An angel got her wings this week. My aunt passed quietly in her sleep and she will be greatly missed. She proved that it isn't always the big things in life that leave a lasting mark, but also the tiniest of gestures that leave a forever impression. This is one of the fondest memories.
I was born, raised, and will die a priss-pot.... That's just how it is. My mom and dad both came from large families with 8 siblings each. We frequently spent time with mom's family, but we rarely spent time with dad's family. Why? I think it was because my mom was uncomfortable with broadening her borders. Although those who knew her probably didn't realize it, she was held captive by social anxiety and a plethora of insecurities. When we did visit dad's family, she insisted on dressing me up in frilly dresses, socks and black patent shoes. She didn't dress me up (as much) for her family, but with dad's, it was full throttle bells and whistles. One summer she took a trip with one of her sisters. After dropping her off, we went to dad's brother's house for a fish fry. We got there early in the day and everyone seemed happy to have us come and actually be able to stay for more than a few minutes. My cousin wanted me to go outside to play, but of course I wasn't dressed for outdoor activity. I remember my aunt Doris saying.... "I bet we could find you some clothes so you can go outside to play" Sure enough she found some jeans, a shirt and some shoes that were made for playing. The rest of the day was spent outside in the good ole Oklahoma heat. My cousin introduced me to the art of crawdad fishing (or catching). For someone who was used to playing house and dress up.... Crawdad fishing was way outside my expertise and I LOVED IT!! When the time came for us to clean up for the fish fry, I remember walking through the kitchen and hesitantly asking aunt Doris..... "Are people going to be hugging me and stuff tonight?" She put the towel she was holding down beside the sink and bent down beside me..... "Not if you don't want them to honey." I told her I didn't mind the hugging, but if there was going to be hugging I should probably change clothes. I knew mom wouldn't be happy if the whole family saw me in my rough and tumble state of disarray.
This morning when I visiting dad for coffee, we talked about that day and how much fun I had. He said that aunt Doris had told him how much she enjoyed watching me have fun and get dirty. Hands down that was one of the best days of my life. Aunt Doris made me feel so comfortable and accepted. She made it feel natural to walk outside the boundaries of what was normal for me. The thing I remember most, was just a kind, gentle spirit which left a forever impression on my heart. My sweet aunt passed in her sleep to join her husband, siblings, and her children that passed before her. I have no doubt that she feels right at home which is fitting because that is how she made others feel.