About the same time that we went into lockdown last March, we lost my dad’s big sister to cancer. Yesterday was her funeral, almost 5 months later and this week, her ashes will be brought to her little village, which she left over 50 years ago but where she has chosen to be laid to rest.
When I was born, she had already finished school, gotten married and left our little home town to work in the big city. We always shared a special bond, probably because she and I had a lot in common. We were both the eldest of our families and shared a lot of the same interests. Many people think our friendship started when we travelled to France together with my grandmother, during the summer I turned 20. But in fact, it actually started a lot earlier. When I was 12, it was my family’s turn to move away from our little village to a big city too, very near her family, in fact. So the following Easter, we spent it at her dinner table, where I was invited to sit with the adults for the very first time. She poured me a (very small) glass of white wine (I think it was Black Tower) and declared that I was now “old enough”. From then on she always spoke to me as one woman to another and taught me so much through her experiences, her feminism and her dignified yet casual nature.
She loved music and played the piano at our family gatherings and in her church. She also loved sharing music and my mom recently found this song on one the playlists she had received from her. It’s a song about coming home after a lifetime of adventure. Originally released in August, 1969 by the French singer-songwriter Joe Dassin, the version on that USB stick was a recent cover from Isabelle Boulay. Here’s my own interpretation which is dedicated to my friend, ma chère, ma tante Céline.