Last week was a reminder of what a life well lived looks like, in the end. It looks like a room full of people, sad to see you go. It looks like scholarships and foundations which last beyond your time on earth. It looks like crying and laughter alike, from family and friends whose lives you touched.
Last week I disappeared from my normal life, the blog, and everything else to attend the Celebration of Life of my dear great Aunt Mernie in Tucson, Arizona. She was 92 years old, the last of her generation in our family, and definitely an example of a life well lived. She was a longtime teacher, volunteer and community member who touched many people’s lives and inspired everyone to do their best, right up to the very end.
My sister and I talked right after she died, and tried to figure out what was so special about Aunt Mernie. I said it was because we always felt seen by her. She acknowledged our presence, our person-ness, from the time we were young children. She continued to acknowledge our presence, on through our adult lives with our own children. I got a birthday card from her just last fall. Who expects a birthday card from their great aunt at 92?
Listening to different people’s memories at her Celebration of Life gave me a more complete picture of just how many lives she touched. How many other people felt like adopted grandchildren, as we did.
And it inspires me, in showing me what a life well lived looks like. I know I can’t ever be just like Aunt Mernie. I don’t have an inherent disposition that is so kind and generous, as hers was. But if I can live my life in a way that influences people in a positive way, even just a small fraction of what she did, then I will call it a success.
Aunt Mernie, thank you for that. You will be very missed.