I loved her from the very first time I met her. I was nine years old; she was only ten years older than me. It was Thanksgiving. She came with my uncle to my grandma’s house. I thought she was beautiful. She was one of the kindest people that I ever met. Her smile was deep and broad. Her heart was even more so.
My memories of her are scattered, but the ones I have are all very special to me. We never lived near each other. When I was little we would spend some holidays together. I loved being in her home. It was warm and safe. As I got older we would talk on the phone from time to time, and she would come to visit me when I would have a new baby or just “because.” Over the past years, we did not see each other as much. I was washed over with the details and busyness of being a mom of five young children. She battled cancer.
Yesterday, my sweet Aunt completed her time on earth and went to be with the Lord. Today, I am grieving. I miss her. I miss the way she loved me. I miss just knowing that she loved me, even when we did not see each other for years. I miss the way she said my name. I miss the way that I was able to watch her mother her own children, and I miss the opportunity of learning from her about parenting and about life.
I tried to tell her how much she meant to me, but I feel as if I fell short. How could she know how many time I watched her love her children? How I saw her selflessly meet their needs and joyfully fulfill many of their wants? How I saw her rejoice in whom they were – not expecting from them anything other than who they were? How I watched her love my uncle? I miss the way that she laughed and the way that she laughed at herself. She was a bringer of joy wherever she went. She was more than a ton of fun.
She added fullness to my life. I can’t explain exactly how, but she did. I am thankful that she is at peace and that she is whole. Cancer no longer ravages through her body, however, I feel a deep emptiness of missing her. She was wonderful.
As I think about her today, I think I know what she would say to me, “Love your family, Andrea. Laugh. Times will be tough, but enjoy the people and life that God gave you. It’s all a gift.”
I always loved her. I still do. I know that she loved me, too.