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Wednesday, January 5th 2011

8:16 AM

I am dedicating my blog today to my Aunt Joyce McKnight who was a devoted reader of my blogs and a wonderful aunt!   She passed away peacefully yesterday surrounded by family.  I am told they (her husband and daughters) were singing as she went into glory!

What can one say to sum up a life other than that they lived life well, loved others, was devoted to God and family?  She wasn't rich or famous to the world, but she was rich in character and famous to us who knew her.  She was one of the younger sisters in a family of eight children, including my dad.  Dad always talked of her as a "little sister".  To us, she was an integral part of the family framework - and she will be greatly missed!   Now with her passing, there are only three of the eight siblings remaining.   They lost a brother, Robert, six months ago and a sister, Margaret, just a month ago.  It's been a hard time for the family losing all these loved ones in such a short amount of time - including my mom who passed almost two years ago.

Floods of memories sweep over your mind - snippets of events that rush in and whisk you back to a different time .  I can't think of Aunt Joyce without thinking of a few things:  hearty meals, the braided rug that I used to play on, home movies, the 3 girl cousins (her daughters) that were older than me and I adored them, Boots the cat, Trixie the dog, that her house was in a great location for some of my friends at school, the time they remodeled the house, watching "The Price is Right", that she was a great mother and even somewhat 'fostered' a girl from church who is like family to us now, her miracle granddaughter, Megan,  loving their upstairs bathtub, and the fact that you could stop in whenever and they were always glad to see you.   Her husband, Uncle Bob - is quite the funny guy, too.  He always made us laugh and still does.  I pray that his heart still finds joy - because JOYce would have wanted it that way.  And we re-JOYCE that she is in heaven with no more pain, no more sorrow, no more trials or cares of this life.  She is free and can see her Savior face to face!  We don't grieve without hope.

When my mother died two years ago - there was Aunt Joyce.  She was ailing in her health at that time, but she was sure to come to the family meeting, the funeral, and over to the house.  She brought chicken and noodles that the girls helped her make.  She made it because she knew how much I loved her homemade noodles!  They carried in more food than you could ever imagine!  What a blessing.

Uncle Bob was a pall barer for mom.  And two years later here we are.  It's time to say goodbye on earth as she begins her eternal life in heaven.

What else can I say except, "I love you.  I will miss you.  We will all see you again soon!"

In her honor, I want to share the following poem someone shared with me when my mom died.  When my mom died, her birth date and her death date were very close together.  She was born on the 13th of March and died on the 19th of March in '09.  Aunt Joyce was born on January 6th and died on January 4th.   She would have turned 72 this year.   That got me thinking about the engraving on the headstone, which reminded me of this wonderful poem.  

Aunt Joyce lived her dash well!

The Dash Poem  - by Linda Ellis

I read of a reverend who stood to speak
at the funeral of his friend.
He referred to the dates on her tombstone
from the beginning...to the end.

He noted that first came the date of her birth
and spoke of the following date with tears,
but he said what mattered most of all
was the dash between those years.

For that dash represents all the time
that she spent alive on earth…
and now only those who loved her
know what that little line is worth.

For it matters not, how much we own;
the cars…the house…the cash.
What matters is how we live and love
and how we spend our dash.

So think about this long and hard…
are there things you’d like to change?
For you never know how much time is left.
(You could be at "dash mid-range.")

If we could just slow down enough
to consider what’s true and real,
and always try to understand
the way other people feel.

And be less quick to anger,
and show appreciation more
and love the people in our lives
like we’ve never loved before.

If we treat each other with respect,
and more often wear a smile…
remembering that this special dash
might only last a little while.

So, when your eulogy’s being read
with your life’s actions to rehash...
would you be proud of the things they say
about how you spent your dash?

With blessings and love - and a reminder to cherish the loved ones around you today... Jenni

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