10.31.2012

.Celebrating a Life.

My dear Aunt Anne went home to Jesus at the young age of 64 on October 25, 2012.

She was diagnosed with a rare disease just 6 short years ago. We were all warned how rapid the disease would overtake her body and yet we are all left wanting more time. Just when I think my body can no longer produce tears, it does. They come when I least expect them and I am grateful for them. You see, there is an upside to my tears..

..they begin as tears of pure sadness but turn into tears of joy and thankfulness for my aunt is with Jesus in Heaven.

She is with her Heavenly Father.
She is in no pain.
She is not suffering.
She is rejoicing.
She is happy.

..and the best part..

I will see her again.

It is hard to find the "right" words to express my love for my Aunt Anne and how much she has meant to me. She has been a blessing in my life and even though she is no longer with us on this Earth, her spirit will always be alive and it will continue to help mold me into the woman I want to be. 

My aunt and uncle did not have any children of their own and instead of being angry with that aspect of their life, they turned every emotion they had into love. Love for me, love for my brother, love for their other nieces and nephews, and love for their friends' children. I am truly in awe of how my aunt loved me. I was her own. I had a mother-like relationship with her starting as a wee little baby, as an awkward braced faced pimple covered preteen, as the over the top moody teenager, and as the grown adult graduating college and getting married. She was there, always always there. 

As a little girl I knew in my heart my aunt had a strong love for me. She made me feel unique and special and to her, I was just that. It was not until I was an adult I learned she had this connection with so many people--talk about amazing! My Aunt Anne was truly given the gift of love and affirmation to touch so many people in her life that way. As a kid I would enjoy sleeping over at my aunt and uncle's house for many reasons big and small. Some of these included wearing one of my aunt's Lake George sweatshirts..cuddling in between my aunt and uncle on their back screened in porch..eating frozen pizza together at their small kitchen table, she was never a cook and never claimed to be..brushing my aunt's incredibly long, thin blonde hair for hours and trying on her headbands..receiving back scratches and tickles from my aunt's long, always painted in bright pinks and reds, nails..sharing morning tea, lipton only, with my aunt and uncle at their kitchen table..eating sweet candies with my aunt..watching movies as a family in their cozy downstairs..sitting in front of the fire on the floor just talking with my aunt and uncle..and during the holidays--staring at their work of art that most called a Christmas tree. 

Throughout grade school and high school, sports and education were important for my brother and I. It brings me such joy to confidently state there was rarely ever a game or important ceremony or school dance my aunt was not there for. When my parents could not make it to an away game for field hockey because of work, my aunt was there and win or lose she always treated me to dinner and ice cream. I recall so many times glancing up at the bleachers during a basketball game timeout and seeing her big squinty eyed smile and arm frantically waving at me. I can hear her voice shouting, "Go Katie!" over and over again..it is crystal clear and is the sweetest sound. My sweet aunt and uncle sat through long and boring dance recitals, band concerts, award ceremonies, girl scout functions, you name it--they were there. I do feel bad for my Uncle Will, that crazy busy persistant wife of his had him dragged to thing after thing after thing--no worries though, he learned to be a good sport throughout his 42 years of marriage! Like I mentioned earlier, my aunt and uncle did not have any children..we were their kids! For every special occasion, whether it be weddings or school dances, my aunt tagged along with my mother and I as we all went looking for the perfect dress. I used to tease and roll my eyes with my mom about our shopping days with Aunt Anne because woah--my aunt could shop!..Literally shopped til we all dropped! My mom would "argue" with my aunt about who was paying for my dresses and of course my aunt won. She would always win. Year after year we went dress shopping and it continued the very day I found my wedding dress. My heart is filled and lifted high when I think of that day through my aunt's eyes. She did not have a little girl of her own but had me and her dream of finding "the dress" came true..with me. I feel privileged I was able to give her that moment. 

During my 4 years at college, my relationship with my aunt and uncle changed a bit. I became distant--not on purpose but physically. Instead of living 15 minutes away from each other, I was now 8 hrs away in VA. Our visits became planned and mostly when I was on break from school. It was always a desire and a mandatory thing to stop at Aunt Anne and Uncle Will's house. As I grew into a lady and became more independent and confident, my conversations with my aunt all of a sudden became "real." We spoke about real things going on and more importantly, spoke about my faith and what God was doing in my life..and we talked about boys, college boys! My aunt listened to an overly excited, overly naive 18 year old talk about her first boyfriend...And was there as a heart broken 19 year old cried in her arms. I was able to talk to my aunt about my breakup and how God brought me through it. It was a beautiful thing to talk so freely to her about my faith and how it had changed and strengthened from when she heard me give my testimony at age 16 during my baptism. When a new boy came into the picture a little later, who is now my husband, my aunt was there. She met Adam back in 2006 and helped him learn all of the names of the Morrow family members so he would be ready for my brother's wedding. She hugged Adam and accepted him into the family instantly and told me, "he's a good one." As my relationship with Adam blossomed into something dear, my aunt was there every step of the way and celebrated with us over our engagement and was there dancing at our wedding in 2009.

