Since the original posted too early, no sweat, I just changed the title.
I am traveling to the Florida Panhandle for the funeral of my favorite aunt, Bertha Smith. I have dreaded this moment for several months. As her health deteriorated, we knew this day was near.
Letting go of loved ones due to death is difficult. We selfishly want them to live eternally in this life but that can never be. My aunt endured pain during her illness. I love her more than I wanted her to suffer so I had to embrace the freedom she realized through her transition.
Funerals are typically sad and happy occasions. Sad because of the physical loss of a loved one and happy because distant relatives and friends are reunited again.
I am going to miss Aunt Bert. She was a fiercely independent woman who let nothing and no one stand in her way if she wanted to get something done.
When I was a young child in the 1960's before integration in our hometown, Aunt Bert would take my cousin Debra and I to the movie theater. We lived in a small town; there was only one theater. Blacks sat in the balcony and whites sat on the main floor.
Sometimes there were minor disturbances at the theater but I was never afraid when going to the theater with Aunt Bert. She usually had two things with her --- a fried fish sandwich and her pistol. The aroma of Aunt Bert's fish sandwich and popcorn and watching that huge movie screen are some of my favorite childhood memories.
Aunt Bert had that pioneer - warrior woman spirit. She was kind but didn't allow anyone to take advantage of her. During her senior years she and Debra practically rebuilt their house themselves. They didn't do the electrical work but they did some of the plumbing and everything else. I love that about her.
I also loved that she could sew and she could really cook. Aunt Bert preferred to make her sewing patterns using newspaper or a paper bag. I don't know of anyone in the family today that is a seamstress or tailor. She also cooked old school style with no written recipes, just her memory. It was no secret that I loved Aunt Bert's homemade biscuits and would shamelessly ask her to make a pan for me to take back to South Florida. I am going to miss that woman.
Aunt Bert's transition means the rest of the family must readjust our lives. She is no longer with us in the natural but she is still with us and within us. Aunt Bert nurtured me, protected me, advised me and most of all she loved me.
Thank you, Aunt Bert. I love you. Rest in Peace.