Dear Aunt Sal

Author’s Note: I recently celebrated my 20th birthday.  On that day, I was given a card by my grandmother, who I lovingly call, “MawMaw.”  Inside she had written me a brief, but tear-jerking note as she has done for years.  This one said, “My heart was broken when the Lord took Sally from me - then He gave me you and my heart was whole again.”  Naturally, this struck quite a timely chord with me since I was planning to write this poem, and while I have never met my Aunt Sal, I feel the bond between us.  Mawmaw went on to say, “Always remember - there is no one more important than family.” With that sentiment in mind, I hope anyone who reads my words can feel that kind of connection, no matter what their definition of family

Photos Courtesy of the Author.

Photos Courtesy of the Author.

Did you know you were an icon?

If you did

You probably wouldn't have called yourself


A dirty word.

Though you knew you were fearless

You knew stubbornness

Wacky humor



Did you know we were connected

When we met through my mom,

you’re “pretty girl”

as she carried me in her womb?

Did you know when you placed your hands on her belly

Who I would grow to be?



A Feminist


Did you know I would feel connected

to you?

Our family says:

“When God takes one away,

He gives one back.”

Did you wonder if I’d be like


If 4 months after you were gone

I would arrive?

If I would be strong like



“You’re just like Sally”

I hear this now

and again

when I do something particularly


and while I’m not as brave

not as fearless

I hope to have your kindness and your


Photos Courtesy of the Author.

Photos Courtesy of the Author.

Did you know when you wore

your earrings made out of condoms

That you were building your feminism?

That you were taking something “dirty”

and showing it off to the world?

That every choice you made

was a feminist act?

Even if you couldn’t say it

Couldn’t recognize it

Did the world know the power you held?

I don’t think it did

But I do.


Mothers and

Daughters and

Aunts and

Grandmothers and

Family of all sorts

That is the power

The bond

I will make sure the world knows about


Author: Kelly Friday

Kelly is an undergraduate student at the University of Pittsburgh pursuing a major in Health Information Management and a minor in Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies. She is dedicated to the University’s Handbell Ensemble, of which she is the Vice President and currently holds a student position in the Infectious Diseases Division at Pitt. When she isn’t trolling for new music for the Ensemble, she spends her free time wandering bookstores, always on the hunt for the next gripping page-turner. As part of the Make Muse Team, she uses her experience in the male-dominated professional sphere to empower more women to join the competitive workforce, particularly in underrepresented fields.