Sunday, January 29, 2012

Aunt Ruthie

We got word Thursday evening that Aunt Ruthie had just passed on the West Coast, her home through most of her adult life.  She was 92.  With her passing, the generational cohort of my parents is gone.  She was the last link to that generation. It is indeed a puzzling experience to put into words.  I shall be chewing on this for some time.

I love this picture of Aunt Ruthie from a special insert in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (June 17, 1945).  She, Mom and a carload of women had gone to Moberly to attend the parade greeting General Omar Bradley on his victorious return to his hometown.  What an absolutely joyous time this must have been marking the end of World War II.  Those of us who were not part of that time cannot completely know what that was like.

I have only known "snapshots" of Aunt Ruthie throughout my life.  Over the years, the geography between our lives made visits and contact infrequent.  However a deep and abiding "tenderness" quickly transcended  space and time.

I was able to connect with Aunt Ruthie regularly these last few years, especially between 2007 and 2010, during times when Dad and Mom were on decline and passing.  I cherish those special times that we shared which were often weekly, at times daily.  It was the most interaction that I had had with her over the course of my life.

In those last years, she freely shared what I would call her own "snapshots of joy" from her magic box of stories over the years.  Frail and elderly, she was increasingly home bound but it did not limit her story or her expressions of love and joy.  In our numerous precious phone visits, she might be telling stories of Mother and Dad, Grandma Lottie and Grandpa Fred (their parents), growing up adventures of the 3 sisters, my cousin Susan and me when we were babes in their arms or in the big buggy out for a stroll.  She was very involved in prayer circles and Bible Study.  Her love of her Maker and her Lord and Savior were bedrock for her life. She would often tell me stories of her love of nature and her wonder of creation. Beauty abounded.

It seems OK she is gone but weird too.  I can imagine she had a rousing welcome from the 2 sisters and their husbands and their parents.  Maybe they even had a triumphant parade for her.  I have shed tears and will shed more.  But mostly I just feel wrapped in joy, by them all.

Richard noted that the next morning after her passing the Missouri sky was filled with a pinkish color all over.  She loved Missouri and never lost her feeling of it as home.  On that morning after her passing, it was as if the glorious Sunrise was everywhere.  It makes perfect sense to me that after Aunt Ruthie's passing the sky would be filled with Roses, of which she was one.

I send my love and prayers to her children Susan and Jeff and their families.  Life is short, precious and sweet.  Lessons abound for our own growing and coming into our fullness.  And we each grieve this loss and move on to take on yet another place in our lives that we never imagined we would.  May we do all these things in a good way.

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