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I was born on my auntie Edie’s thirty-third birthday. My poor mum, it was five minutes to midnight and auntie Edie was screaming at her to push! Because of the significance auntie Edie was told she could name me, she suggested Claire, and my mum told her to sod off! (I am certainly not a Claire!) So with the help and suggestions of the Doctor in attendance Moira was chosen (yep Rosie is my pseudonym).

We had our ups and downs auntie Edie and I, we were probably too alike! But in the midst of what could be an awful, belittling toxic family (with my mum being the youngest, so normally the one vilified and put down, and I being her youngest child) auntie Edie was the aunt who stood up for me; she was the one who told me not to listen to them when they said what a horrible child I was (my strong personality and toxic insecure people don’t tend to mix). She was the one who told me to ‘tip them arseholes!’ She was the one who always believed in me, along with my late uncle Mac, I loved him so. Even though he used to refer to me as ‘that little cow’, he was right I am!

When I was sitting my A’levels auntie Edie took me out to the rose garden of the affiliated working men’s club that she ran with my uncle Mac, and she helped me choose the roses to take to take to my exam and draw. She had an artist’s eye, and could sew, paint and knit anything she turned her mind to. I will always remember when she painted the ceiling of their Victorian flat a deep green, people thought she was mad, until it was finished, and stunning.

Like me auntie Edie could be a cow; she would argue and we argued, until she realised that I wasn’t like my mum, I wouldn’t capitulate and cry, I would stand my ground. I know that overall she loved me for that.

The memory of auntie Edie for me was when I visited her after RD had left Me. I was crying and said how I wanted to stop, she looked at me and said ‘why don’t you then?’ I did. She then gave Tom money to buy Kentucky fried chicken, because she knew I couldn’t afford it, and that he was struggling seeing his mum in the mess that I was.

That moment was a massive turning point for me at that time in my life, and auntie Edie features in my book in the days of our recovery. I had no mum by then, and she knew that, and she took that responsibility seriously.

I did visit auntie Edie once after I moved to France, the one time I have returned to the UK, I had to visit my favourite aunt, in the knowledge that time was limited.

Sadly auntie Edie died last night, alone as so many elderly people are nowadays. From what I understand she died in her sleep, a blessing in what had become a sad ending to her life. I have no doubt that uncle Mac, young and handsome came to collect her, and I will think of them, jiving in heaven.

Rest In Peace Auntie Edie I was blessed to have a character such as you in my life.

Moira

If anyone knows of an old person near to them who is lonely, please consider spending just half an hour a week with them, for companionship. Let’s change the world this year in small steps.