Yesterday my Aunt Jean passed away. I didn’t see it coming, frankly. She’s been sick many times and with prayers from so many, she always had the grace of God behind her healing and pulled through. But yesterday was her “Going Home” day and our prayers were answered differently.
It was a tough day yesterday. I heard of 5 deaths, ranging from an infant, to a young man in his 20’s, to a girl battling cancer, to an expert in his field, and finally, sadly, to my Aunt. My heart was so heavy with that news.
Aunt Jean was actually my aunt in my birth family. At the age of 19 she recognized me out at the mall. I was shocked but as I grew to know her, I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised. She always had her eye out for me and my siblings who were placed in an orphanage years ago. She had the memory of an elephant – she could remember details and tell stories like no other. Although she hadn’t seen me since I was 3, she said she knew my eyes and that was it. I must admit, I wasn’t always emotionally ready for the heaping and mixing of birth family and adopted (what I call my “real” family). And through the years I bobbed and weaved in and out of Aunt Jean’s hugs. It didn’t really matter. She was steadfast. She was patient. She was faithful. And when, in my 40’s I was finally ready to be whole, she was waiting for me without hesitation. She shared pictures, and stories … and love. I will never forget her generous heart and her happy laugh. She was an angel to me in many ways. We used to fantasize about what it would have been like if she had been my birth mother instead of my Aunt. Those were fun little fantasies and I knew, there was something special in her that allowed her reach out through the turmoil and the years to recognize me.
My heart is heavy from this loss. There were still words and stories unspoken. But I count myself blessed for having been given the chance to get to know her. I got to cry with her, laugh with her, break bread with her, and pray with her. What could be better. And now, I know she is singing and dancing with the love of her life, Uncle Norbert, as they praise at Heaven’s throne. I love you Aunt Jean. As a fellow writer I wrote this simple little poem for you.
See you on the other side! Be BLESSED!
“The tears I shed are bittersweet,
And with hand to heart I pray.
That your joy in heaven be complete,
As we say good bye today.
The hole we feel as our lives go on,
Will only hurt a while.
I’ll keep my eyes on eternity’s gate,
Where I’ll once again see your smile.”
~ Barbara Bernard Miller