06/15/1951 – 03/20/2022
I’m told that when I was a baby Aunt Melody slept on the floor by my crib when she came to visit. She couldn’t wait to hear me stir and wake up each morning. According to her, being with me was like Christmas every day.
Never having children of her own, I, her “favorite niece” (her only niece), was the closest thing she had to a daughter.
I give this context, because I know she would want her feelings for me to be honored and I want to articulate, to some degree, how she allowed unconditional love to change her.
Have you ever been fussed over by Aunt Melody? Or, have you ever witnessed her fuss over great jazz, shoes, or miniatures? Well, imagine being at the top of that lineup.
It felt like a lot of pressure at times, because she had high standards, the strongest of opinions, and a deep boldness for sharing them.
When I was 19 I left home (in Pennsylvania) and moved to Florida to begin my adulthood. I moved in with Aunt Melody. And while I was so excited, I also had reservations that she would realize I was a real person. I knew how she felt about real people.
And you know – she did get to know me on a deeper level, as a real person, and vice versa. But I saw, in real time, a woman transition to more of a loving mother, who often had to let go more than she knew was possible, as she watched me grow, become increasingly autonomous, and have differing opinions.
For example, I like oregano, which was a borderline sin to her.
She loved the word juxtaposition. Mostly to describe types of artistic expression – or her relationship with Cokie – champagne and beer.
I also know she saw that in herself.
The juxtaposition of her opinionated, high-maintenance self, with her unwavering desire to lay down her pride and prejudices, taught me so much about the refining work of Jesus. She wanted Him to love through her and perfect her desires.
And further, to glorify God and enjoy Him forever was/is her heart’s utmost desire.
She would regularly pray for more of Him and less of her. She was most at peace when abiding in Him and giving Him lordship of her being.
I feel the same.
Now, remarkably by His grace and mercy, she is united with Him in paradise. He is her paradise.
And in Him:
- Her pride is irrelevant
- Her humor perfected
- Her sorrow abolished
- Her joy complete.