Just found out a couple of days ago that my favorite aunt died. She was the quintessential eccentric artist. Her entire life was a performance piece. Her real name was Emily. She ran away from home at a fairly young age and changed her name to Stania. Because she thought that more exotic and better suited to an artist.
She was the black sheep of her generation in the family, just as I am of mine. I didn't know her well. She didn't get along with my mother. She rarely lived nearby. But we bonded when I spent a couple of weeks in SoCal with her in the early 90s.
I recognized her immediately when I got off the plane. As she did me. The very first thing
she said to me after at least 20 years between visits was, "Do you smoke pot?"
Every morning for the next two weeks we had breakfast on her covered deck with the incredible view. It was so gigantic, she created three furnished rooms with living walls of tropical plants. And aquariums. So many fish. She would make really good coffee and roll herself a big fat doob. And we would sit in the breakfast nook, surrounded by banana trees, and talk about the future and the past.
In the afternoons she would show me her artworks. She was a talented artist who worked brilliantly in any medium. She was fearless. Relentlessly creative. Charmingly quirky. Hadn't seen her since, but we had a psychic connection. For no apparent reason I was thinking about her on the night she died.
Even though I rarely saw her, I'm really going to miss sharing this earthly realm with her. RIP Aunt Stania.