My aunt was a spiritual person her entire life and she gives all the credit to her mother. I never met my nana, she passed away from cancer when my father was just 14, but have heard and read her diary. My nana, who I am named after--Katherine Theresa--is a child of God who is praising Him in Heaven. I am beyond thankful for my nana and the example she was to my aunt, my father, and the rest of their siblings. She was a woman of God who raised her children by God's word. My nana was a strong devoted Catholic woman and that is something my Aunt Anne followed. My aunt was devoted to her Catholic church but more importantly, she was devoted to the Lord. Years back in her adult life my aunt made the decision to follow God. She asked Jesus into her heart and to forgive her of all her sins. She understood God sent his Son to die for her sins to give her eternal life and rose from the dead and is alive in Heaven. My Aunt Anne had a personal relationship with God and it was something she held on to all the way to the very end and it brings me such peace and joy knowing she is with her Heavenly Father.

One of the greatest things I will take from my aunt is her love for family traditions and sticking to them. Our Morrow family is big-10 kids, 22 grandchildren, and 20-something great grandchildren--and she always got us all together. Christmas day was her thing..actually anything Christmas was her thing! She invited the entire Morrow family to her house every Christmas day afternoon for food, fellowship, sharing time, and gifts. Family was something my aunt held dear, she knew how important family was no matter what hard times and struggles came up--family is family. Having everyone gather in her home to celebrate, no matter what holiday or special occasion, brought her pure joy. Her heart would almost burst with energy, excitement, and love and it was evident to all. Aunt Anne and Uncle Will had other traditions which included mini vacations to Lake George and to Atlantic City. My brother and I were blessed to join them along with our other cousins. There are truly countless memories from our weekend getaways together. Lake George ones include staying at the Northward Ho and their fresh morning donuts..picking out a pair of new mocassins with my aunt at the shops in Bolton Landing..avoiding scary Frankenstein..trips to Fort William Henry..going on rides with my aunt and uncle at The Great Escape, buying and "testing" fudge..boat rides on Uncle Will's boat..playing track ball in the water..relaxing in Adirondack chairs. A few Atlantic City memories include staying at Caesar's Palace..dinner at the fancy-back massaging-high drink pouring-banana foster restaurant..sneaking into the casinos with my aunt and uncle but always getting busted..late night walks on the board walk..Aunt Anne getting bird poop on her nose..experiencing the awkward lady in the spa with my aunt and cousin..collecting shells on the shore..Uncle Will holding me for the big waves..and dressing up and posing for photos. I am excited to keep some of Aunt Anne's traditions going and to create new ones.

In my last post I had briefly mentioned a blessing that was recently revealed to me. I had starting writing about it when I received the call about my aunt. Adam and I were able to be in NJ for an entire week, at my aunt's bedside for her final days on Earth. It was hard and yet joyous. It was good to be there with my uncle and extended family members. Oh the blessing?--The blessing that was revealed to me recently is that I am an aunt.

I am Aunt Katie.
I have 2 nephews.
I have 4 nieces.
I have one more on the way.

I am an aunt.

My eyes immediately fill with tears at this gift from God. I get to be an aunt to Evie, Lily, Lukey, Lucy, Leeland, Emma, and little Chloe on the way. My Aunt Anne gave me the greatest example of who and what an aunt should be. I cannot wait to be the loving, energetic, always giving, thoughtful, spiritual, cool, forgiving, wise, pretty, committed, funny, intelligent, and hard working aunt for my little nieces and nephews like my Aunt Anne was and is to me. I am blessed beyond all measure for the family God put me in and for the family I will someday create with Adam.  I thank God for giving me 25 precious years with my aunt and for giving me time to reflect the lessons she taught me onto my nieces and nephews.

I love you Aunt Anne and will see you again!

Anne Elizabeth Scheidecker
June 2, 1948- October 25, 2012

10 comments:

  1. Perfect katie...thanks for putting it together so beutifully:) xoxoxoxo
    Jess

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  2. Oh Katie! I'm so sorry to hear about your aunt. At least she is in no more pain and is in a better place with Him. I have been thinking about your family often and I am praying for you. Love you!

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  3. Katie,
    I am officialy a "lurker". I catch up on your blog every Tuesday during my coffee break at work. It has always been a great way to pull myself away from the craziness of my work day. Today as I read your blog I was overcome. I just experienced a loss much like yours. My aunt suddenly passed away a day after her 62nd birthday in May. I had a bond with my aunt much like you described in your post. Losing someone that has had such an impact on your life can be difficult to process. The impact that they have can sometime get lost until they are actually gone.
    I am so sorry to hear about your loss. I will be praying for you and your family. Praise be to Him that your aunt is in a glorious place right now.

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  4. Katie - Thanks for revealing this blessing to me!! I am an Aunt too!! Wow, what a privilege. You have inspired me to be the kind of Aunt your Aunt Anne was and that you clearly are as well. :) I am sorry for your loss and I pray that God will continue to bless your life through the life and memories of your sweet Aunt Anne! Thanks again for inspiring me!!

    Blessings - Sara

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