Today, Jesus took my Aunt Flo home, just four weeks after the doctors told her she had cancer.
Sometimes we forget we live in the tension:
The tension of the here and now along with the eternal.
The tension of living every day to its full potential.
The tension of the big picture filled with tiny images.
When you lose someone you love, you cannot forget the tension.
It is right in your face.
It is found in grief.
In the last few weeks, I was privileged to visit with my family a few times and sit with Aunt Flo. She instructed me, "make every day count!" as she sat in a place where she could not ignore the tension.
Twice I was able to join her, my Uncle Ken, and other family members (depending on the day) for 8pm devotions and prayer. The first time, she was still very strong, and it was her prayers that gave me strength. The second time, she was much weaker, both physically and mentally, and wanted all of us present because, as she announced, she was headed for eternity. Her peace in that moment of clarity amidst confusion granted peace to me. God used her own faith to teach me about my own.
It seems odd that Aunt Flo has left us.
When I was a child, she made me eat tomatoes...which I hated. And I still don't really like them. But she tried, because she knew it was good for me to try. She didn't give in to me, and my only-child ways. I didn't have siblings to keep up with, and when I stayed with her, she treated me like there was no reason I couldn't keep up with my cousins. It made my 6-year old brain frustrated, and created a desire to show her I could keep up.
When I was in college (and really, as long as I've lived in Abbotsford) she'd call me or email me and tell me dinner was waiting for me. She provided me with a home away from home. A place where I could just come and be with family. She was always a good hostess. And always...always...sent me home with flowers or groceries...or both.
When we went to Australia in May, she again took care of me. She and Uncle Ken fed me and housed me...kept telling me it was a gift. I look back now on those two weeks...we all do...and can't believe she probably already had cancer.
We didn't know.
We didn't even guess.
The tension was lost on me at that time.
I couldn't picture this moment then. Not that I should have pictured it, but rather I say this to demonstrate how I ignored the tension: ignored the reality that at any time any of us could be called home; lived life like we'd all be together for years to come. Today reminds me our lives are not our own...they are our Creator's.
I am thankful for my Aunt Flo...for her quirky ways...her loving heart...her giggle...her insistence that your stomach be satisfied, your vases filled, and your fridge overflowing.
And I will miss her...
Until we meet again.
The following video may seem an odd choice...but I just love my aunt's giggle in this moment. We had just arrived to the area where the kangaroos were tame, armed with a couple bags of buns to feed them. The kangaroos flocked to us. I have to smile at my aunt's comment at the end of the video clip...it was so her personality to try and ensure every kangaroo got their fair share.