As I got older, the reunions became less frequent and visits with this side of the family lessened. I remember back in my early 20's making a date to visit aunt Eva. She lived on the family farm in the old farmhouse. There was a lane to travel up to the white farm house perched atop of the hill. As you looked out, it seemed like you could see for miles around the Pennsylvania countryside.
This particular visit we caught up over a delicious home cooked meal and of course her sublime cinnamon rolls. For as long as I can remember she walked with a cane, but it wasn't until her 70th birthday that she got both hips replaced and miraculously she didn't need the cane anymore. She shared her astounding birth story, and it has stayed with me in some of the most tender moments of my life.
If my calculations are correct, she was born back in the early 20's? Her mother delivered her at home, but during the delivery both she and her mother began to become distressed. The doctor asked aunt Eva's father who he should save, and he bellowed out his wife. As she recounted the story she said that wasn't uncommon at the time to have to make a decision between the mother and the baby. The doctor worked hard to save her mother and was successful. As aunt Eva entered into the world, her body appeared lifeless and unresponsive. The doctor determined that she was dead and placed her on a shelf as he continued to work on her mother.
Several hours later after her mother was fine, the funeral director was called to take away Eva. He brought a small black plastic bag and began to zip her up. As he was zipping the bag, she coughed. All of those hours she had been on the shelf by herself, and then at just the perfect time, she coughed and they rushed over to examine her.
Her life began under such dismal conditions and ended upon stupendous ways. It always seemed that she lived with a grateful heart because of this. She lived a hard life and endured more than most, but when I saw her she was always grateful and shared this strength with others. I always felt encouraged after being in her presence.
Yesterday she died. I haven't seen her in years, but as I reflect on her life, I know that my life is sweeter because of her presence in it. The fabric of her stories feels like the beautiful quilts she used to make. I am so happy to have a quilt to cuddle into as I remember and celebrate her life. She really was determined to be here from the beginning. I hope you get to make your cinnamon rolls in heaven, everyone will love them. Thank you for being a blessing. Celebrating your life with such gratitude!