My great-aunt Mary died this week. You would have all like her very much. Boisterous and bubbly, fiery and full of love at the same time. Always had a long story she wanted to share with you. Could be known to break into a song. Sure to require a hug or a kiss.
She always had a name to call us. I was never just Kelly. I was darlin' Kelly or 'our precious Kelly'. Even when she was mad at someone she'd say, "I'm just gonna have to keep on lovin' them in Jesus." That's probably how she felt the time she tried to give me voice lessons. She tried to have me sing "How Great Thou Art" in a soprano. I squawk out something that sounds a little closer to an alto. My musical training lasted one session.
She was the youngest of my grandmother's siblings. Tall (at least compared to me), commanding, with jet black hair. The last time I went to visit my aunt Mary, I hadn't seen her in a while. Walking into her house I was struck speechless. Her black hair was a lighter brown with specks of grey and she looked almost identical to my grandmother. It was like opening a door and seeing someone standing there talking to you that you thought you'd never see again. She liked that she looked more like her sister.
That visit was a special one for me. My mom and my two aunts had gone to visit and eat lunch with her and look at old family photos. My mom had a new wand scanner and she was going to help upload the old pictures. My aunt Mary had said she'd get her pictures out.
Y'all should have seen it. My aunt Mary has a big dining table and it was covered, stacked three high, with large, stuffed photo albums. Everyone was there. Every occasion. Every picture any of us had sent her.
We sat and looked together at those photos and reminisced about times gone by and people we'd known. With each one she'd say, "There's my little..."
"Isn't she/he precious?"
Whether she saw us every day or once in a lifetime.
We were hers.
And to her we were precious.
And she was precious to us.
We will see you--our honey, darlin', sweetie angel. Now you can love us all with Jesus.