She was the "family glue". She was the dispenser of laughs and good humor. She was the kitchen wonder who could have a "spread on the table" faster than an unannounced visitor could walk from the drive to the back porch. She as the listening ear that all members of the family shared their secrets with, and knew those secrets would go no further. Her phone rang at all hours, and folks dropped in at any time...she knew no strangers and anyone she met she managed to turn into a friend. Hers was the home with all the little comfort nooks...great cushy chairs here, rockers there, swings here, little corners inside and out her home that invited a person to simply curl up...relax. Hers was the home so comfortable that my father, when needing a break, would come to her house and dare her to tell anyone else in the family he was in town until he had rested and was up to "visiting". She was the one who would, with sparkling eyes, tell you your visit to her was "better than a dose of medicine", when in fact, you knew it was quite the other way around.
Today my aunt's laughter was finally silenced. The aunt who cuddled with me forty years ago in a great soft feather bed and lulled me to sleep with "fuzzy wuzzy bear" stories...the aunt who for years was my escape from the stresses of young motherhood and a demanding career...the aunt who listened to my secrets...who naughtily shared a smoke....who charmed my children with her "red" room and "blue" room and "lavender" room....the aunt who never forgot to have on hand my children's "favorite treats"....the aunt who was the "family glue" has moved on to another family. Typically, she handled her illness with stoicism, laughing in the face of it, refusing to accept it, never speaking of it or inviting talk of it, pushing herself to the limit and giving to her family right up until there was nothing left of her to give. Pleasant aromas drifted from her kitchen until she could no longer stand long enough to cook, and her welcome rang out to an open back door long after she was able to walk to greet visitors.
My Aunt Kay's body died today. But nothing else about her did. I have no doubt her laughter is ringing as she is herself welcomed as she spent a lifetime welcoming. And there is no doubt that the many of us, family and
friends, who were comforted in her warm cheerful presence will keep her alive, revisiting many times the memories she made for us.
"Come in here!" she would say laughing, greeting me at the door, "And what do you mean...staying away so long??" Well, Aunt Kay, I don't suppose I was ever "away"... your presence has warmed me all of my life, whether I was physically in it or remembering it when I was away...and now you are away...and your presence warms me still, and always will. Goodbye, dear aunt...till we meet again.
(Note: Afternoon Rocking messages are meant to be passed on, meant to be
shared...simply share as written without alterations...and in entirety.