My first memories of this aunt find her in my childhood home for part of a year doing those abstract adult things like laundry and cooking. She helped when Cancer called on Mommy and changed the background on that snapshot of normal life.
She bought me Timbits and taught me how to play piano. She only took me to Level Two, and I’ve only crawled to second grade on my own, but gifts like these aren’t measureable. Piano awakened my love of music theory, sight-reading and writing new songs.
Years later, I was the part-time nanny pushing her children on swings, teaching her daughter the dangerous joy of fire poles, hanging her laundry on the line. Something about her struck a chord deep within me. I realize now it was her sense of balance. What was important to her found its place. What wasn’t important, was given some consideration and then dismissed with an easy laugh.
In the afternoons, while her littles slept, she rested with a coffee with cream, a couch, and her Bible or some other inspiration. I am learning the beauty of this discipline of rest.
Yet now she’s facing more stillness than any mother would ever want. On a familiar road her life turned unfamiliar. A younger person, heading who knows where, lost control on ice. Life, most precarious, came crashing head to head with death. Firemen pulled her terror-stricken daughter and battered son from the wreckage before they cut her out of it.
Dear Aunt, your broken bones and weakened muscles and nerves will take months to heal. I hope your spirit remains whole. I pray the rest you took in those afternoons will have prepared your heart with peace and the impossibility of joy. May this little note remind you, like your coffee smoothed with cream that the day’s not over yet.
I’m asking for you, aunt, the healing of your body and the growing of your soul.