In December Christian and I went to visit her. I hate what dementia robs you of… Your memories and recognition of the people you love. Aunt Betty didn't know who I was but that was beside the point. I just wanted her to have a moment where she knew, deep in her heart how loved she was. I knew this would be the last time I would see her... We talked about how she always made great fried chicken and then the few moments of clarity that I had prayed for began to happen... We started talking about her home and how much I always loved visiting and how my kids loved to visit her home too. I started talking about how fun it would be when we zipped lined out into the water of Middle River. And she said, "The kids always loved the slide too when we would turn the hose on" and I realized that she knew exactly what I was talking about.
That's me on "Aunt Betty's Beach."
I held her hands and thanked her for all the great memories she gave us at her home. That's a place I always loved exploring as a child. She had collected all kinds of interesting things from all of her travels.
I thanked her for the priceless memories she gave our family when she let us stay in her house in Florida for our vacations.
I hugged and hugged her on that last visit and started telling her about all the people who loved her. And then we talked about Jesus and His great love for her and I wrapped my arms around her and prayed that He would give her peace and comfort in her final days.
Psalm 139 talks about how God has ordained all of our days. He knows us before we're born and he has a purpose for each and every day of our lives. I believe with all of my heart that Aunt Betty's life served a great purpose until the time she took her final breath.
I will never forget the first time I went to a real mall. Aunt Betty took me to the mall for my birthday and it was a big mall, the kind with escalators. She bought me a Mylar balloon and a brand-new outfit (Not the outfit pictured above. That's my "Little House on the Prairie" outfit). That was a really big deal when I was seven years old. That was the first Mylar balloon I had ever had and I do believe there were some siblings who were just a little jealous.
When I was in college I actually went and spent a spring break in Daytona Beach with some of my friends and then I spent part of the week with Aunt Betty and Uncle John. How many college students do you know who want to spend spring break with their aunt and uncle? Well this girl did!
I loved being with Aunt Betty because she knew how to love people well.
On Aunt Betty's 84th birthday she was riding in the passenger seat of my car when an SUV slid into our lane and hit us head on. It was a serious accident but I remember how calm Aunt Betty was. She was so worried about my car and I was in a complete panic when she told me she was having chest pains. That's an adventure I could have done without. Thankfully she wasn't having a heart attack, as I feared, but her sternum was cracked. Oh gracious I was stressed out and she just patted my hand and told me over and over that it wasn't my fault and that it was all just fine! Here she was reassuring me as they strapped her onto a stretcher. That's how she lived her life...putting others first.
I adored her and know with complete certainty that her JOY is now complete as she baskes in the presence of Jesus.