Saturday, May 20, 2006

Tribute to a Crafter

(Layne, on the right, with longtime buddy Rachel) (My own cute Mom and her big sis, Layne) In the early hours, today, May 20, my Aunt Elaine (aka Layne, Auntie Layne or Laynie) slipped into eternity after a brave struggle with lung cancer. She was the third oldest in my mother's family of six children (Mom is #5, the youngest girl). My clever grandparents were able to find six names that started with "E"--actually all family or friend names, too, if I remember correctly--Edna, Eunice, *Elaine, Eben, Eve and Elwin. Elaine, always a mold-breaker, actually went by Layne. My childhood memories of her are of someone who was really cool, very warm and funny, super creative, and who drove a car so ugly you had to like it (an El Camino). She was the only one of her siblings who didn't marry, and I think she thought of her nieces and nephews as her kids. I know we all have a special place in our heart for her. You gotta love a lady who loves cats and crafts. I think back to the gifts she gave us--somewhere at my parents' house (after all these years and 20 or so moves) are the plaques she decoupaged, the rugs she latchhooked, and pictures made with that paint in a tube stuff that was so cool in the sixties (I'm sure it's off the market now because the smell totally made you high--but hey it was the sixties). I'm sorry to say that my memory stops there because we moved away, I went away to college, got busy with life and didn't go back East until last summer for our family reunion. We had a memorial service for my uncle (the brother in between Layne and my mom) who also succumbed to lung cancer. It was a great time of remembering gentle, sweet Uncle Eb. I reconnected with family members unseen for twenty-five years and those that had arrived (and grown up) in the interim. It was good to see Layne again. ABC connected with her immediately because of their mutual love of kitties, and they became friends. Shortly after we left Maine, Layne was diagnosed with lung cancer. Despite the treatments, her cancer advanced. Because her tumor was around her windpipe, it was inoperable. It made it hard for her to breathe and to swallow. The doctors and family helped her get into the VA hospital where she spent her last days. Up until yesterday, she was lucid and able to communicate with family. It sounds like everyone back East spent as much time with her as they could. I'm so glad, because she left this life knowing she was loved. And that's the way it should be. So here's a crafty salute to a lady whose smile and sense of humor opened hearts and lives, whose creativity inspired us, and whose love was a constant across the years. We'll miss you, Laynie. Ayuh. Brother Jason will be blogging about Layne, too.

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