When I moved from small-town, Oklahoma to Denver, Colorado at age nineteen, Auntie mesmerized me. She was Kody’s Aunt MeMe, his mother’s identical twin sister. Her face and mannerisms were amazingly like those of my new mother-in-law. I couldn’t look away. I’m pretty sure we bonded that way. That was thirty-two years ago. I called her by first name, Tana, but she put a stop to that. “I’m your Auntie, Baby,” she said. “Call me, Auntie, Bella.”

Auntie was tough. She told it like it was. But she was magnetic. People loved her. She had connections all over town, and Kody and I were along for the ride—from North Denver to Cherry Creek, El Chapultapec to the York Street Jazz Café. That’s how Kody’s Aunt MeMe became my Auntie. She taught me gratitude and a persevering attitude. I freaking loved her.


I flew into Denver last Thursday night in the dark. I couldn’t see the mountains. Kody picked me up at the airport. He had flown in days earlier to be with his cousin in the wake of death.

The sun rose on Friday morning, and Kody and I drove toward Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Catholic Church in North Denver. When the Rocky Mountains showed their face, I said to myself, “There’s no Denver without Auntie.” Even as I thought the words, traffic flowed from east to west, north to south. Of course, Denver would move forward. It already had. My heart broke, and I shed a tear all the same, but I felt Auntie’s spirit in the face of those mountains.  


We did it the way Auntie would’ve wanted. A celebration of life. A party. Family. Fun. Storytelling. And fierce love.  

59 thoughts on “Auntie!

  1. So sorry for your loss, Crystal. We all need an Auntie like that – a bright shining star who illuminates those she connects with! I can feel your love and admiration for your Auntie through your generous words. Much love.. ❤️❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for sharing!!.. sorry about your aunt’s passing but she will always have that special place in your heart and be with your forever!.. 🙂

    Do not stand at my grave and weep
    I am not there, I do not sleep
    I am a thousand winds that blow
    I am the diamonds glints in the snow
    I am the sunlight on ripened grain
    I am the gentle autumn rain
    When you awaking in the morning hush
    I am the swift uplifting rush of quiet birds in circled flight
    I am the soft star that shines at night
    Do not stand by my grave and cry
    I am not there, I did not die
    (Mary Frye)

    Until we meet again..
    May flowers always line your path
    and sunshine light your way,
    May songbirds serenade your
    every step along the way,
    May a rainbow run beside you
    in a sky that’s always blue,
    And may happiness fill your heart
    each day your whole life through.
    (Irish Saying)


  3. She was always so sweet to my family. I met her when I was a small child. She had such Grace , diginity , and so much class. Her spunk was beyond the best, I’ve ever seen. Just so full of spirit, and definitely honesty. And her style is definitely one for the Books. Always looking so Glamorous ❤️
    My heart breaks for all of u. But, she definitely has, The Best Seat in House now 🙏❤️


  4. Condolences, Crystal, joining the others’.

    All a blur right now, which is understandable, but eventually they and your glowing fondness will complete this moment. Better days now for Auntie, and ahead for your and Kody’s memories of her.

    Maybe Denver moves forward, but it does so with Auntie. Her goodness and legacy propel it. You just told us of all the lives Auntie touches, which she’s made better.

    That’s her Eternity, here and now. The other one will come soon enough, when you and Kody see her next.


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