How time flies by until the day we leave this earth and find our friends who passed before in some place unknown to those left behind.
Not every family has a tangled family tree like ours, but it was convenient. Instead of scheduling multiple visits to grandparents homes and the like, we all came from nearly the same county and in the case of my cousins, Marion, Janice and Ruby, the same two families.
I was nearly in high school before I realized not everyone had the same set of grandparents. We were just special. My mother’s sister and my father’s brother were married – so we had our families in common. It was the stuff that dinner conversations were made of.
My Uncle Art passed away a long time ago, after a battle with cancer. Some time after that, my Aunt Gertie moved to Bismarck and then slipped into a world of silence. But, now she’s gone to be with Uncle Art and her parents and all those for whom this promise “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?” was made.
Being a person who saves stuff, I have in my collection of letters, photos and children’s artwork, three things from Aunt Gertie I just couldn’t throw away. A cutout Christmas card and two letters. I also grabbed a photo of Uncle Art and Aunt Gertie in their Wishek Centennial clothes, complete with a rather bushy beard – Uncle Arts, not Gerties.
True to our nature of recycling – in my mom’s day it was a necessity – the card was cut from a greeting card sent by someone else. The letters were in her own handwriting, and that’s so special. I had planned on making a piece of artwork out of these pieces of paper, but just didn’t want to glue them down or cut them. Now, with technology, I can share a bit of my aunt with everyone and still maintain the integrity of the letters.
One of the letters was written before Art died, but he must have been sick because she talked of the nurse visiting that day. At the very end of the letter she wrote this very meaningful rhyme…
The sun really leaves us early,
the evenings are very long when troubles come and things go wrong,
and days are cheerless and nights we find it so easy to give in to despair
by magnifying the burdens we bear.
Aunt Gertie has joined Uncle Art and we have been left behind – but now there’s hope that someday we will meet again in heaven and be made whole again. And then there’ll be a lot of catching up to do. In the meantime… we have our memories and faded letters to keep us company.