Monday, April 09, 2007

Aunt Kay

Kay was Sweetie's aunt, my father-in-law's sister. In her life, she wore many hats--as a high school math teacher, a mom, an aunt, a wife, a friend, a mother-in-law...I also used to jokingly call her my "aunt-in-law," after which she'd always remind me that she saw me as her nephew, so the "in-law" was totally superfluous.

It was a year ago today that Aunt Kay died from a brain tumor that had been diagnosed just three and a half months earlier, on Christmas Eve, 2005. She was young--in her mid-50's--and had taught right up until Christmas break.

Kay loved life. She loved people. She loved her family. She loved her students. And everyone loved her. She was one of those rare and special people who truly saw her entire life as a call to ministry. Whether it was with her family, her friends, her coworkers, or her students, Kay was a minister in every sense of the word. Yes, she cared if her students understood polynomials and factors and the quadratic equation, but she cared even more that they understood things like trust and confidence and dedication and love. Kay was more than a teacher, she was a mentor...and not just to her students. She was the kind of person that brought people together.

She was a Presbyterian woman who was a teacher in a Catholic high school--the funeral was at the school gym. A Catholic priest presided, with a female Presbyterian minister preaching, and a group of Presbyterian musicians with a Lutheran keyboard player (me) playing the music.

Did I mention that she was the kind of person that brought people together?

I miss Aunt Kay like the dickens, and I know Sweetie does too. I thought about her yesterday during our traditional Easter worship service--the congregation was singing the first verse of the Hymn of the Day: We Know That Christ Is Raised, which I know I've quoted before, but the whole hymn still bears repeating:

We know that Christ is raised and dies no more.
Embraced by death he broke its fearful hold;
and our despair he turned to blazing joy.

We share by water in his saving death.
Reborn we share with him an Easter life
as living members of a living Christ.

The Father’s splendor clothes the Son with life.
The Spirit’s power shakes the Church of God.
Baptized we live with God the Three in One.

A new creation comes to life and grows
as Christ’s new body takes on flesh and blood.
The universe restored and whole will sing:

As I blasted our poor organ for all it was worth and the congregation sang, I thought of Aunt Kay and had a tear or two. The thing was, though, they weren't tears of sadness...I wouldn't call them tears of joy, either. They were the intensely emotional tears that come at the end of a long struggle. Triumphant tears. Easter tears. Tears of a savior, breaking the fearful hold of death, and of a universe restored and whole, singing, "Alleluia!"

Kiddo wears one of Aunt Kay's hats on March 26, 2006



Anonymous said...

She was a wonderful woman that touched many hearts. My heart goes out to you and your family as you remember her this year.

Hang in there.

Anonymous said...

Wow...Thank you for writing that! I was reading it at work and had to leave the office. This has been a roller coaster of a year for the the whole family. As we all have struggled to get through the last 12 months, I know that she is proud. The message of Easter will always have a little extra meaning for us as we know that because He rose nearly 2000 years, she rose 1 year ago.
Thank you for all that you have done and given to this family. As my mom would say, you are not my are my cousin!

Thank you!