first, i never get phone calls, especially that early in the morning so i immediately knew something was wrong. it was mamaw calling to tell me aunt sister had passed away in the night. her birthday was just last week...
my mamaw is the youngest of 10 children and her sister, ruth, was the oldest. you can imagine how much like a mom she was to mamaw. she was even her teacher while mam was in school. all the siblings called her sister as well as calling their oldest brother, brother. i guess it stuck because that's all they have ever been known as. i guess it sounds odd to other people when they hear us say "aunt sister" and "uncle brother" but it was never odd for me.
aunt sister and i used to write letters to one another every week. they'd be pages long sometimes. i think i started doing this because she always wrote mam letters and i would see them laying on the mantle. one day i decided i wanted to write her as well, so i got the address off one of the letters and sent my letter out later that day. i can't even remember how old i was -- maybe middle school? anyway, we kept up with the correspondence for years, all the way up to my college years. at that point, she was getting a bit forgetful and would write the same things or lose the letter she'd started, find it a few days later and start writing on it again. i loved getting those letters in the mail. i have a very wide sentimental streak so i saved all the letters she sent me. i have them tied with a ribbon on the table in drew's room and just had them out looking at them a few days ago. they made me smile still....i guess they did their job. :)
i know this isn't a christmas theme today, but she was a blessing to mamaw, to big mom and to me. i think i am very much like one of her daughters, sissy, and i've always loved that. she lived a difficult life at times and i'm sure she's in a better place now.
on the way to work when i got off the phone with mam, i couldn't help but cry a little...just nostalgia i suppose. i also thought of how fitting it was that though she passed, another little life will come into this world in her place. i am sure she would be thrilled to know her place in this world would be filled by a sweet child....sometimes, that's what makes the loss of a loved one okay, the fact that another will get the chance to enjoy the sweetness of that new life.
Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,
And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.
I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.
- Emily Dickinson