A couple of years ago, My Aunt Lydia called me and asked me to write and speak on her behalf at her funeral. I told her I would do so only under the condition that she promise me that she wasn’t going to leave us anytime soon. She giggled and said, “Just promise me you’ll do it”. Today I honor that promise.
On June 22nd1938, one of the sweetest ladies to walk this earth was born. She lived a full life of laughter, love and joy. Though I saw her go through many tough times and trials, she never faltered to remain her happy, lively, joyous self. She was kind to all those that she met and she dearly LOVED children. Being a Teacher was very important to her and anything she could do to help a child’s life be better – she did it. My Aunt Lydia was the best of the best. I saw others treat her unkindly only to see her respond in love, every time. To my knowledge, there was not a person who met her who did not immediately like her.
To give you just a small insight into her character, I’d like to share with you a couple of stories.
When my mother was dying and it seemed like my whole world was crashing in – My Aunt Lydia showed up, in Her true fashion, to help me as much as she could. Unfortunately, she quietly parked behind my suburban. When I received a call and had to rush out to take care of the matter, I quickly backed out of the driveway without looking behind me and plowed into the side of Aunt Lydia’s pretty new car. I went in to tell her about it – that I was sorry and would give her my insurance information when I returned. She very calmly, kindly, and lovingly said, “OK”. After several hours I returned and went in to hand her my information – she turned to me and said, “It’s ok, I don’t need it, you have enough to deal with – it’s just a car. I’ll have John pull the dent out”. Then she gave me a much needed hug – she always understood… Rarely do we find such kindness and love and genuine forgiveness in others, especially when we need it most. The dent is still in the car, she never had it fixed.
When I was a little girl I used to look at her in awe. She was the most beautiful lady I’d ever seen, and she ALWAYS seemed to be smiling and laughing. I have so many memories of her infectious giggle and her head back in full laughter. She loved to play games, tease kindly, laugh and seemed to have a great time whatever she was doing. She was ALWAYS a lady, and her faith in God never faltered no matter what her circumstances were. I had a wonderful mother, but my Aunt Lydia was a very close ‘second’ and she was truly one of my best friends. I spent many summers at her home with her – she was always so much fun to be around. She made everyone feel so welcome in her life.
She was there for me when I needed her most, and there was no one else around to help. It didn’t matter how tired she was or how badly she felt – she stood up and stood beside me strong and faithful. I have heard the same from just about everyone who knew her – we always knew we could count on her. And she wouldn’t just help you – but she’d genuinely LOVE you, hug you, and laugh with you all the way trough it. I never once heard her judge anyone, she accepted people for who they were – and she loved them – plain and simple. It wasn’t spoken – it was something you just FELT immediately with her. Whatever you needed that she was capable of – she’d do it – no questions asked – then she’d leave with a kind hug and a smile. One of her absolute favorite things to do was DANCE. If there was any type of music playing – she’d be a jiggling, n boogying around the house, singing and giggling. Most of us know that she loved Elvis Presley and all of his music, but not all of us got to see how much she really ENJOYED it. 🙂
I am thankful to have known one of God’s greatest gifts and to have had her presence of love in my life and in my children’s lives. Her example of true and genuine love cannot be matched by anyone. I have yet to see a finer example. She was rare and beautiful. She was a devoted wife and mother, and loved all her family and extended family dearly. Her two son’s; John & David were her absolute pride and joy. She cherished every moment with them always. She rarely forgot a Birthday, Anniversary, or any other important date and she usually made sure that she had a card for the person(s) and occasion.
I will miss her terribly, especially her laughter – but I do know I’ll see her again one day. My second story is about the end of her journey here with us. One week prior to her leaving us, she requested that many of her friends and family to come see her. She knew fully where she was headed and I believe she wanted to say ‘good-bye’ to many of us and let us know that she would be ok. While speaking with her, she suddenly asked me “where is Austin & Brandon – I want to see them now”. (Aunt Lydia has been a very large part of my son’s lives since they were born. She spent many Easter’s with them coloring eggs, and going to Easter Egg Hunts and it seemed that she could not get enough of them whenever she was with them). I stood outside the door as she spoke with them and I’ll share with you a part of what she told them. Ignoring her own illness and how she felt, for a short time span she suddenly ‘transformed’ into her usual perky self. She smiled at them, and asked them how they were doing and what they’d been up to – as if she wasn’t even ill. They jabbered and chatted with her like usual, and then she told them in her usual perky voice, “Don’t be sad. I’m going to go be with Grama and Pappa soon and we are gonna be dancing up in Heaven and having a really good time. So don’t worry about me – I’ll be fine”. They agreed with her, and laughed, and chatted a bit more before giving their parting hugs. Her Faith NEVER faltered.
I believe with all my heart that her words are true. On April 4th, 2010 (Easter Sunday) as she parted with us in this life, I believe that she entered the Gates of Heaven into her eternal life with Jesus Christ. We know how much she loved Angels, and I believe there were many present to accompany her. In a new body, free of pain and disease, she danced her way through, jiggling and singing to Elvis, she then ran and jumped into the arms of her Savior. At that moment, I am certain that He whispered,
“Welcome Home, Well Done My Good And Faithful Servant”.
Robin R. Robbins
This is the video I made to honor her memory: