My Aunt died yesterday. She’s my great aunt actually and I didn’t really know her very well until last year.
Last summer we spent a long weekend together for a family reunion, sharing stories, deep from the heart kind of stories and I fell in love with this amazing woman who is the sister to my late grandfather.
Aunt Bonny was this radiant soul who cared for people deeply. She was with her wife for 25 or so years, both out lesbians since they became one, both working for the public school system. COURAGE! They worked hard to fight for gay rights and to make a difference in big and small ways in their community.
Sitting with my aunt, hearing her tell me their story and sharing with me about her life, I was so blown away by the way that she lived: with love, courage, humility, compassion, beauty and grace. I left our reunion so happy that this woman was of my blood and that I got to know her and her wife the way family should know each other: seeing each other for who we really are and cherishing that deeply.
Thanks to facebook, after our time together, I got to know both of these awesome women more. To see them speak out about things that matter to them, to see them share their love for each other and this great big, giant love affair with life. WOW! Bold living and such inspiration!
I can’t even really express how awed I became of my aunt and her wife. Two magical spirits living life in a big way.
And then, we got the news. The C word. Just 6 or 7 months later, she is gone.
The last few weeks, I have gotten to see what a true champion for humanity my aunt was. Even on her death bed, waiting to let go, she did so with courage and love and grace. I’m sure there were ugly moments, but I know, without question that her unbelievable spirit shone through every step of the way.
And so did the big love held in the heart of my Aunt Jan, her wife. We should all be so lucky to have someone at our side in our final days, loving us the way Jan loved Bonny. Breathtaking. Goose bump worthy. What love stories are made of.
Why am I sharing this with you?
Because as I sit here coming to terms with her death, it’s making me think about life and LIVING.
Or more accurately, how we live and the legacy that we leave behind.
I’m sure that my aunt was not perfect. She made mistakes and pissed people off and stubbornly did her own thing. I’m sure she rocked a boat or two.
But what is remarkable now is seeing this huge tidal wave of love that is stirring me to the core… people sharing the impact my aunt had on their lives, the love they have for her, the way she inspired and touched people.
She lived life in a way that made a difference, that made an impact. She lived courageously, she stood for things that mattered to her and spoke out about them. And most importantly, she loved with a big heart. Only she knows the answer to this, but my guess is that she lived completely true to herself.
And isn’t that what it’s all about? Living in a way that is true, that matters, that celebrates what is possible as we go about our day to day living?
So, today, in honor of my beautiful aunt, I ask you to go live YOUR truth, live in a big way, stand for things, take bold action, open your heart a wee bit wider, and don’t settle for just going through the motions.
Live your dreams.
Today, not someday. Get started. We don’t know how much longer we have here.
Just last summer my aunt was jumping on the trampoline, swinging on a swing over a river and spending quiet precious moments making nature art projects with my kids. And now she is gone.
So, please, I beg you. Stop waiting, stop trying to figure things out and stop trying to be perfect. And please stop waiting for your courage. Just go for it and trust that the courage will come.
LIVE!! Live your life in a way that will leave a giant tidal wave of people talking about you after you pass on. But don’t do it for me or my aunt or all those people that will be talking about you, do it for YOU!!
Go live your life in way that inspires YOU and that will surely inspire those around you.
I am going to miss my aunt terribly. My heart aches for her wife, who loves her in such a gorgeous way. But I am also grateful that she is here with me, her blood flows through my veins, we are family. And her spirit will live on in the way I go about my day to day living, making my own difference in the big and small ways.
Right now, take a moment and think about your life. What impact do you want to make? What do you want to leave behind? Write it down, share it and most importantly go live it.
For me.. this is what my life is about: Bold living, truth and profound love.