Another holiday season, another funeral blog. Ugh. This time last year I wrote about the passing of Andy Fox, brother of my brother-in-law, Tim Fox. I attended Andy’s funeral in Denver almost exactly a year ago and wrote about how much I wished I had gotten to know him better while he was alive. That blog was a reprise of one I had written in 2015 about Dick and Jody Vilardo, with a similar them of “I wish I knew them better while they were alive.”
This weekend, I attended the funeral for my dear Aunt Peasy Love in St. Louis. I almost wrote this blog before I left for St. Louis. For, unlike Andy Fox and the Vilardos, I knew her very well. She was almost like a second mother to me. So, obviously, I wouldn’t learn anything new about her at the funeral, right? I’m glad I waited. I was wrong. So, here I am again, sharing my feelings about losing someone close to me, again wishing I had known these things about her while she was alive. Even though I knew her very well, I wish I had gotten to know my Aunt Peasy even better while she was alive.
The blessing in this is that it brought me a revelation for a New Year’s resolution. And, unlike prior pledges to eat better, curse less, go to the gym more or other untenable goals, I think I can actually make progress on this year’s resolution. I hereby resolve to learn more about the people I’m close to. In so doing and while hoping I don’t lose anyone close to me in the coming year, I at least hope to avoid the “I wish I had known more about so-and-so while he/she was alive” syndrome. Don’t be surprised if I ask you more invasive questions in 2018. I mean well by it.
There was a lot I heard about Aunt Peasy, known to her family as M’noe, that I did know and was not surprised to hear in the wonderful eulogies provided by her children, my three first cousins, her husband, my uncle, and the pastor who had been dear friends with Peasy for nearly 50 years. I was not surprised to hear about her compassion and open-door policy, for I have stayed at her house dozens of times over the years. I had met many of the stray dogs she took in. On my last visit, just a few years ago, I even met the wild turkey she adopted (it lived outside, but got fed every day, just like the dogs). I had met many of the tenants she had taken in to live on the third floor. And, of course, I had experienced her hospitality as a guest myself on so many occasions.
I was not surprised to hear of her fun-loving spontaneous nature, as best recounted by my cousin Fats, who read from a college essay she wrote about a late night horseback ride through Forest Park in St. Louis.
Finally, and importantly, I was not surprised to hear people talk about her honest and straightforward nature. She never pulled a punch with me. She loved me like I was her son, but she also told me what was what when that’s what I needed to hear. That was as true when I was 10 as it was last summer.
But, while none of that surprised me, I did learn about a side of Aunt Peasy that I did not get a chance to experience and that was her spirituality. Her Pastor, Jerram Barrs, spoke eloquently about her relationship with Christ and how that guided her life. I’m not sure why the topic of spirituality never came up between Aunt Peasy and me. And, given how clearly she lived her life in Christ, I’m embarrassed that I never raised the topic with her. But, most of all, I’m now very sad that I never got the chance to compare notes on our respective spiritual journeys. I think about all the hours I spent on deserted Islands off the coast of Maine with her and I never sat down on a rock and spoke to her about God. What a missed opportunity.
I will miss Aunt Peasy terribly. She was a very special person and the world just went minus one without her. And, while I am sad that I didn’t get the chance to talk to her about her relationship with God and about mine, I am comforted that she was so close to God and the Peace that must have brought to her at the end of her life on earth and beyond. R.I.P. Aunt Peasy. Rest in the Peace of the Lord.