Today we say goodbye to my aunt. Although she still lived in her own home, I had been taking care of her for the past few years. It was the house she and my uncle built with their own two hands. She even showed me a picture when they had cardboard walls because they did not have enough money to separate the rooms with real walls. They purchased the land for $50.00 and built the home they would share through many joys and heartaches, laughter and tears.
I never had the chance to really know her. Our family had what my mother called “itchy feet”. My family could never stay in one place for long. We all thought somewhere in our genetic pool we had gypsy blood in our souls. So my family was made up of Soldiers and wanderers, dreamers and curious seekers of what is around the next bend. Except my aunt. She married and stayed in the same area for over 60 yrs. She did not inherit “itchy feet”.
When dad retired from the army and we eventually moved to Pennsylvania I was already 14 and more interested in boys, music and having fun than to get to know my aunt and grandmother. Relatives came and went, I grew up and married, then my husband re-enlisted in the Army and off we went. As we settled back in Pennsylvania, responsibilities of raising our children, work, caring for my mother in law and my own illnesses never brought the time I needed to know my aunt.
About 5 years ago I started to help her out as her health started on a decline. She was unable to drive or do errands so I was able to spend more time with her as I took her to appointments and did her shopping. She would tell me stories of dad and the family I never knew along with her growing up years. Most of my father’s family were mountain people, but my aunt along with my grandmother loved the beach. I found out that she had a love of dolphins and had quite the collection. The appreciation of the beach and dolphins live on through my daughter and sister.
She is the last of her generation in my family. She survived the depression as a young girl, moving from place to place because her mother, raising her children alone was unable find work, she worked in a defense plant in Baltimore, MD during WWII, she worked outside the home before it became the norm and raised a family. She was not perfect, made mistakes and lived her life on her terms. She could be stubborn most times, set in her ways and obstinate. (those that know me, may say the apple don’t fall far from the tree!!) She was also a woman of faith who knew and loved Jesus as her Savior.
I did not know that much about her, but I did get a glimpse into the person she was. So I am thankful for the past few years. I was able to know my aunt a little bit better, to know a part of my father I never knew and saw the past through her eyes.
Although I only knew her for a short time, those that knew her best will keep her in their hearts and remember her with a smile and a tear as they remember the person she was.
“As long as we remember those we love they will never truly die but live forever in our hearts” ~ memories are our greatest treasures. ♥