Aunt Carol Morin was the sister between my dad and Uncle Joe. Always everyone's favorite "Auntie," even to those who were not related to her.
Auntie had been in declining health for several years, and spent the last couple of months in the nursing home as her health issues had become more than her two girls, my cousins Jeannie and Ro, could handle. To be truthful, though, Auntie died a little bit every day since July 9, 1995, when her wonderful husband, Uncle Duff, passed away. She was never the same after.
You could always count on Auntie's wonderful hospitality, and her house was always open for a visit ("Mark, I think there's a beer in the fridge."). A memory that stands out: growing up, we always received underwear from Auntie for Christmas and in later years when we no longer exchanged gifts and I had to buy my own underwear, I actually had no idea what to buy! That's one funny thing I always think about with Auntie.
Growing up we were a very close Italian family. I think I've mentioned here before how we had a large web of cousins, and it was always hard in that small town to get away with anything without someone finding you out and reporting back to Nonnie or Dad or Auntie or Uncle Joe. It was a great motivator to avoid trouble, at least it worked for me! It didn't hurt that my Uncle was a village cop. Auntie was always very close to her mother and her brothers. I remember that several years after Nonnie had passed away we were talking about watching "old family movies" and Auntie remarked that she did not want to do that - it would be too painful for her. It must have been difficult for her in these last years to lose so many loved ones.
Auntie is now in Heaven, reunited with all those who went before. She will be missed, but is finally out of pain, so that is a comfort to all.