Mary's Messages Archives

Mary's Messages

Aunt Ed and her Thin Mints

For years Aunt Ed gave us Thin Mints for Christmas. She would meticulously wrap each rectangular box and tie a small bow on each one. In the early years, name tags would be on the boxes with our names written in her neat penmanship. As she aged, she continued to wrap the Thin Mints but name tags no longer accompanied each box. We each received one and it really did not matter that our names were not on the wrapped boxes any more. We knew Aunt Edís memory was failing. She probably just could not remember the names of all her nieces and nephews and great nieces and great nephews.

Like many older people Aunt Ed enjoyed her sweets. When our family dined at the local fish camp, she would add seven or eights pack of sugar to the already sweetened tea. My mother who was eight years younger than Aunt Ed worried that she used so much sugar. It really did not matter since Aunt Ed was already in her nineties then.

A couple of weeks before Christmas, Aunt Ed died at age 106. Her body finally succumbed to the natural process of dying. My friend Becky sang to her that morning and bade her goodbye. My sister Miriam took our mother, Aunt Edís only living sibling, to see her one last time. Within ten minutes of their visit, Aunt Ed closed her eyes and died. She died with dignity, embracing her death, not hooked up to medical machines trying to prolong her life.

Earlier that morning, I connected with Aunt Ed spiritually to make sure her body and spirit understood what was happening. Her words to me through spirit were, ďYou may think I am dying but I am just now beginning to live. Yes, my precious body wonít be here much longer but my soul sure will be. Thank you for understanding my decision to leave.

ďChristmas is such a good time to die. Everyone is usually happy and joyful at Christmas and that is how I want you to be with my dying. Christmas is about loving and sharing and that is what I want you to do.Ē

Aunt Ed did a lot of loving and sharing in her 106 years on earth. She was reliable and steadfast in important matters and also in gestures like giving us Thin Mints every Christmas.

In times of economic uncertainty we would do well to learn from Aunt Ed who lived through a world war, economic depression, and segregation. In a manís world she made a place for herself and she never looked back.

She was a woman who survived the death of her only child, who never saw her son mature into a teenager. She was a woman whose husband turned alcoholic and died a young man. These tragedies would have soured many a woman, but not Aunt Ed. Refusing to be a victim, she made a good life for herself. She was independent and strong willed. She was generous and loving.

Aunt Edís home was the gathering place for family get-togethers. She opened her home to her elderly mother who lived with her until her death at age 92. She kept her mother at home even after she was in a coma for several days. Before dying, her mother opened her eyes and smiled at her nine children standing around her bed.

She opened her home to boarders and rented a room to a young blind woman with her companion dog. When her sisters Ollie and Bertha became widows, they came to live with her. She seemed to hold things together for many people.

Aunt Ed was intelligent and quick minded. She loved to play cards and bingo and was not above cheating to win at bingo.

When faced with an obstacle, Aunt Ed figured out a way around or through the obstacle. After she failed the eye test to renew her driverís license, she went to a neighboring townís license office and passed the test there.

Within a year of our dadís death, Aunt Ed sold her house and moved in with Mother. The day she left to live in a residential home, she asked who would take care of Pauline. Her concern was for her sister not herself.

Aunt Ed was frugal and had enough money to pay for several years in a nursing home. When her funds were depleted, she had to move to a home that accepted Medicaid. She adjusted to the change of facilities and eventually was wheel chair bound at Maple Leaf.

She became known as the classy lady who sped down the hall in her wheelchair, sometimes bumping into other wheel chairs to get to where she wanted to go. She liked her Ensure and would take an extra carton off the food tray when the staff was not looking. Later when she could no longer go to the bathroom by herself or even feed herself, she still smiled and said she was fine. She just did not let life get her down.

Thin Mints will always remind me of my Aunt Ed and her perseverance for life. May she be an inspiration to you helping you around or through obstacles. May her spirit accompany you through hard times and bring you joy in good times. May we all have her qualities of being independent, generous, and loving. Like Aunt Ed, may we all be a positive force in the life of others.

December 2008