I spent years with no conversation with many members of my family. After my divorce and remarriage I found my new wife to be quite the family type. She was next to youngest of five. I was oldest of five.
She encouraged me to reconnect with family because they are important. I know that. By this time I’d lost two brothers and my parents. I had two aunts left. One was my dad’s sister and the other was my mom’s sister. My dad’s sister was in ill health and passed away not long after my now wife and I married and it left my mom’s sister. . .my Aunt Doris.
She was my very last aunt. She was a hero to me for these few simple reasons. She beat cancer four times. She broke several major bones in her latter years, buried 3 children and two husbands but she still put in the effort to put on that lipstick and holiday appropriate broach.
Aunt Doris was the accessory queen with a closet full of shoes to prove it, heels in her younger days and something comfortable but glitzy later in life. Doris was a social butterfly. She loved her church family, managed the West Durham Senior Center in the 90’s, enjoyed monthly lunches with friends and was sure to be decked out at every family function. Doris loved her family most of all and stated that she was most proud of raising her family and having grandchildren. We all believe that her great-grand kids were secretly her favorite!
She loved cooking for her family and made a mean fried chicken. Christmas Eve at Doris’ home was a tradition the family looked forward to. She often talked about not having many toys growing up but made up for lost time with her beloved doll collection. Being the lady she was, it was rare to hear her utter a curse word but every now and then she would let one slip and it was always hilarious when she did. She made sure the family prayed before every meal, a tradition her 8-year old great-grandson Jack picked up and continues to enforce.
I think it’s best to end with a few quotes by Aunt Doris:
“Dean Martin can put his shoes under my bed any day of the week.”
“April, do you really think you need to eat that other piece of cake?”
“Didn’t make you any prettier either” (in response to a woman bragging that a cigarette had never touched her lips)
“With my fingers” (when you would ask her how she felt that day)
“I don’t like my name, I wish I had a fun name like Cathy or Marie”
Everyone who knew Doris experienced her zest for life that kept her going for 94 precious years. She will be greatly missed here on earth, but she undoubtedly leaves a legacy that will not be forgotten. Until we see you again, we love you.
Most of the above was in her obituary and written in most part by her granddaughter, April.
As for me. . .She was much like my mom. My mom would fight for me to the last breath. I’m sure of the same for my aunt for her family. My mom also had a saying “I brought you into this world and I can take you out if you push me”. Same again. Aunt Doris spoke her mind.
If you are having issues with family. Fix it. Fix it NOW. Don’t let another day go by holding grudges or unforgiveness. After all, our Savior forgave us. Clear your heart of the debris that kills. Nothing is more important than loving your family.
I’m going to miss her very much.