Friday, July 9, 2010

In Loving Memory of Aunt Barb

The night (or morning rather- 1am) that I got the phone call from my mom letting me know that my Aunt Barb had passed was difficult. We were on vacation, staying near the beach on the far east coast. I bawled. I wrote. I used up a box of tissues. It was raw and understandably so. The next morning was confusing. I wondered if I should uproot our family vacation and drive back to Arkansas for her funeral or not. Who would that be for? It wouldn't matter to my aunt, she was gone. It would help my parents maybe? Then I decided that mostly I'd be going for me. For closure, and mostly for being around all of my family that knew her like I did - and knew how much she loved us. For those of us who knew how wonderful she was. Where I was, no one knew about her like that.
I was up early. My family still slept.
I decided I needed to sort out what I was thinking and so I grabbed my sandals and headed to the sand. It was cool that morning. Cool sand, clouds, sunrise. I stood and stared at the sunlight that shown through the clouds like a beacon of light, like God was telling me He was here, Aunt Barb was with Him. She was shining. It seemed like a sign. I began to walk South. Along the shore I found a shell that reminded me of her. The colors were like the ones she'd chosen for her house. The shell was broken and scarred across the back, but beautiful and strong still. I carried it and walked on, finding four more shells at different places that reminded me of her. I must have walked a 1/2 mile or so. When I came to an uncrowded place, I stopped. I turned each shell over in my hands and pondered why I'd picked it up, why it had reminded me of her so. One symbolized the Strength of her character. I thanked God for that of her, then felt myself throwing it into the ocean. Another made me think of her Caring and Tender nature. Thank you God. Launched into the ocean. Another, of her laughter and wittiness. Smiling, just hearing her laugh in my mind. And launch. Walking.
I still held the last and the first shells I'd found, not yet sure what they symbolized.
As I walked, I realized the first shell was Art, created by God Himself. Aunt Barb had so many artistic talents that she willingly shared with the world. Playing the guitar and singing, decorating a cake for a special occasion, making a dish, or evening organizing a family gathering. Bold with her talents, unafraid, and yet humble all the while. Priceless. I held on to that shell.
The last one was small and thin and frail. Like maybe how she was, or felt, near the end. But I didn't see her then; my last memories of her are sweet ones. The last shell was True. She was true to herself, to who she was and where she was from. She was honest and appreciative of seeing something in a new light, if it was true and good. That's admirable.
I felt much peace as I continued to walk back up the shore. It dawned on me that I'd just had a personal private memorial service for my aunt just then. And I felt in my heart that I'd honored her with God being with me, and He of course knew her/knows her far greater than I do.
About a week later I was thinking of her and pictured her young, like in her early 20's, singing and dancing and experiencing JOY to the greatness of one's capacity. I've seen people joyful in life, but never like that. I suppose that's why it's called my aunt will be dearly missed...