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Antonia TatyrekAntonia Tatyrek, my great aunt, wanted so much to be loved that she almost missed it. She married late in life to Dominik Smrcka and never had children. All of her nieces and nephews accepted her as a second mother. As a grand niece I considered her like another grandmother. I don't know if she understood any of those feelings until right before she died.

We all flocked to her house a block off main street in Yukon, OK for the Czech festival the first Saturday on October. It was a big family day with cousins and lots of food. Lunch was pot luck with every family bringing something. Somehow it always worked out. Aunt Toni, as we called her, would catch us up on all the people and family. I wished I had listened more.  

I do remember her telling me of her sister Josephine that died as a teenager. She said they each had a good set of clothes that were reserved for Sunday and special occasions. The day before Josephine died she had asked to wear her special dress and their mother had allowed her to do it. The next morning she was dead. A very poignant memory on a 13 year old child.

Aunt Toni always talked about God, that she believed in Jesus, for the insurance of the belief. I always thought it sad. She wanted to trade places with the young people so she could live longer. I told her if I died today it would be ok. I had lived my life to the fullest and I regretted nothing. I still feel that way. I am blessed to know that I am loved and that I love back, unconditionally. She didn't really understand that.

I think she lived before her time. She would have been an activist in the women's movement had she been born 25 years later instead of 1899.

Before she died, but was very sick, I took my father and grandmother to visit her one last time. She was bedridden, but still at home. She hadn't gone to the nursing home yet. As I bent to kiss her cheek, she reached out to touch me, she thanked me for bringing my grandmother and dad and asked me why I had come to see her all these years. I got to tell her that I loved her and good bye.  

Telling people you love them is sometimes hard to do and we often don't, but we need to. Tell someone you love them today. My great aunt may smile down on you.