My aunt Carolyn died this morning; from what I've been told, she passed away in her sleep, and the family found her this morning.
I know very little about the cause of her death, but I know she suffered from many of the same health problems that plagued Dad during his last few years. I am thankful that she at least was able to pass peacefully in her sleep rather than living her final days in pain. It is probably the most gracious passing any of us could hope for.
But I still find myself thinking that the world seems a little emptier with each family loss. One by one, it seems that many of the family members I remember with such love from my youth have left this world, and the vacancy they leave is never really filled. John Donne said that every man's death diminishes me; that is all the more true for family, because with their passing we realize that a part of what made us what we are is lost.
I won't mislead you and claim that Carolyn and I had remained close; alas, I am all too guilty of getting so wrapped up in my own world that I don't maintain the contact with family that I should. Facebook and other social media help, but none of that can replace a conversation, a little time spent together. Now I'll never have that chance.