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Aunt Delia Rivera Finch: The aunt I wish you all knew

My heart hurts with grief as I write this article. Tears streaming down my face as I mourn the loss of my dear and favorite Aunt Delia. Having lost my mom, Angelica, I feel the pain again of losing another loved one so close to my heart. Aunt Delia was like a second mother to me for as long as I can remember.

My Aunt Delia has always been an important and special part of my life. When I think about all the wonderful moments my aunt has given me, I’m filled with gratitude and thanksgiving.  She had been a big part of our family since we were infants. She used to stay and help my mom take care of us for many years.

Carol and Aunt Delia

The only baby photographs of me were taken by Aunt Delia with her little Brownie camera.

When she took a job at J. C. Penneys, she would send pretty frilly little girl dresses for us girls and an nice outfit for Josy. I always had hand-me-downs and these were the only brand new dresses just for me. I remember one for Easter being a light blue chiffon dress with an accordion pleated skirt.

Her baking skills were exceptional. Our entire family looked forward to her tins of home made Christmas cookies. The crescent cookies with nuts were my favorite. She gave me the recipe so I can enjoy them whenever I want. A few years before she was put in the nursing home, I had mentioned how much I missed her cookies and was surprised with a tin she made and especially shipped to me. I loved how she separated each layer with a piece of wax paper.

Aunt Delia loved music. Especially the Puerto Rican artists. My dad would make cassette tapes for her to enjoy. I still can picture, mom, dad and Aunt Delia dancing in the Boynton Beach kitchen. She loved spending time with my parents.

She loved doing puzzles. I would send puzzles to the nursing home. I heard from the aids that she didn’t like to share them with the other residents. LOL.

She and I would speak on the phone after my mom passed and we both missed mom so much. She, up until the weeks before she passed, would always say, “ I miss Tita so much”. 

Aunt Delia Facetiming with Carol

Aunt Delia had a hearing problem and like Grandma Otilia, didn’t like wearing hearing aids. I Facetimed with her on a regular basis. I always had paper with messages for her to read and thus we enhanced our communication that way. She always remembered to ask about each of my siblings and my husband, Larry. Our house was being renovated and she liked seeing updates. I would also give her tours of the progress of the house and yard on FaceTime so she could feel like a part of the outside world.

Her children will never understand the very special bond she and I had. I wish they had so they could have been more informative about her being put in Hospice and prepared us.  I asked to be kept informed and they were not receptive. Getting the call from Lisa after she passed was just too much for me to bear. 

I am sad that our flights in August to go to California and see her were cancelled due to the fires in California and Covid. We were looking forward to seeing her. We had rescheduled for March of 2022. 

Aunt Delia — know how much I loved having you as an aunt. I have the little baby doll you gave me with an outfit you did with crochet. I have the poem you wrote about your childhood home on my wall.

You told me you wanted me to have your beautiful tulle wedding dress since you knew how much I always said you looked so beautiful in it. You said you knew I appreciated vintage and would take good care of it. I love looking at the photo of you with the tulle skirt all fanned out as you sat on the grass. So beautiful.

Aunt Delia was the last of Florencio Rivera’s children. The end of an important era in our Rivera family history.

I will cherish all my memories. We always ended our Facetime sessions with the sign of the cross and then blew each other besitos.

Rest In Peace, Aunt Delia.  I will never forget you. Please give my mom a huge hug and love from me when you see her.