Saturday, May 28, 2011
Home Again for Auntie Pat
When I came to Umingan, my dear little hometown, on Easter for my mother's 8th death anniversary, I thought that would be it. I had not planned on coming back anytime soon.
But just one month later, here I am again.
This time, for another very important event—to welcome back the remains of mom's best friend and younger sister, my Auntie Pat.
Four year's ago, Auntie Pat (who had Alzheimer's) was brought to the US by her children who reside there. They wanted to be with her and take care of their mom themselves.
We said our good-byes, unsure where the future would take her.
Now we're sure. In Auntie Pat's mind—that which we could no longer reach—there was no other future than to be with Jesus, the God whom she loved since she was a little girl.
During her last hours, her children sang to her and made her listen to CD the hymns she used to sing. And according to her eldest child, her favorite “Talna” (Peace), suddenly played, as though on cue, after she breathed her last. “Difficult as it may be, many of us held Mama in our arms as she was dying and saw the peace in her face after she passed.”
There was a two-day wake in New York before her body was flown home. And there is a two-day wake in the Lord's church—her parents' church, her church, our childhood church—where she is surrounded by the people who worshiped God with her when she was healthy and knew everyone by name.
Tomorrow, her grieving family and we will take her remains to the same place where the love of her life—her late husband—was laid to rest four years ago.
We who believe in the redeeming grace of Jesus are aware that Auntie Pat is no longer in that beautiful white box; she is with my mom and all the people she loved, whom God brought to His heavenly home ahead of her.
But we need to honor the body God gave us, and so we will say our rituals of good-byes and whisper a prayer of thanksgiving, “Lord, thank you for demonstrating Your love and faithfulness through Auntie Pat's life. Amen.”