Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Sharing Her Last Year

I have seen a lot of people die. Well, not like David has. I mean, he has actually been there and SEEN people die. I have seen the before-ness and the aftermath of death. I have been to way too many relatives funerals - so many I really can't count. I even remember burying my own father.

But, there is one woman who recently died in our life that has left quite an imprint. You know, we weren't too close to Betty Anne Gallagher before we moved out here to London, Ontario. But, she lived here - just five minutes away - so we got to know her pretty well.

Just before we arrived in London in the Summer of 2010, Betty was declared cancer free and had miraculously defeated the disease! We would enjoy our year with her. Until, recently, she took a sharp turn for the worse, and passed away this last Saturday night.

You would think that my mother-in-law's cousin wouldn't have had such an impact on me. But, she did. She was there at every major event of our lives this last year - from moving into our little apartment, discovering our pregnancy and baby's gender, all the holidays, giving birth to our first child, campouts at the cottage, and birthdays. She was generous - always giving way more than we needed both in physical gifts and in lovingkindness!

What was truly remarkable about Betty was her calm peace. She knew she was going to die. She knew her time was limited. Yet she wasn't frantic. She wasn't worried. She wasn't scared. She just calmly knew where she was going and got her affairs in order to make it as easy for the surviving as possible. A blessing until her last day. And, a blessing evermore.

I will miss you Betty - we love you! See you in Heaven...

Betty gave Evalie Rose a stocking full of toys...even while she was still in my tummy :)

Betty loved her granddaughter Rachyl :)

Betty and Evalie Rose at her baby shower.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Family really IS the most important thing

As many of you know, I am enjoying over three weeks of having my only sibling visit Ontario to spend time with Evalie (oh, and me too). I've been looking forward to this month of "August with Auntie" all summer! And, it's turning out to be even better than I anticipated.

Krystal is busy learning the ropes of what this whole Auntie thing is like. She's noted quickly that my life is VERY different than it used to be. She keeps waiting, she says, for a moment when we're "just chillin'" when there's nothing on the agenda, when we can just hang out. Yeah. Those moments don't happen very often anymore.

Another thing that's different is that we're tired all the time (she just yawned and said, "Man! I am tired all the time!" And to think: she's not even the one who's up every two hours all night long...).

But what she DOES do is get up in the morning with Evalie. The first morning Evalie came into Auntie's room, I made her breakfast in bed and Krystal exclaimed, "Wow! She's smiling so much!" And, I said, "Yeah, she's really happy in the mornings." Then, Krystal stopped and looked at me and said calmly, "You mean she's really happy to SEE ME." "Oh, yeah, yeah, that's right! She's so happy to see you." lol ;)

In the mornings Auntie Krystal helps Evalie with her learning and growing. She was the first one to see her roll over from her back onto her tummy; and Krystal is very proud that Evalie has mastered moving her arm out into the front and pushing herself up in this position.

On the downside, Evalie got some shots the other day, and she was super moody for the days following. We suspect that's why she would SCREAM whenever Auntie Krystal was left alone with her...at times she would just INSIST on being with Mama and even when Auntie tried to put on E's socks she screamed like someone was torturing her. Krystal tried not to take it personally. She still tries not to take it personally.

All these moments that I get to witness make me remember the many years that Krystal and I have talked about the "one day" that we'll have kids. We used to wonder what it would be like...and what the kids would think of their Aunties. Will she like me? Will she remember me even if I don't see her all the time? Will she appreciate her American heritage? It all starts with building relationships one very tired precious day at a time.

Thank you Auntie Krystal for visiting!
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