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Monday, January 11, 2010

In Memoriam: I Am Me Because Of You

My heart is grieving and I can't seem to stop crying, today I received news that my beloved Auntie Vicky passed away from complications from Throat Cancer. My Auntie Vicky is my mother's older sister and I met her when we moved to New Zealand in 1984. I will never forget the fear and anxiety I felt as a young girl of 8 moving to a foreign country to start a new life. I was afraid of not being accepted, of making new friends, and of leaving my old life behind. When I got off of the plane, the first person I saw was Auntie Vicky. I remember Aunties smiling face and the kindness in her eyes as she warmly embraced me and asked me sincerely, "How are you doing dear, are you alright? I am your Auntie and I am so glad to meet you." She immediately took me under her wing and nurtured me with her warmth and sincerity. I was always touched by her constant attention to others. She would ask if you were OK and if you needed anything. She was the first to give of herself with no question of what it would cost her. She was the pillar of strength in our family and despite her being one of the middle children in her family, she truly was the matriarch of our family. She was our fearless leader and I revered her as a child and loved the example she was to me of being a strong yet feminine woman. As a young child I was insecure and walked with my head lowered out of shame since I felt so uncertain of myself. She spent many hours teaching me about our Maori Culture in an effort to help me understand who I was so that I would not be ashamed. When I would experience bigotry she would encourage me to hold my head up high and to walk with pride knowing who I truly am. She taught me the importance of being a strong, proud biracial woman. She forever was encouraging me by teaching me new skills and talents. She knew I loved music and she spent endless hours teaching me to sing Maori songs, to harmonize, and melodize. She would create talent shows just for me and then ask various groups in the community if I could be their entertainment. Seriously! She taught me how to perform, the finesse of public speaking, hosting, and entertaining an audience. I loved to write stories, she would spend countless hours listening to me read what I had read and she would find ways to encourage me with it. With her meager wages she would buy me paper and pens so that I could keep on writing. She was forever encouraging me with, "Come on Moana, you can do it." Before long she had me walking with my head held high with the belief in my heart that I could do anything since I had someone like her believing in me. She loved me so completely with no reservations and without question.
She was an amazing woman strong and capable and I am so blessed that I had her as my role model. Every aspect of my life has been shaped and molded by her influence, wisdom, love, and acceptance. I love and miss you Auntie!


Jana Perkins said...

I am so sorry for your loss. It's so hard to go on when the great ones in our lives leave us. I bet she is so proud of you and the woman you are today.

Michele said...

So sorry for your loss. She sounds like an amazing woman. Who couldn't do anything with all that love and encouragement!

Lyn said...

so sorry for the loss of your dear Auntie :( she was a wonderful and loving women. I remember she always had a smile for everyone she met. She was a really neat lady.