My Aunt Margie had always been more like a grandmother to me and my brother and sister...a fun, energetic, firecracker of a grandmother....than an aunt. Growing up, after she would walk for miles at the crack of dawn, she would visit us during the week (bringing with her bags of groceries) and then settle in to iron clothes or clean up after us. She didn't do any of because my mom asked her to, she did it because she enjoyed helping out and maybe because she liked feeling needed. Having never had children of her own, and losing my uncle, this little tiny lady lived alone and took care of herself and many others. That's just what she did. She didn't expect thanks or payback. She loved being around us and we loved that she would run around and play with us and let us look through the old books in her basement and toys in her attic. She was furiously independent, which made it difficult for her, and those of us close to her, when she started to get sick and not remember things as well as she used to. Her independence and the freedom to do what she wanted when she wanted was one of the hardest things to see her lose. I remember crying at night about that. And it was hard for a long time. But as time went on it became OK for all of us...she was loved by the staff in her assisted living home for her plucky sense of humor and sassiness and sweetness.