Celebrating a life

If we read our Bible, we know that death is but a vapor because James tells us that it is. There have been so many lately, friends, acquaintances and family.
My Aunt Julia, died Sunday after being in a nursing home for almost three years. She was the last sibling on my father’s side which makes her death, for me, a little sadder.
Things have changed so much and sadly, families these days are at each other’s throats more than they are eating at each other’s table and fellowshipping together. I remember the days of family reunions and just flat out enjoying spending quality time with family members. Someone said to me, well we are just so spread out these days.
That’s not always the case though. And we can always make plans ahead of time to attend family reunions if that is a priority, no matter where you may live.
I have always felt and actually heard someone say one time, we should celebrate the person’s life at a funeral and cry when they come into this cold, dark world. I’m not saying we shouldn’t grieve, because we should. When you lose a loved one a piece of your heart is gone and there is always a hole there. But we shouldn’t let the hole overtake us which is not always easy. But there is reason to celebrate especially if that person accepted Christ as their personal Savior and my Aunt Julia did. She had a personal relationship with Him.
As a child, I spent many days at Aunt Julia’s house, playing with cousins. On one of those occasions I cut my foot on a piece of glass and had to have several stitches. Going barefoot in those days was a given and just second nature.
Aunt Julia did not like to focus on the negative and even years later she did not want me to remind her that I cut my foot at her house. Though she had to be in pain, she rarely ever complained. She just accepted whatever was going on and would not speak badly of anyone.
There were those rare moments, if you were alone with her and no one else was around, that she would tell you how she really felt about what was going on around her.
She was a private person and would never put any family business out there for the public. A very talented lady, she could do a lot of things and was a needle-work guru — sewing and crochet. She often sang with her husband, my Uncle Hubert and Aunt Frances at nursing homes.
She did not have an easy life that I remember ever, but as I said, she never complained. She was one of my dad’s favorite sisters. Her first husband, Jimmy Dean, died of cancer. I don’t even remember him and only know what I’ve been told. Aunt Julia was only 32 and went to work to provide for her four children. She was married to Marvin Jarrell for as long as I remember. They were both active in church. Kind of lost touch with cousins over the years and sadly now, only see some of them at funerals which is really a very sad fact. Every time we promise to do better but then never do.
Aunt Julia even made my wedding dress and bridesmaids dresses for my first marriage. She told me every time I saw her that my dad would be proud of me and that she was too.
I could not stand to visit her in the last nursing home she was in as it was a depressing place to me but she never once complained.
She was always prim and proper and wanted her hair to be in place. In fact, one of the pastors at the funeral said something about her apologizing last time he saw her that her hair was not fixed.
You could always get her to talking about life on the farm and the good times with family. She retired from Middle Georgia College and then became active in the Retired Teachers Association in Cochran. She was active in the Woodmen of the World, served on the senior board at Tri-County Bank and was treasurer of her church, Salem Baptist Church where she was very active. She was proud of her children and grandchildren.
She is no longer in pain and is free from all the drama and sadness we have in this life. What a reunion in heaven there must be with all of her other siblings who are there. And one day I will see her again as well, along with my Daddy and grandparents.
She will be missed by everyone who knew her but her legacy will live on in our hearts and the memories will make us smile until we, too, make that journey into heaven.
Don’t hold too tightly to the things of this world, for they are temporary. But let those people in your life know you love them. Don’t wait until it’s too late to call or visit or say, “I Love You”.©2016

VICTORIA SIMMONS is an author, columnist, motivational speaker, minister and publisher of The Georgia Post/Byron Buzz. Contact her at: vsimmons54@gmail.com

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About vsimmons54

Veteran journalist of 40 years. Editor, Motivational Speaker, Ordained Minister, CEO of A Light in the Darkness Ministries, Lensclusive Photography, Babbling Brook Consulting and Design, event planner and author. I love to write and speak and I love Jesus. I also do copy writing and editing. Recently co-authored Vanished Towns Revisited.
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