Monday, August 10, 2009

My Aunt Marsha

I have been feeling sick all day. My whole body aches, and every time I think about taking a bite of food I feel a lump form in my throat that warns me to reconsider. I just got home from work after receiving the phone call I have dreaded all week. My Aunt Marsha died today. As I walked through the house to the back door to let the dogs outside, I grabbed a tangerine popsicle and decided to join the dogs in the back yard.

The weather today is perfect. It’s that warm, gentle kind of sunshine that makes you want to stay outside all day, made even better as the sun has just begun to sink low on the horizon. The sunlight and the breeze are filtering through the trees surrounding our porch, and the only noise has been the soothing rustle of leaves and the occasional footfalls of one of our dogs padding leisurely across the deck.

Exhausted from the weight of the recent stress and restless nights, I sunk heavily into a chair on the deck. As I did, the cell phone in my pocket accidentally pressed up against the arm of the chair, pushing the play button on the front of my phone. The sound of the Dixie Chicks singing “I Hope” greeted me, and I smiled. I pulled the phone out of my pocket, turned up the volume and set it next to me. I am a very music oriented girl, and I have the tendency to pair moments with music, like an on-going soundtrack to life. I wasn’t even thinking about music at the time, but that song was strangely appropriate. I don’t think I could’ve picked a better soundtrack for that particular moment. It kind of felt like it was a little goodbye from my aunt.

I sat there watching the sky and eating my popsicle, enjoying the feeling of the breeze against my tear streaked face. I just kept thinking about Marsha. It wasn’t exactly traditional, but I felt like I was having my own little tribute to her and I think she would appreciate that.

My Aunt Marsha has dealt with illness for years. She had kidney disease that forced her to suffer through a kidney transplant, and years of dialysis. That wasn’t why she died, at least not directly, but it was a big part of how she had to live. She was often outspoken and stubborn, as are most of the women in our family. She was also passionate, smart, sensitive, funny, kind, generous, affectionate, and compassionate. Even when she was struggling, she always wanted to share with others to show that she cared. She was fiery, just like a redhead is supposed to be. She stood up for what she believed in, and she defended the people she cared about. She loved her sons, Billy and Erik, more than anything. She was an animal lover (another thing that runs in our family) and has always treated her pets like family. I feel like she was robbed of the chance to do a lot of the things she wished for in her life. My heart aches for her, and I pray that she’ll find the peace and comfort that was so hard found for her in this life.

In honor of my Aunt Marsha, I remind you to take more moments to enjoy your life. Even if it’s just something as simple as sitting on your porch, enjoying a popsicle on a warm summer day.

I hope for more love, more joy and laughter
I hope you'll have more than you'll ever need
I hope you'll have more happy ever afters
I hope you can live more fearlessly
And you can lose all your pain and misery
I hope

"I Hope" -- Dixie Chicks

Rest in peace, Marsha. We love you and you will be missed.

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