I will always miss you…
This morning I caught myself looking at the water as it splashed down, swirling, reflecting the light. I realized how beautiful it was; how temporal. How special are those people who make you think about such things as beauty and time. I had the irrational thought to stop it and try to keep it so I could enjoy it forever. Then I realized how strange my thoughts were, finished brushing my teeth and turned the water off. It was just the sink. I was lost in thought, remembering my Great Aunt Louise.
We were playing baseball, my friends and I, at a younger age. The crack of the bat and the laughter were all that much more exciting because she wanted to participate, and did. She didn’t bother worrying that she wasn’t the fastest or strongest player. Instead she focused on the fellowship and love she could share with others. Her smile was broad and I felt lucky in those moments and forever after to know her. My friends remember that day too. I am thankful for the memories of that day and many others.
Fiercely independent, she wore a hat that looked like it had come from the costume closet from Little House on the Prairie. Her fashion sense was as independent as her soul – although that belonged firmly to the Lord. She wore that hat while she worked in her yard, cutting her grass on a series of badly maintained riding lawn mowers for years longer than we felt she was safe doing so. Despite my father having already started maintaining her property for her, she always loved her flowers and planted them so everyone else could enjoy them as they passed by her farm. It was little wonder this was difficult for her to let go. Her farm is the same farm where she was born and raised; where she cared for her aging parents and kept a haven for all of us as we grew up around her.
The memories I have of that place are hard coded in my being: completely unforgettable.
I spent time as a child playing in the creek, making fishing poles and splashing when the rain had rejuvenated the little creek near the highway. As a teenager I would ride my 4-wheeler all around the area, exploring property she and my family owned and beyond. We would camp out in the woods. When crops were not growing we would even camp out in the fields near her house.
I know there were those who didn’t agree with her politics, but I would challenge them to be as true to their own hearts as she was to hers. It wasn’t about winning and losing with her, it was about what is right and what is wrong. Right doesn’t always make money or win arguments, but she always had the courage of her convictions. She could be immensely frustrating and bull headed because she always wanted to take care of herself. Her burial plot, funeral service, casket and everything else was already planned out — and paid for — decades ago. Not even in death would she be a burden on society or anyone else.
Her choices weren’t always convenient especially when she really needed the care of her family. As she reached towards the end of her days she had a particularly difficult time letting go of elements of control she’d always had. I know she suffered from the pains of aging beyond what many will ever understand. There were times her family struggled and suffered along side her. Solace now comes from knowing the suffering has come to an end for her, and for that I am thankful. I also know she was always thankful for her family because she told me so almost every time I saw her.
There are so many things I wish I could express about her. She meant so much to so many. There is certainly a large part of who I am directly tied to her influence. While the tears trickle down my cheeks I will think about the beauty in this world she enabled me to see, and I will thank her forever for being true.