Just over a month ago, my Zia Rose‘s three year battle with breast cancer came to a very sad end. Since her passing, I’ve been attempting to write a post in her honour and, even though I write every day for the blog and for my day job, it has been so tough to find the words to really capture my aunt’s fun-loving spirit, generous nature, and incredible strength. I have written and rewritten this post numerous times and nothing, and I mean nothing, has seemed right.
I finally decided that since five is a favourite number around here on Fridays, I would share with you five happy memories I have of my amazing aunt.
Zia Rose’s hot chocolate was the best around. I’m not exactly sure what made it so good but when I was young, my sister and I used to go over to her and my uncle’s house and we would sit up against the kitchen counter and watch her make us hot chocolate. After a visit there we’d go home and rave to our mom about Zia Rose’s hot chocolate. This hot chocolate routine always put a smile on my face.
When we, her nieces, were young, before she had children of her own, Zia Rose used to treat us to something special on our birthdays. She would either come up with the idea or she’d ask us what we wanted to do to celebrate our special day. For my 9th or 10th birthday, my treat, it was decided, was to spend a day with Zia Rose at Sherway Gardens. There, I’d be able to pick out a present. I remember walking around the mall with her and not knowing what to buy at all. I also wasn’t used to having free reign of the mall! I remember we went into Jacob – one of the most coveted stores at the time – and I tried on some blue dresses and skirts. After thinking long and hard about which item of clothing I wanted for my birthday gift, I settled on a blue skirt. At the time I wore a blue & white uniform to school and I remember being so excited that I was going to have a piece of Jacob clothing to wear to school every day! Zia Rose asked me several times if I was sure that what I wanted for my birthday was a sensible blue skirt and I reassured her that it was the skirt of my dreams! When Zia Rose dropped me off at home, I remember her telling my mom that I was such a practical little girl. Ha ha ha. I can bet my mom doesn’t remember this but the memory is so clear in my own head.
One of Zia Rose’s favourite questions was: How old do I look? The correct response: Not a day over 21 Zia Rose. No other answer would do. Ever. For as long as I can remember.
When I graduated from university Zia Rose generously gave me a gift. She was so excited and eager for me to open the box. I wish I had the moment on video – I was in complete amazement when I saw what was inside – my very first Burberry tote. I’m pretty sure I jumped around my parents’ family room shrieking with happiness. I think of Zia Rose every time I use that purse. I love it for so many reasons. Zia Rose could never hide the joy she felt when someone else opened a present from her and I think her honest excitement is rare to find.
Zia Rose had the most beautiful voice. She could sing like it was nobody’s business. Christmas Eve at her place always included karaoke. Well – the machine was there. The people were there. But what usually ended up happening was that Zia Rose had control of the microphone all night long. Yes, sure, it was family karaoke, but really, it was Zia Rose Live In Concert. The rest of us could be back-up dancers but that’s about all she’d allow. Ha ha ha. It makes me laugh so hard. If I even tried to sing, I’d hear, Oh Jo, no!!! Zia Rose did approve of my brother-in-law’s singing, however, and they’d perform a few duets in between courses. Oh my goodness – remembering Zia Rose’s energy and excitement about singing just puts a big smile on my face.
There are so many more stories I could share but these are some of my most vivid. They also all remind me of Zia Rose’s generous and kind heart.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post. It means a lot to me and I know it also means a lot to the rest of my family.