In Memory of my Aunt and in Honor of my Uncle


Due to having both strep throat and the flu simultaneously, I am late to posting this.

My Aunt passed away peacefully last Thursday ,following a 14 year fight with Alzheimers.  I wanted to re-post a blog I wrote two years ago after staying with my Aunt and Uncle in memory of my Aunt and in honor of my Uncle.

I have always been inspired by the both of them. They have played big roles in mine and my late mother’s lives. At a young age, they instilled in me a passion to travel  from hearing stories and seeing pictures from all over the world. Having lost my father at a young age they stepped in to help in a variety of ways but largely  provided a great example of what a marriage looks like. I loved their tender moments as much as I loved watching their skillful banter, it rivaled their skills at tennis, golf or skiing. It is with heartache I let go of my Aunt who taught me so much, but not with out peace of mind to know she, my Uncle and cousins no longer suffer from this awful disease.


Repost from 2014: I’m on vacation visiting my family. My mother, who died at 55 from cancer, is no longer apart of these vacations and is missed. My Aunt Patti, my mother’s sister, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in her early 60’s. Now, vacations here mean more than surfing, golf and tennis. It means watching a cruel disease take your loved ones spark and smile. But it also means being inspired by all sides of love. The depth of love exampled by my uncle to his ailing wife of 50 years, is beautiful and touching.
As a writer, I had the visceral need to get my thoughts onto paper. To write about my love- hate relationship with time.
As much as I hate the cruel disease that took over my aunt, I am comforted by her life.
My Aunt and Uncle lived a life worthy of envy. I think part of my love of traveling stems from looking at their pictures and listening to their adventures from all over the globe. They took life by the “cojones” and never looked back.
Below is the poem I had to write and share….



Time is a friend to all, yet a friend to none.
It can heal all wounds, or lacerate a new one.
Your view depends on your perspective.

Cancer makes you appreciate what is left.
Time becomes a gift to be cherished.
With Alzheimer’s, time is a torturous thief.
Slowly robbing you of your mind, your family’s spirit.

Live your life, like you are on stolen time.
Never wait till time is your enemy to live.

Time parallels money, feeling we never have enough.
Some have an abundance, others are short-changed.
Some spend cautiously, others more freely.
Not knowing the balance until the account is empty.

Whatever the sum, learn to let go.
Live on your own terms, with no excuses or regrets.
Explore the world, laugh daily, love openly.
Exhaust all your funds, before life tells you
You are bankrupt.

Uncle Tillo and Aunt Patti- One of my favorites of them

11 Comments Add yours

  1. Lois Smith says:

    blockquote, div.yahoo_quoted { margin-left: 0 !important; border-left:1px #715FFA solid !important; padding-left:1ex !important; background-color:white !important; } Beautiful tribute….. I love the poem.  I’m printing it out and will read it often to remind me how precious each day is. I’m sorry for your loss Cara.  I know how special your Aunt was to you. With Love, Lois

    Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPad

    1. Thank you Lois. Such an important lesson to not take life and loved ones for granted . What a compliment to hear about my poem. Thank you! And and thank you for the support. I hope you are doing well ❤️❤️

  2. What a beautiful way to honor her. ❤️❤️❤️

  3. Rochelle Stramiello says:

    Little cousin, I will be printing out your poem and bringing to my next support meeting. You are right, Alzheimer’s/Dementia is not a singular diagnosis, it affects the whole family.

    1. Thank you for reading and supporting me, cousin Rochelle. What a huge compliment to have my poem read. I’m glad it touched you. And glad you go to a support group. Such a cruel disease, slowly robbing us of a loved one. It affects us all and takes a great toll on the caregiver.❤️

  4. Sarah O'Brien says:

    Wise words from one so young. I lost my mother to Alzheimer’s, too. I understand your grief & also your relief from the pain of this dreadful disease. Thank you for sharing. Love you, Sarah

    1. Sarah I had no idea your mother died from Alzheimer’s. No disease is pretty but Alzheimer’s is particularly cruel and ugly. Such a bittersweet goodbye. Hate to let go but grateful she is at peace. So sorry you’ve experienced its cruelty.
      Thank you for the love and support ❤️ U!

  5. Cheryl Ivans says:

    I love the poem. My husband is critically ill. I guess lm like a lot of people. I didn’t realize how precious time was. I won’t ever take time for granted again.

    1. Cheryl, im so sorry your husband is critically ill. I can’t fathom how hard a time this is for you. No one realizes how precious time is until it’s running out for ourselves or a loved one. It’s a hard lesson we all learn during tragic times, but never forget again. I’m thinking of you and hoping your husband pulls through ❤️❤️❤️

  6. Anabel Marsh says:

    So sorry about the loss of your aunt.

    1. Thank you so much❤️

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