Aunt Karen
I can't run as fast as Charlie but I can still run

Emo Barometer

Thank you for all the kind words about Aunt Karen. Thursday felt very strange, knowing she has passed.

She was always glad to hear about Charlie and gave him some pretty sweet things, a pale blue and pink Beatrix Potter baby blanket and a set of Winnie-the-Pooh baby dishes. Alas, we no longer have the sectioned plate but I think the little bowl is somewhere? -- there was a time some years ago when it seemed we had to let go of such things of Charlie's youngest days -- but the little beige cup is beside the bathroom sink, in regular use for Charlie to take his morning meds.

I'm glad the little cup has become something for everyday use.

Sadly, Charlie was not able to see Aunt Karen these past few years due to his being no longer able to handle travel.

We did not talk overly much about her passing after Charlie came home off the bus. I know he knew the gravity of the situation; he always senses these things.

He enjoyed a bike ride (my mom rode his old yellow bike for the start of it). But after dinner, up in his room, Charlie cried.

Cried, cried, wailed, sitting on the side of his bed in a way he usually does not. Jim and I went up and down the stairs and he told us 'stairs' (i.e., we were to go downstairs). He did say 'ac' when I asked if he'd like it if I might turn it up.

After a woebegone hour, a still teary boy tromped down the stairs and asked, as he has not in quite a while, for a second bike ride.

He kept wailing as I got out the bikes and Jim got them ready, and as my parents waved them off, my dad taking the usual photos.

We went back inside and my dad asked about Advil, about the nurse saying Charlie might need some when the weather changed? Migraines! I thought. We had discussed those as a possibility with the nurse and people have mentioned them to me.

We got the Advil ready. After ten minutes, Jim texted me about a smiling boy who does have a well-honed 'emo barometer' along with a sixth, a seventh sense change for changes in the air.



Life Skills Teacher

If he is getting migraines, endorphins help with release sometimes, so bike riding and running could be a natural cure some of the time.


I'm so sorry about Aunt Karen's passing, and I will keep her and your family in my thoughts.

Did you actually talk to Charlie directly about her passing, perhaps with some accompanying pictures? (I love that one of her and you as a baby.) Charlie's 'emo barometer' is so deeply attuned to yours.

Kristina Chew

@Monica, thank you as always... we did not actually tell Charlie. But I just assume that he knows when something big and emotional occurs. I had been talking on and off to Jim about Aunt Karen over the months as her health went up and down and I was contemplating going to California for my cousin's wedding.

I'm probably going to put up some more old photos, can't resist.

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