Yesterday, my Aunt Rena passed away after a long battle with Parkinson’s Disease.

I’m supposed to be writing papers to finish out my social work class. I have a final on Monday. My house is a certified disaster zone. I have plenty to do. I could be studying Russian in preparation for next semester. Just yesterday afternoon, I got some news concerning my progress that made me extremely happy. I could be walking my dog, who is intently staring at the door. I could be preparing for my birthday next week.

I really do need to write those social work papers.

But I keep finding my mind wandering. Thinking about my mother, who is right now on an airplane headed back to North Carolina, because she is the executor of the will. My mother hates flying. My mother is going to be a mess. But I can’t go, because finals and papers don’t leave me much time to go to a funeral 1400 miles away.

As for me? I’ve been better. But I’m doing.

I will do my work. It’s due tomorrow. It will get done. But now, I want to take a moment to talk about Renie.

She’s my favorite.

Her husband worked for my father in the Fence Company. During the day, she cleaned our house. When I got home from school, I could usually find her doing laundry or cleaning the kitchen. I remember sitting on top of the freezer and chatting with her while she ironed clothes. She taught me how to fold shirts better than anyone else on the planet.

She could bake like no one else – cakes, pies, rice krispy treats. Her house always smelled so good. Always could find that woman in the kitchen.

She holds the unchallenged record for the most Uno cards in a hand at one time. That’s what we did at Christmas. After the food was eaten and the dishes washed, the men would gather in the living room to sleep, watch sports, and be men. The women would gather at the dinner table. When I was very young, we used to do puzzles. Mom and I, Grandmother, Aunt Rena and Cousin Paula. But once my grandmother stopped hosting Christmas and it moved to our house, we changed activities – Uno. One year, my poor Aunt Rena had as many as thirty cards in her hand at one time.

It was awesome.

She was the youngest of the five Boston children. RJ, Rodney, Roberta, Rebecca, and Rena. She practically raised my mother. We always used to joke that the hospital got it wrong. Mom was really Renie’s. Paula belonged to grandmother. It just made more sense.

It’s been awhile since I’ve seen her. But I’m going to miss her all the same. I love this woman. But life goes on – and we all have to keep moving forward, remembering the good things… writing our social work papers, and trying to stay sane.

Rena Boston Hollar

November 27, 1932 – December 9, 2010




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