Well gang, you probably think I found another calling by this point, after having not posted anything new in over a week. Let me explain:
I’ve never been exceptionally close to my father’s side of the family because we lived 11 hours away from them and were lucky to see them every 1-2 years as we were growing up. But my Aunt Theresa, she was one of the ones who always made me feel special–she made everyone feel special. This lady lived in the tiny town of Senoia, Georgia and I’ll never forget the times we journeyed from Arkansas to Atlanta for various holidays. She was a ray of sunshine on a cloudy day, and you were most certainly never hungry in her presence!
This same lady made the 11 hour journey to watch me graduate high school, drove to and from Knoxville twice for both my undergrad and master’s graduation ceremonies, and then made the journey again for my wedding. Maybe two years before my wedding, my Aunt was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). Despite all the changes and the toll the disease was taking on her, she came anyway. And those pictures I have in the photo album are worth every bit of a 1,000 words to me now.
My mom told me to stay in Ireland because she knew how expensive a last-minute flight to Atlanta would cost me. And while she was right about the price, she probably knew I wouldn’t stay put — not for a lady who had done so many things for me. She always found a way, so, in my heart of hearts I knew I must, I wanted to, do the same. And so I hopped that plane and said my goodbyes.
Death has a way of bringing people closer. After the service, my family (mom, dad, cousins, Aunts, Uncles, etc.) all crowded into her house in Senoia and I sat outside for hours with my cousins, reminiscing of all the good times we’d had as kids and the sadness was lifted as we filled her house and her yard with laughter of all the crazy memories we’d had from visiting her. And of course, even though she was gone, we had a house full of food and desserts.
I’m safely back in Ireland now, where life will resume and plunge forward. Shine your star Aunt Theresa. You are now in a better place, but you will never be forgotten. Until we meet again, Aunt Theresa: