It’s been almost one year since my post on my blog about my Great-Great Aunt Ella, my Great- Grandma Della’s twin sister. To be honest, I thought it would be sooner, but yesterday, one day after my 31st birthday, my Aunt Ella’s season of life here on this earth ended at the age of 97. I truly feel so blessed to have known this wonderful woman and have so much time with her. I don’t know how many people at the age of 31 still have their great-grandmother and great-great aunt, let alone their grandmother in their life.
When I was a young girl, I used to go up to my great-grandparent’s house every other weekend with my Grandma Carol (we call her Grandma Honey) in North Ogden to help my Great Grandparents as they were getting older. During my stay there, we would go over and visit my Aunt Ella. Aunt Ella had beautiful long silver and copper-colored hair, all the way to her bottom. I loved brushing it. She would let me brush it for what seemed like hours while we sat drinking tea.
She, along with my Great-Grandmother, has been growing weaker and weaker this past year along with a recent diagnosis of bladder cancer and fortunately I have been able to pay relatively frequent visits. Last week when I went to visit her at the assisted living facility, I had decided it would probably be the last time I would be able to visit her. I asked her if she ever was a coffee drinker and she replied, “Well yes, I used to be, but since I have lived here at Emeritus, I no longer drink coffee.”
I replied, “Why not now? Does it bother your stomach?”
She said, “No, I guess it’s silly really, but I am afraid of what others here might think.”
I laughed and said “Aunt Ella, that is silly. You just remember that Jesus loves everyone unconditionally and what other people think of you does not matter at all.”
She kind of chuckled and said “That’s a good one. I’ll have to remember that -Jesus loves all of us.” Then she got quiet, almost to a whisper as she placed her frail little hand on my arm, and mischievously said “Every once in a while, I will get up extra early and go into the breakfast area before everyone else gets up for breakfast to sneak about a quarter cup of coffee.” We shared a pretty good laugh over it.
I never was able to make it back there this past week to bring her a good coconut breve latte with extra foam from Starbucks, but I do owe a special thank you to my Aunt Ella, for teaching me a very valuable lesson. Even at 97 years old, she was worried about what others think of her. Isn’t it funny, how we are always so worried about what others may think of us? It makes me think of the common saying “When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you.” When it comes to life, it really isn’t the mountain we are trying to conquer – it is ourselves.
This past year has been such a strange trying year, full of difficult yet beautiful life lessons for me. Some, I’m still not quite sure I was ready to learn quite yet, but obviously God had something different in store for me. In the past year, I have gone through major heart surgery, building a house, moving and putting in a yard, losing five family members and helping my Grandma Honey overcome the challenges of a major fall – all while trying to balance the everyday things of life. The other day we had a good friend of the family fall off his horse and mom and dad took him to the hospital for his fall. The first thing Hailey said is "Mom, can we please go visit him?" I hope that through this past year of helping Grandma Honey, Great Grandma Della and Great Great Aunt Ella that my children have learned some sense of how important their relationships with family and friends are. I think more than anything, I have learned that in the end, the best thing we have to hang onto is each other and our relationships – because in the end that is all that we have and also that it really is the little things in life that matter.