My Aunt passed away today. She was my Mom’s sister. She had been on dialysis for years but earlier this year, in June, she had a stroke. Though she survived she was never the same. She could barely talk where people could understand her. She couldn’t walk anymore. She had to be fed with a feeding tube.
About a week ago she had a heart attack. She survived but was being kept alive with machines. I believe she passed this morning around 5 am. My sister Sharon called to give me the news.
My mom had two sisters living in Baytown, Texas where she lives. Vaneva, who passed this morning and Doris, who is the youngest of the three. My earliest memories in life are times spent with these two women.
Aunt Vaneva had six kids and on weekends I was always trying to be at their house. I spent the night every chance I got. I remember piling into their station wagon with the other kids. We’d be making all kinds of noise in the back and uncle Floyd holler at us to quit making so much noise. It was mostly me I’m sure.
I always looked forward to Sundays because this was the day everybody went to BigMoma’s house. Without fail the entire family (in Baytown) would come together to visit BigMoma and BigDaddy. There was always food there. It didn’t matter if you had already eaten at home. You ate again at BigMama’s. And of course, ever now and then BigMoma would call someone to bring here a plate of whatever they had cooked.
One of the reasons I looked forward to these visitations was that My Aunt Vaneva was going to be there. I didn’t have to worry whether or not she would come. All the family always came. Doris however, might have something else to do on Sundays but, I saw here often enough.
Doris was my first constant companion other than my mom. She took me everywhere. I remember she took me to my first funeral. I couldn’t have been more than five years old. The funeral was for a man I knew as Mr. Tamp. I think he had a club-foot. I knew he used crutches to walk. He was the first dead person I’d ever seen. I think I asked Doris, “how is he gonna breath?”- when they closed the casket.
This was my first experience with death. It was also the first time I realized that one day I too would die. It scared me at first but I have come to terms with it. Since Mr. Tamp’s death, I have experienced many deaths in my family. My grandparents are long gone. Great uncles and aunts cousins too have gone down this road. Everyone without exception will go this route.
“What is on the other side?,” I used to wonder. I used to think it was nothing, that you just didn’t exist anymore. Then I learned that there were such places as Heaven and Hell. And I thought that if I was good enough, nice enough, disciplined enough that maybe God would let me into Heaven some day.
Well, to my delight when I finally decided that I really wanted to know one way or the other, I discovered that I could go to God’s heaven. And I didn’t have to prove that I was good enough. He gives righteousness as a gift. As for my sin and the wickedness I keep hidden from people, I discovered He has forgiven me long before I was born. Jesus has removed sin and given me his righteousness.
Thanks to God the Father and His Son Jesus I can look forward to being reunited with all of my family members who have gone on before me. This faith was passed to me and I have passed it to my children. I look forward to a great family reunion one day in the near future.