Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Tribute to a God-honoring Life

My Aunt Jackie passed away last night. She had cancer. Today I don't wish to dwell on the horror of that disease. Today I wish to honor her life.

My memories of Aunt Jackie are interwined unrepentantly with family. Whenever we spent time together, it was almost always within the context of family gatherings...cooking Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner at Mama B's house; opening presents together at the Brown Christmas; spending time at their house when my family was home from overseas on furlough.

Because my parents were missionaries, our families didn't see each other as often as we might have had we lived in the same town. But that just made the times we did get together that much more memorable and special.

My Aunt Jackie loved to laugh. She loved her family. Her husband and her daughters were so very important to her. She had the most beautiful smile, and as I was growing up, beautiful long hair (which I always thought was so gorgeous). I also remember my Aunt Jackie never treating us as just "kids". What I mean by that is, I never felt unimportant or patronized by my aunt. She had a gift of speaking with young people (and anyone for that matter) on just the right level, where they felt their opinions were respected.

I have yet to learn that lesson with my own daughter.

In later years, once my cousins and I had grown up and had children of our own, the times we spent together were even fewer. But I remember one particular conversation in which I expressed how I wished we could get together more often...it was just that we were all so busy.

She said, "I know, hon. And I promise not to think less of you if you promise to not think less of me. We all know we love each other even if we can't see each other more than even once a year!"

I knew she understood.

We were able to spend some time together this past Christmas. I am thankful for that. I also visited her twice before she passed away. Even in her state, she was still gracious, asking about my family.

Thank you for allowing me to share my thoughts and memories. My Aunt Jackie was a beautiful lady. She will be missed by those who knew her, and the lives she touched are better for having known her. I take comfort in knowing she was a believer in the God of Salvation, and that even now, she is in heaven rejoicing with the saints.

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