Yesterday my great-aunt Betty died in a pretty bad car accident. She was coming home from the grocery store, driving through a rural area she's driven through a hundred times before, when for some reason she pulled in front of an oncoming car. The car t-boned her, and from the site photos it looks like her car ended upside down in the drainage ditch. She died a little later at the hospital. She was 87 years old and completely independent, even working a job at the local dollar store. My grandmother called to tell me about it yesterday evening and she was pretty upset. Betty was her only living sister and I can imagine she's feeling terrible about it. Betty was always a cautious driver, so ignoring a stop sign was highly unusual for her, especially one she was familiar with. We think she might have had a stroke and that's why she went through the intersection without stopping.
Betty was a hellraiser wild child, completely opposite of my grandmother. She was named after her grandmother and apparently looked very much like her. When she wore her hair in braids, she could very easily have passed for full Cherokee, which her namesake was. She was rail thin with wrinkley, dark tanned skin, and missing quite a few teeth, refusing to have the hangers on pulled because they were her teeth dammit, and no one was taking them from her. One of my earliest memories of her was when my grandmother, her sisters Betty and Grace, my mom, Betty's daughters and I were out at a restaurant and Betty ordered a cocktail. I'd never seen such a beautiful thing! It was bright yellow with a tiny umbrella and a maraschino cherry, which I thought was just magical. Aunt Betty held it in her hand gesticulating to add emphasis to whatever story she was telling. At some point, she let a curse word fly, whereupon she paused, looked me dead in the eye and said in a low voice, "Pardon my French!" I was simultaneously terrified and enthralled. One of her favorite sayings was "It's better to be pissed off than pissed on."
What's strange to me is that when I google Aunt Betty's name, I get news articles with comments by people who stupidly assume all kinds of things. "Why was an 87 year old woman driving?" "Where was her family?" "I'll bet she was texting!" It's so damn infuriating, especially since I deactivated my Facebook account and I can't respond to these holier than thou shitstains. I want to tell them all to mind their own fucking business and piss off, à la Aunt Betty. I don't care if they pardon my French or not.