The first time I met Aunt Lisa, Esteban and I had rented a Plymouth Reliant in Queens and had driven it through rain and sleet almost 300 miles north to Lake Placid. I remember almost every mile thanks to the bald tires and absent windshield wipers (which presumably had been stolen back in Queens).
Lisa wasn’t there to receive us when we arrived, but I liked her instantly by proxy: The photos of her and her husband, beaming in their kayaks and on the slopes, spoke of a life well lived.
Over the next 30 years I grew to admire her. Lisa was a wonderful listener and was always quick to laugh, even when the joke was of dubious quality. Her soft-spoken ways belied her sharp intellect.
From her social graces to her simple life, her devotion to her family and her love of the outdoors, Lisa was my role model in so many ways.
It’s a pity I never told her that. Lisa died of cancer last Saturday, and now I’ll never get the chance.
Don’t put off saying “I love you.”