A Great Legacy
With little fanfare, this earth lost one of its great residents on Tuesday morning. She slipped away quietly and I can only imagine the rejoicing in heaven and the great joy in her heart as she finally met her Lord face to face.
This woman with an easy, infectious laugh and a smile big enough to fill a whole room (I can’t help but smile myself through my tears as I think of them) was my beloved Aunt Ruth. Technically she was my great aunt, my grandma’s sister. There were five sisters (and two more who died in infancy) born to Swedish immigrants in the early 20th century: Esther, Judy, Ruth, Elizabeth, and Evelyn. Together, these women left a powerful mark on and rich heritage for their large extended family of which I am privileged to be a part.
Aunt Ruth never married but, as her obituary states, her “love was her Lord and her family.” I’m a living testimony of the love she lathered on her many nieces and nephews — 160 in total, all the way down to the great- great- greats. She could tell you about every single one! She taught Sunday School at her church for over 60 years. I remember listening to her tell me stories about the kids she taught and the special church families in her life. She shared Christ with hundreds, perhaps thousands of kids. When I left for college she faithfully prayed for me (and my roommate!) by name every week along with the other family members away at school. She always took the time to listen to me, talk with me, and tell me stories from her past. During my teenage years, she always called to wish me a happy birthday. She taught me by example to love my Swedish heritage and be proud of where I came from.
Friday morning family and friends gathered to remember and celebrate this faithful life on what would have been her 99th birthday. I hear that the family even sang “Happy Birthday” to her at her graveside. I think she’s having a better time celebrating where she is now, but the rest of us sure will miss her in the meantime.