Living A Life That Matters
Her young grandsons stood around - sometimes fidgeting as if not quite sure what they were suppose to do be doing, other times they took turns sitting next to their mom on the small but comfortable couch.
Her husband, Al, stood close by, just a few feet away from the shiny teal blue casket that now held his beloved wife of 52 years.
The extra tight hugs, the occasional flow of tears, as visitors paid their last respects and extended their condolences to a bereaved husband, were a sobering reminder of why family, friends and neighbors were gathered there.
Technically, Al and Mary Keffer were not really my husband Bill's aunt and uncle.
Al was my mother-in-law's cousin. But that made no difference. For as long as I've known Bill they have been Aunt Mary and Uncle Al to us.
Aunt Mary's passing took us all by surprise. Like most busy families we sometimes lost track of each other on a day to day basis. We'd enjoy each others company at weddings and other family get togethers. Sometimes we'd run into Uncle Al at the park where we'd end up doing more talking than walking, which was always a pleasant opportunity to catch up on family news.
The diagnosis of end stage lung cancer and the brief, but futile, battle that followed is the reason we were brought together to say good bye to the matriarch of the Keffer clan.
A lifetime of photos decorated tables and stood on easels, each one recalling happier days - family milestones that make up the moments worth celebrating.
Aunt Mary and Uncle Al were married for 52 years. Now, a marriage that can endure that many decades is bound to have weathered a storm or two. But if the clouds ever rained on their bliss they didn't linger for long. Throughout all those years you never saw one without the other. They were always a team, through thick and thin - through sunshine or rain.
I thought of this as I watched Uncle Al, suddenly solo.
The older I get; the more wakes I attend, I am reminded that no matter what your relationship to someone, when they are gone the recollections of good times come rushing back - the years adding up to a mountain of happy memories, remembered as if they happened yesterday.
When Bill and I tied the knot, over 30 years ago, it was Aunt Mary and Uncle Al who added some special touches to our small and simple ceremony and reception.
They took turns playing photographer- taking all the wedding photos. They also supplied us with printed wedding announcements.
I recently came across the remnants of a yellowed and tattered napkin from our wedding day. Outlined in silver is a silhouette of a bride and groom, just below it our new married name and special date etched out in fancy lettering, also a special keepsake from a thoughtful aunt and uncle.
The kind acts and good deeds of others is what you remember long after their presence is gone.
Time stops for no one. Sooner or later we will all pass this way to our eternal home.
If there is one meaningful message to take with us, from each good bye, it is perhaps simply this: If you live your life rich in purpose and filled with kindness it will be worth remembering.
A kind and generous woman, Mary Keffer lived a life worth remembering.
~ Kathy Whirity ~
Bio: Kathy Whirity is a newspaper columnist who shares her sentimental musings on family life.
As recent empty nesters Kathy and her husband, Bill, are discovering, with sweet surprise,
that the honeymoon isn't over, it's only just begun-again.
You may reach Kathy by e-mail~ email@example.com
Please visit her web site~ www.kathywhirity.com
[ By: Kathy Whirity Copyright © 2007 (firstname.lastname@example.org) -- submitted by: Kathy Whirity ]
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