of Science Fiction/Fantasy and Horror. He’s been writing short stories since high school, and is certain it’s one of the few things that keeps him sane. Brian blogs at The Bleeding Inkwell.