It is inevitable that these days come as our elders march in the front line and face our common enemy, death. That doesn’t mean, of course, that those behind said line have no reason to believe death may not sneak behind our defenses and take one of the younger ones out. That happened with my aunt, who a number of years ago had to bury her youngest daughter. No parent wants to outlive a child; that’s a grief I have trouble wrapping my heart around.
Today we bury that aunt, that dear aunt who always had a smile on her face, who loved fiercely and had a firm faith in Jesus as her Savior. I’ll remember her for the rock that she was and for her optimism. As a child I spent time at their house playing with her daughter. It was with them that I went to see my first movie in a theater (“The Jungle Book”). Growing up, I looked forward to a once-a-year trip to Wildwood Crest in New Jersey (they had a place there). Most years that was our only vacation.
I believe that the family you are placed in is one of the “10 Unchangeables”, but it crossed my mind more than once how different my life would have been if she’d been my mother. I have to be careful what I say here because I don’t want to disrespect my own mother–I love her and always will–but my mom didn’t have the loving husband that Joanne did and for many years mom’s life was very rough, which fed a growing pessimism (I’m still working on her :).
I’ve often wondered how different my life might be if there had been someone who really believed in me and encouraged me to follow my dreams. I wanted to go to college, wanted to be an art teacher. I could still do it, I know, but life kind of happened and here I am, entering the sunset years and painting those sunsets with words instead. And that’s okay. But knowing my own penchant for pride and the problems I already have with my high opinion of myself, perhaps I’d have become a self-centered monster. God knows what He’s doing. All of the hardship taught me compassion, and that’s worth an awful lot.
So now I must get ready to go. Snowmageddon Part II is set to hit PA again this afternoon. God’s sending a fresh white blanket to tuck her body in for a time, but it’ll be raised again someday. And what a day that will be!