I have an aunt who is a very special lady. I actually have several very special aunts, but today I want to blog about one in particular. She is in my thoughts in particular because her family had to call hospice this past week to help care for her as in her words “Jesus is calling me home”.
Those old Alabama cotton fields were rough my mother tells me. She was more than happy to move to Tennessee when she was only 18 years old. Mother did not leave Alabama just because there was not much work there. She left because one of her sisters needed her help. Her sister’s husband had left her after they had buried one child and still had two other children to raise. One of her children also had cerebral palsy. My mother quickly became very attached to the kids and did whatever she could to help her sister. Their sisterhood quickly grew into a closely bonded friendship, her BFF as many would say these days.
As time went on, my mother got a job and met her future husband who also eventually became my daddy after having two other children. My aunt also met someone, the love of her life and my wonderful uncle. You know how sometimes at dinner you dish out your food and eat it until it is all gone…but you have that anticipation for dessert? My uncle was the dessert my aunt had been waiting for and did not even know it. She has told me many times over that my uncle is the love of her life.
When I got married, my aunt called me and said that God removed that rib out of Adam to make room for Eve so they could be joined at the hip. She said it with her typical cute humor, but also meant it as a lesson. She said I am to never leave his side. We are now a team. God has made us one, just like she and my uncle are one. What a team they are and so right for each other. I once heard a message by a famous evangelist Rick Corrum. He was preaching to young single people on advice for finding a mate. He said that you know you are with the right person in life if that person helps you love Jesus even more. This is the kind of couple they are. They compliment each other in so many ways, but most of all they have a Christ centered marriage. This is what has set their marriage apart. God, in His infinite wisdom, loved my aunt so much that He gave her more than she knew how to ask Him for during her storm. Every couple has tough times and no one is perfect. They’ve had many struggles along the way, but my aunt is not a complainer. She is so very strong. She just amazes me how she has dealt with every single hurdle in life.
I mentioned she had a child with cerebral palsy. My cousin grew to be a fine man. He called my mother “mom”, just like me and my sisters. He said he remembered her helping take care of him and hoped we did not mind him calling her that. We did not mind one bit. He called our home about once a week through the years and talked to us, and then would ask to speak to “mom”. He lived until he was 37 years old, which is the same age I will be in August this year. He had many health problems along the way, but became a christian along the way, too. My aunt had to bury a second son. On one of my visits to her home, she took me to his gravesite. She said the song “Go Rest High on that Mountain” was played for him and it was perfect. Every time I think of that song, I am thankful Vince Gill wrote it because now I always have fond memories of my cousin when I hear it.
During my adolescent years I struggled with life circumstances. I had a hard time figuring out my place in life. Whenever I had this unsettled feeling inside, I would buy a plane ticket and go see my aunt and uncle for a couple weeks. She never treated me as a child. She never acted as if she did not have time for my sillyness. Somehow because of her patience with me and the way she talked to me, I was able to open up in ways I never had before. I was able to talk about things that really mattered to me. I also enjoyed listening to her stories. She related so well to me and seemed to have alot of commonground. She may have talked to everyone this way, but God knew I would find a kindred spirit in her. Most of all, we just simply always have enjoyed each other’s company.
When I was in my twenties and thought I had found the love of my life…on two different occasions…and two different guys…both times the guys ended up thinking otherwise and it was off to my aunt’s house I went for refuge each time. She helped me to clear my head, maybe not “figure life out”, but at least get back on track one day at a time. My mother went with me on one of the trips. We had such a wonderful time and on that trip my mother saw how her sister made a difference for me. My poor mother was at her wits’ end on that one and had suggested the trip for lack of knowing what else to do. It was EXACTLY what was needed for all of us. I was so glad my mother went with me that time.
My aunt and uncle used to have a home in the Ozark Mountains and in this one tree by their deck, hundreds of hummingbirds would swarm during the summer. It was an amazing sight. The hummingbirds landed on my uncle’s arms and even in my aunt’s hair! They also had pigmy goats (I think that is what you call them) in a large pen. My uncle built several jungle gym attachments for them to play on and they named the “kids” after their own kids! My aunt would yell out at them just like she used to yell at her own kids, or she would laugh and say “did you see what she just did” and you’d think she was talking about her child instead of a goat. Those goats were hilarious.
My aunt and I also share a love of playing the piano and organ, as well as singing. Every time we get together I know gospel music will also be in our midst. I honestly think she influenced me so much that she is one of the key reasons I was able to start writing songs and expressing myself in this manner. She is an encourager and that was what I needed to be able to sing what I write. Whenever I visited her home she always asked me to sing at her church as well. We even had a cookout at her church and brought along a keyboard. She talked me into providing the music for the event and I obliged and was very glad that I did when it was all said and done.
I could go on and on about memories like this, but I know that my aunt will most want to be remembered as a Godly wife and mother. My aunt is a very strong christian lady who has withstood heartache, illness, grief, pain and suffering for years. She has always relied on God to help her through the “storms” in life. She and my uncle had one more child after they got married and this is who they live with now and who is their primary caregiver. They all need comfort right now as they await my aunt’s passing. As she said, Jesus is calling her home. Hospice is keeping her very comfortable. She is not in any pain. We will miss her so much. My uncle especially will need prayer to help him in the coming months because he was completed once they got married and how does one prepare to lose part of oneself?
I know that God is daily helping my father-in-law in his grief even as I type this from the passing of my mother-in-law. I have seen many, many blessings in our family that I did not expect since she passed away. I know God also has unexpected blessings awaiting my aunt’s immediate family. He always provides healing and comfort during grief.
Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.