I first started writing about Aunt Cary inspired by the recently published book about the Barbizon Hotel in New York City where she once resided. Then when I began to remember so much more about our relationship I added a number of blog posts. What I hadn’t realized was that while I knew of Cary’s descent into what we would now call bi-polar disorder it might would startle my readers. I also hadn’t known that readers would be moved by my experiences with her.
I write very little about my family of origin, respecting their privacy. However, what is true is that I never had the opportunity to grieve my relationship with Cary with them. The only story that stayed alive in my family was that Cary took her life in 1969. While that is grievously true, it is the least important part of the story of Cary. As I wrote the posts, I came to truly understand that she was so much more than her death. Her laughter, her energy, and her love, were essential parts of her.
We know so much more about bi-polar disorder today, but it still claims far too many sufferers. Whether in a manic phase feeling invulnerable or in a depressive phase seeing no reason to go on, the disease removes the person from the center where they are truly themselves. I hope that my writings paid tribute to that wonderful core that was Aunt Cary.
And I also pause to note her other favorite words which pepper my speech to this day: hoot, snazzy, and of course, ort.