We came together last night and sang Hannah's song.
Family from California was in town, it was the night before Aunt Hannah's Home Going Celebration. We met at my house late in the evening to fellowship, remember, hug, eat, and laugh.
Thom felt the love in the room and I'm sure his mom would've appreciated us doing what she did all her life - love. Aunt Hannah was a gracious woman. Her gentle spirit, sparkling eyes, and constant smile will be remembered. She has left us physically, but never spiritually.
The laughter was like music in Thom's ear. For the first time in weeks I saw my cousin relax. He has been in a tornado for the past four weeks from his mother's diagnosis to her death. Even in her final stage, Aunt Hannah was granted her desire. She asked to not suffer long when it was her time to go, she had been a caregiver her whole life and I'm sure her prayer was for her son.
In the last days of her life, she still greeted well wishers with a warm "hi baby" and a gentle hug. When her arms could no longer raise themselves, her hugs were still felt when I leaned in to kiss her cheeks. I will cherish the moments I had with her and while I once felt cheated by not growing up with her, I now feel so honored and blessed to be one of the ones giving her love during her last days. God has given me a great gift to help usher one of his precious daughters home.
My cousins and I joined together in love and unity to envelope Aunt Hannah's son and grandchildren. She made everything easy for him, her funeral planned in 2003 right down to what dress and what burial plot. Her son and his fiancee just had to go to the funeral home and listen, even her casket was chosen. That was this virtuous, gracious, caring woman leaving a legacy of strength and character.
There are many lessons I've learned in the last weeks with her. The greatest lesson is the power of love and the strength of a hug. I've also learned that we must all pass this way and how much easier it would be for our families if we were prepared. I have life insurance enough to cover my husband and kids if something happened to me today. Aunt Hannah, in her organized nature, taught me the importance of putting my important papers in one place, of choosing how I want my funeral, of making my plans while I am of sound mind and body. She taught us to love our family even in death, to not burden them with worry over a casket or burial plot or what dress to put me in.
Today we celebrate her homegoing. Thom has planned a beautiful service. The necessity of time and the ravages of the cancer made it a quick process. Aunt Hannah just left us two nights ago. It is hard to believe. We will surround him, Joy, and the kids with our love, just as Aunt Hannah would've wanted. Today, we will sing her song, and it is a song of joy, celebration, and love.