Those Special Women

Her children rise up to praise her;
her husband, too, extols her.

Proverbs 31:28

My husband’s aunt passed away a year ago just prior to her 102nd birthday. Aunt Mary was a true matriarch who held her own until the very end of her life. The only exception was her one hundredth birthday party which she told her children not to have. When they insisted, Aunt Mary insisted as well. She would allow only a very small gathering. For once, her children didn’t listen to her! It was a grand celebration that even Aunt Mary enjoyed.

When my husband’s cousins recently sold Aunt Mary’s home, memories filled me up. Though I’m the in-law in all of this, the family who occupied that home welcomed me into their lives. Because of the distance between them, she and my husband’s mom spoke over the phone frequently. Afterward, my husband’s mom quickly called him to share the latest family news. Of course, he shared the same with me. And so it went for decades…

You know, there’s something to be said for the matriarchs in our families. My own clan boasts several who resemble Aunt Mary in their determination and their immeasurable capacities to love. They lead us in strong, but nurturing ways, each in her own way. Though not one of them is perfect, each one certainly leaves her indelible mark on us with loving precision. In the end, each of these women did the best she could and I am most grateful. After all, they’ve given me a peek at God’s feminine side which I might otherwise have missed.

Loving God, thank you for the special women who enrich our lives.

©2018 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

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A Century Celebrated

They carried to him all those afflicted
with various diseases and racked with pain:
the possessed, the lunatics, the paralyzed.
He cured them all.

Matthew 4:24

Yesterday, my husband and I traveled two hours to join his Aunt Mary for her 100th birthday celebration. I enjoyed the amazing fall colors which transformed this typically monotonous drive. While absorbing the beauty around me, poignant memories of many loved ones passed emerged. Though I am certain of their current bliss, the sting of their absence remains as well. As I made a mental list of those who would be absent from this celebration, memories of every sort and circumstance prompted tears.

Aunt Mary didn’t want a party on this particular birthday. Eventually, her persistent children convinced her to allow them to have cake and coffee for “a few people.” I guessed that Aunt Mary was also thinking about those who are no longer with us. Indeed, more of her family has passed away then remains. Still, as the afternoon unfolded, Aunt Mary was as gracious and appreciative as she could be. Somehow, those who were present to her filled the gaps in her heart for a little while. This time, tears of joy flowed.

Aunt Mary’s century-long life boasts joys and sorrows alike. Still, I think she agrees that every year has been worth it. All the while, the One who cured them all so long ago, has brought peace to Aunt Mary as well.

Loving God, bless Aunt Mary and all of those you have given her to love with your healing peace, today and always.

©2015 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved