Saying goodbye to people in your life is never easy. Even when you know it’s going to happen, even when you have said your goodbye, and even when that certain person has lived so much life that you know they are heading up to heaven with no regrets, only excitement to see those who have gone before them. Goodbye even then is still not easy.
My great aunt Millie was 96 the day that she said she was ready to head out of this world, it was just a few days ago. She got to ring in one more New Year and on January 1st of 2014, she left on her own terms. Up until a just a few days before she passed away I can honestly say that she could have lived for another 10 years. She was one of those ladies who, if anyone could, she would figure out just how to out live us all.
I was lucky to be able to spend a great amount of time with my aunt. She was more like another grandma to me, she would come to Grandparents day when I was in school, her and my uncle Jim would babysit us kids all the time growing up. I remember they always had this little candy dish of lemon candies by the front door (my favorite part of their house!)
But in the past few years I have been able to get to go and just sit with her, tell her stories and hear many from her. She was a HUGE fan of the Blazers, if you ever had a chance to watch a game with her it was quite the sight; seeing a 90 plus year old woman yelling at the TV. She was always laughing, smiling, and always had on lipstick. She was talented and could weave the most beautiful baskets you have ever seen. She loved hearing about all of our many adventures. She always had her nails painted, and Big Apple Red was her favorite color. I actually got to take her to get her first professional manicure at the age of 95 and she loved it!
I have to say though, what will remind me most of my Aunt Millie, was her sassy-ness right up to the end. She was definitely one of those who would tell you how it was, no matter what. The first time that she met Matt my husband we were taking her home from a family party. I was driving, she was in the passenger seat and he was in the back. We were chatting the whole way home, while Matt quietly sat in the back without saying a word. When we got out of the car to drop her off, she turned around in her seat and said, “Gosh I wish you would have quit talking so we girls could have gotten a word in edgewise!” We all laughed and from then on she had a special place in her heart for Matt, the quiet shy guy. One day I came to pick her up for her weekly salon appointment and asked how she was doing that day, “Well Brenda…to be honest I’m feeling pretty bitchy today.” Then we both laughed all the way to the salon.
The best advice she ever gave me though was during one of these salon trips, we were laughing so hard about some story, I mean that really deep gut laugh you get. And when we finally calmed down she peaked out of the hair dryer and said “You know what is the best way to have to a good life Brenda? Lots of laughing…and lots of wine!”
I don’t feel like just a blog does her life or her influence on my life any justice. The stories that I have of our time together, well they are so good and too many to put on here, so we’ll have to sit down one day for a cup of coffee, or a glass of wine, like I would have with her and I can tell you the rest. But trust me when I say that this lady lived all her years, then she left us here all better for having known her. That’s the main reason this little baby in my tummy (should it be a girl) will be named Millie, after one of the best women I have ever known and will always miss.