Sixty-two years. For some people that’s a lifetime in and of its own, but for others that number symbolizes the last anniversary they were able to spend with their spouse. That’s the kind of love that everyone in their life wants, but so few of us rarely achieve. It’s the kind of love that we tend to read about in stories. The kind of love that if one person goes the spouse goes soon thereafter, or somehow tragically go together. I bring this all up today because I learned that a woman that meant a lot to me during my childhood shared that many anniversaries with her husband. She passed away on Monday morning. Her name was Ann Baggett.
As I sat in the back pew with two of my aunts today on my mother’s side listening to her grandson, a man I had not seen since we were kids and did not get a chance to talk to, I mostly smiled. Justin described his grandmother to a tee. Ann was the type of person who was always willing to help in whatever way possible. I remember one year my parents did not have that much money to get me clothing for school. Once Ann got wind of this I suddenly had a back to school wardrobe. This is something that I’m not sure my parents knew I figured out eventually, but sometimes looking back on conversations held by adults during our childhood we piece together those who are truly there for us.
Every time you saw her she was either smiling or laughing about something. And as Justin pointed out she did so even if she was exhausted from helping someone else. The odd part is just the other night while ringing in the new year playing The Walking Dead version of Monopoly with a good friend of mine, I made the comment that I feel like I’m the friend that likes everything. I have been told that there is not much I don’t like. I have been told I truly do love everything. I have also been told that I’m hard to read at times because I’m always smiling, even if I’m in pain. That isn’t always an easy task, but we manage to do so because unfortunately life goes on without those who left an imprint on our lives and our hearts far too often.
And while I managed to remain composed for the most part during the service, I realized that maybe my strength to keep on smiling partly came from my aunt’s mother. A grandmother to us all. A woman that was often called Granny by virtually everyone. That’s why when I saw the message about my aunt’s mother from my uncle Monday upon crawling out of bed I actually yelled out This is not the shit I wanted to read today. This is not how 2018 was supposed to start. I became angry. I always get angry when I lose someone first. It’s pure disbelief or anger. Sometimes I’m somewhere in between. Today as I got in my car to head to the funeral home I realized how sad I really was by this incredible woman’s passing.
A plethora of emotions.
That’s grief in a nutshell isn’t it? We are never sure how we truly feel overall and moments hit us at the worst time possible the majority of the time. My sadness has turned into this odd smile though. Today I was reminded of the verse from Corinthians.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
If we are lucky enough we have people in our lives that no matter what we do love us unconditionally. They make sure to love us so much that love radiates even when we feel we cannot go on any longer. When our exhaustion sets in we continue to do good for others. We continue to love them and encourage them when they feel like they cannot go on any longer. Something good is around the corner. It might not always feel that way, but something good is always there when there is love in our hearts. That love comes from many places in our lives and those people who instilled that in our hearts always live on.
I want to continue to do good in this world somehow. I want people to know what they’re feeling is normal, but most of all I want people to remember that love is one of the most important things we can bestow upon each other, and ourselves. We are not crazy to love more than others, even if that is a love of the little things. Gestures and gifts mean more because of the love in the hearts of the person who gave us that last hug or brought us a cup of coffee because they thought we might need it. That’s what I took from the service today. Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Always.