My great aunt Ruth, who passed away today. “Great aunt” doesn’t really capture what she was. In many ways, she felt like another grandmother. I know that no one is perfect, and that all of us are fallen, but growing up, I never saw anything but goodness in Aunt Ruth. She lived her life to serve others. She worked for the Salvation Army for over 40 years.
She never married nor had kids. Growing up, she’d travel home to Columbus a couple times a year. She was a staple of the first several Christmas mornings that I remember. When I think back to the magical Christmases as a kid, she’s never far from my thoughts. In some ways, it feels both fitting and bittersweet that she depart from this world at a time of year she loved so much.
She always went overboard on presents for my sister and I. There were adventures on her trips. She always slept in my room, and so I was demoted to sleeping on the floor in my parent’s room (my sister would camp out too). That’s where I’d spent Christmas Eve. She’d always take my sister and I to Northland Mall (“the Blue Mall” as I used to call it). We’d get cherry icees (in a day when that was the only place in the world that I knew of that sold them).
As she got older, I don’t recall the first year where she didn’t make the trip for Christmas, but I’m sure that the holiday felt a little less Christmasy without her.
We visited her in New York every 2-3 years and those trips are some of my greatest childhood memories.
To this day, she’s still the only person I’ve even known who’s preferred soda is caffeine free Diet Coke. She let me try my first sip of coffee, but told me I wouldn’t like it (I didn’t).
Like me, she was left handed. Even though she lived most of her life in New York and New Jersey, she always called Ohio “home.” Whenever we’d talk on the phone growing up, she always said “I love you and I’m praying for you.”
For nearly 20 years, she suffered from dementia. I know she has gone to a better place today. But it’s still sad today knowing that we no longer have her light non this world.
“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9).