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Preetha K.

Kunjumol means "little daughter" or "little sister" in Malayalam. My family hails from Kerala, the southern most state in India. This is a story dedicated to my aunt who was my dad's youngest sister. Kunjaunty, or little auntie, lived in Kerala. She never smoked and lived a healthy lifestyle. Having a large extended family, she wasn't just an aunt, she became a second mother to me. I left my parents home at 15 to go to boarding high school and college. For the next six years, Kunjaunty became my closest family and someone I could rely on at any time. She was kind and was always there for me even during my toughest teenage days.

Auntie's smile and love was contagious and I cannot ever remember having a fight or argument with her. Often I would leave my boarding school to stay with her. Kunjaunty was the dear to all her older siblings and my grandparents. She was the glue that kept my dad's family together. She is left with two lovely young boys, Gokul and Amal, and her husband, Salim. Her children are a living example of how well she raised her children. Both her children are well respected and liked among our families. They are also a great examples for young men on how to treat and care for women.

Kunjaunty was diagnosed with stage IV small cell carcinoma lung cancer in March 2019, after going to the doctor for a persistent cough. The next few months she endured lots of pain, distress and constant hospital care. However, her true strength shined and touched our hearts in spite of her health challenges. It was a shock and unexpected turn of events for all of us, as she was very young. I cried for days worrying about her but I kept in touch with her to give her strength and motivation. As months passed by her strength and love for those who cared for her grew stronger and stronger. Through her challenges, she was independent, strong and an epitome of love and patience. On October 17th, she lost her battle to cancer. Although she is not with us psychically, her spirit shines in all of us. Her memories and her smile will live on with us forever. I know if I call to her she will come by. We love you tons, Kunjaunty.

First published: January 21, 2020

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