Posted by: forgingahead | March 7, 2010

Bittersweet Birthday

We were the first to arrive at the birthday party gathering to celebrate my Great Great Aunt Margie turning 100 years old.

“Aunt Margie died last night,” was the first thing my cousin Paul said after we finished our greetings.

I glanced over at my cousin Lily. “Are you kidding,” I stupidly asked. I mean, why would they kid about such a thing? But I think that was the shock talking.

“She was fine yesterday morning and then she took a bad turn. We decided to go ahead with the gathering so we could celebrate her life,” they said.

My 90 year old great uncle walked in next and he looked like someone punched him when they shared the news. So I decided to call my family members in transit and give them a heads up. Just so my 86 year old grandmother and 85 year old great aunt could get the news in a car with their immediate family and have a moment to adjust.

The Irish know how to have a wake and Aunt Margie had an amazing life. So the gathering – though it started out kind of quiet – evolved into an afternoon of storytelling and looking through great photos of family gatherings in days past.

The city of Santa Clara had drawn up a proclimation to honor Margie and the city councilwoman gave a very thoughtful speech that made us all smile.

And we ate birthday cake. Lots and lots.



  1. So sorry to hear about your aunt.

  2. So sorry. Sounds like she had an amazing life…if you are gonna go, not a better way than surrounded by friends and family.

  3. I’m very sorry for your family’s loss.

  4. Oh my; what a shock on the very day you were meant to celebrate her birthday. I’m so sorry but glad you could use the time to celebrate her life. Bless her heart!

  5. I’m so sorry to hear that she passed away. I’m glad you were all gathered so you could celebrate her life.

  6. Oh that is just crazy! I would have said “are you joking” too!

  7. Thanks for calling us all and giving us a heads up. It made walking into the room a little easier for all.
    You are the best. Love you,

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