**The last of my Aunts died on May 11, 2017 at the age of 93. These were my send-off words at her funeral.
I am Pat, Helen’s niece. I am
honored to be able to share a few words in celebration of her life. I
know that one thing Helen would want me to mention is how grateful that she was
of all who helped her out in any way. Often, she said how very much she
appreciated even the smallest things that people did for her. I have helped her
out the last few years. And I mean helped her out because she didn’t need
anyone to take care of her—trust me. She made me realize that there is a right
way and a wrong way to do things and then there is Helen’s way, and it was best
to do it Helen’s way or you would have to redo it anyway!
I could tell you many
stories about her ways. Some might think she was stubborn, but I really think
she just had perseverance and endurance and knew what she wanted, which
according to Helen is lacking in so many people today. After all, one needs
endurance to climb the stairs to her apartment. Several times, I mentioned she
should move downstairs. Her answer was I can see more up here and nobody would
want to break in and carry stuff down the stairs. She also mentioned she was
used to the stairs and they didn’t bother her and with time I would get used to
them too. Well, I am still not used to them!
Helen was blessed with an
outstanding memory. She often reminded me that my memory was not that good for
a young person. One example is that of one Saturday morning when we were
grocery shopping. I was helping her get the things on her list and thought we
were finished and started to head toward the checkout. She said where are you
going? I said we have everything on your list. She said I need cookies, candy,
and ice cream. I said but they are not on your list. She said well everyone can
remember those things. Then she randomly added, you and Sharon don’t have a
good memory. I agreed Sharon doesn’t have good memory.
Helen enjoyed the simple
things in life—fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, fresh green beans—a
plate lunch, so to speak— ice cream, cookies, and candy. She loved country
music, family gatherings, and just getting out. There wasn’t much she didn’t
like except for Chinese food, Mexican food, instant pudding, non-sweet rice,
and cheap toilet paper. I may have missed a couple but those were at the top of
Helen had a long and great
run at life. I cannot even imagine all of the things that she witnessed in her
lifetime. She embraced and faced every challenge and obstacle with positivity
and endurance. She took great pride in her family-Sharon, Don, Pat, Brandi,
Danny, and her great granddaughters-my continued prayers are with you.
I know she is smiling on
all of us today, but she is likely thinking hurry up; it is almost supper time.
In closing, I am reminded of a few lines from a poem by Emily
Dickinson, “Because I could not stop for death, it kindly stopped for me, the
carriage held but just ourselves and immortality.” Until we meet again, I love
you Aunt Helen and will deeply miss you. Many blessings for a great last road