Tamara J - Whole Communication

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My Aunt Annie

It was always ok to hug her. She’d squish you, she didn’t care. My sister is embarrassed to hug me because my bust is so large, that she feels funny. Aunt Annie walks with you arm in arm. She wants to be close to you. She doesn’t care.

Everyone seems to be doing fine with this, “It’s not life threatening,” they say. “It’s routine,” they say, “We do four to six of these a week now.” Aunt Annie tells me, “I know I’m going to be alright,” and I feel she is (you are) will be alright. But my, oh my . . . the sweet bosom that I have clung to for so many years, full of flesh and love, oversized and in the way, my only real love, my safety net, my beloved Aunt Annie. Hug Aunt Annie, and I knew I would be alright, I could live. I’d make it through this pain. The pain that swelled up, high in my cheek bones and would push itself down into my eyes and the tears would flow out, and I could breathe again.

The tummy and chest I looked up at as a child, while she drew stories on my face about hills and valleys. Remembering back to that sunny Sunday afternoon driving around as a young family in the tiny town of Utica, Ohio. The whole clan was down: Aunt Annie, Aunt Judy, Grandma Hufford and cousin, Dick. Happy memories for me, unhappy memories for my mother, as we would later find out, months of unhappy memories, turning into 30 years of unhappy memories.

All those times where I laid myself, my head down when I was a child, will now be hollow. When I saw myself in the mirror today, these two large bulbous globes pushed forward, in the way, but two of them. I was glad for that when I nursed our son, appreciative of my friends Laurie and Leona for encouraging me to nurse him. It was shunned from my family. I was always embarrassed and ashamed of my large, well-shaped breasts. I knew others envied me (high school and beyond), but all I ever did was to try and hide them for the most part.

Aunt Annie was never like that- being ashamed of what nature gave you. She’s a farm girl from the word go. She talks about hogs being butchered for meat and gathering eggs. She loves to bake and cook. Everyone at work has tasted her carrot cake and nut bread, as well as the folks at my church. I want to share it with those I care about. And besides, the calories collect on me. Her carrot cake is from scratch, you know.

She brought me some when I saw her last weekend. She also showed me her bruised, very tender breast area where they had cut the lump out, and her breast off. Just as I helped bathe my father as he lay in the hospital bleeding for 46 days, I added a band-aid to the underside of where it started to bleed and seep a bit through the stitches. And now, the whole of it is gone, (removed as of 10:30 this morning.) Probably a giant moon scrape after being there for all of these years.

Aunt Annie told me, “As a young girl, I watched the gypsies come up and down the road, a dirt road and a wagon with wheels, and how they laid grass in the road to tell which way to go.” This lady of 68 years know which way to go and she remains stronger than I. She understands what she’s up against and knows she can handle it. I’d do the same thing, but it is her and not me, and I feel deep sadness for her breast. I couldn’t possibly tell her this, but then again, she would understand. She’d have got her mind right and that would be fine.

She is remarkable, this lady, who always dresses like a lady, and remembers a time when women wore hats, Easter coats, and summer frocks. A time before string bikinis and casual sex. A time when a man was a gentleman, and a woman was a lady. A time I remember in my early years, riding around in an old 53’ Ford, laying my head in the lap of my beloved Aunt Annie, while I held my lime-flavored Lifesavers as she told stories on my face. A time when I looked up past the tummy and the bosom and into the smiling, calm eyes of love.

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