Monday, September 29, 2008

My Aunt Jane

Yesterday, while in the Quad Cities, I got to see one of the most incredible people I know. My aunt Jane married my uncle Martin in the summer of 1969. Before that, he was a drinker, smoker and in all probability a womanizer. He was married to my father's sister "Bette" who was probably the most disagreeable, nasty woman I have ever met. She was a smoker and drinker with a filthy mouth that had no use for kids. She was my dad's age and all of us kids couldn't stand her. Her contempt for us was very palpable. She had a nasty little chihuahua that bit us constantly. I WOULD NOT have blamed Martin if he strayed, but it's pure conjecture if he did. She died of cancer in teh winter of 1969 and he immediately found solace in a mutual friend. Aunt Jane introduced him to the Lord and in the long run, peace and tranquility. He immediately changed his whole persona. He quit smoking, drinking and swearing and developed a love and goodness that was always there, but she was the catalyst for his transfomation into a man of the Lord. She's an incredible woman and she just celebrated her 90th birthday in April. I never call in advance because she will always have some excuse for me not to see her. I stopped by right after a nap, she was groggy and not quite with it. I don't think she recognized me at first. As we talked, I could tell she was having a difficult time getting her bearings. She was ready to get lunch, so I told her I would be back after lunch and we would go "see" Martin. Martin died ten years ago and while I remembered how to get to the cemetary, I didn't remember where he was. So, with some help from my cousin Robbie, I found it and was ready to go get Jane and take her to see Martin. For being 90, she's a spry gal who all the time told me how much she missed driving and how she could still drive better than most. I believed her, for sure. After visiting Martin, she asked if we could go driving around to visit old residences and places she knew. How fortunate I was to be her companion for two hours on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. We went by two old houses she lived with Martin, her old house that her dad built, her old school and an old residence that had long ago been torn down. Each time, her describing to me the memories she had in each place. She told me about how the whole family had built a garage and how nice it was that it's still standing, where she walked on her way to school and generally reminiscing about long ago held memories and dreams. I don't know if I'll ever see her again, her being 90 and all, but when I dropped her back off at her assissted living residence, we both cried on our beautiful, wonderful day and how two old friends relived a life filled with grace and love. I cried uncontrollably as I left, thanking God for an opportunity to do this. I cried about as hard as I am now putting these words into print. I love you with all my heart Christina Jane Martin. You have meant more to me in my life than just about anyone I know. I learned so much from you and can never repay the love, hope and beauty you've added to my heart. I remember when I cried at my mother's deathbed, she said to me..."Who are you crying That's selfish. Her? Know that at anytime, she'll go to a better place." For me, it was two hours, for her, maybe one last times to live a life in reverse. Thank you, Lord for the chance.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

She is a wonderful woman who will always be "young." Nic.

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