Sunday, February 6, 2011

Celebrating a Life Well Lived

Ed spoke at Aunt Gladys' funeral last week, reminding us of her legacy to each of us. 
Blessed those that mourn for they shall be comforted.

I knew this day was coming but I never thought it would get here.  You would have thought I would be better prepared.  But how do you prepare yourself to say goodbye to someone who has been a force of nature in your life, as Aunt Gladys has in mine and in many of yours.

I remember years ago when my kids were small.  We were travelling to Owensboro and someone was complaining.  I said, “One of these days we’ll be coming here and Aunt Gladys will be gone.”  Debbie said, “Yes, she’ll probably be at the mall”.

And so it was for many years, but this time she’s now gone and we all have a hole to fill in our lives. If we mourn today and shed a tear, it’s not for her but for ourselves because she is as well-off today as she has ever been.  We join together to comfort each other, to celebrate her life so well-lived and to reflect about what made her life so meaningful, so successful, so rewarding and so long. 

First, though, I would like to thank Steve and Gay for unstinting devotion, sacrifice and love that made Aunt Gladys’ last years so wonderful.  My real worry is that now that Aunt Gladys is gone, who’s going to punch Steve’s buttons.  She loved to get Steve’s goat because she loved to have fun.

Just last month we came for a Christmas meal.  Maggie brought her friend Nate who had never been to Owensboro and never met Aunt Gladys.  Gay asked Aunt Gladys to say grace and Aunt Gladys launched right into it, among other things, thanking God, for bringing the Galloways and, she said, this one odd one, referring to Nate.  It was a blessing I doubt Nate will forget.  But, I know she did it for fun. 

She was one of the most optimistic people I have ever known.  Well into her nineties, she froze snowballs in winter to save for her Christmas-in-July party. A few years ago she planted gooseberry bushes knowing it would take two years for them to bear fruit.  Just recently she was thinking about what she was going to wear for this year’s Thunder over Maple party.  And, I’ll guarantee that she had other plans for today.

She was a skillful seamstress.  She valued her craft and her usefulness.  Into her nineties, her skill kept her in touch with family, friends and the world. 

Lastly, her happiness and her long life are a testament to an abiding interest in other people.  She always cared more about other people that she did herself.  This, I believe, is the key to happiness.

Aunt Gladys would be very proud if we were to take these lessons as her legacy so she will live on in us. 

Oh, and if you get to Heaven and your robe doesn’t fit, I know someone who can take care of it for you, golden thread – no extra charge.

Celebrating her 81st birthday with a hike at Cumberland Falls

At 95, dancing the night away at Natalee's wedding

No comments:

Post a Comment