I won't pretend to have known you like the rest of them. Your family. Your friends. In fact, when I showed up in the story of your life, you'd already lived 59 years worth of experiences, relationships and memories. But what I will say, is that the Sally I met and knew and loved, was no doubt a more solid and stable, wise and seasoned, relaxed and confident woman than the girl she came into the world as. You had made your mark. You were unapologetic about who you were...truly authentic. And what's more, you accepted all of us...just the way we were....unapologetically.
There are so many things about you that I will have the pleasure of remembering. The way you listened when you didn't seem to be listening. The way you laughed down to your inner most core. The way you held my newborn baby girl with such love and excitement while speaking what was most likely German to her. I will always remember that you were the first person Jay called to share the news of our engagement...and your excitement didn't disappoint. You introduced me to the Bear Pit BBQ restaurant and a form of unconditional love I'd never known before. No matter what was going on in your life, you always had time to hear what was going on in mine. In pain and amidst all kinds of health problems of your own, your first question regarding my upcoming back surgery was, "When can I come and help?" I will always remember the way you treated me like part of your family...close family. I will always remember your flaming red hair and your matching personality that would set any room on fire.
You would have loved your memorial. It was strange for me being there, around all of your people...those who loved you. I kept thinking to myself, "Aunt Sally should be here...." But you weren't. And I missed you. We all did. You would have loved all of the attention and stories and fun being poked at you. There was laughter and there were tears and there were ice cream bars. But what I would like to share with you is this. You made a difference. You affected people. What a testament to the person you were, when everyone in your life thought that they were your very favorite. What a gift! And you had it. Filled up, pressed down and flowing over. When you spoke the words, "I love you," we knew it...and believed it...and were comforted by it. The impact you had in your too short 69 years will have eternal affects and that, I thought you should know. I thank you Aunt Sally. For the pleasure of your company (not nearly enough), the ease of your conversation, and for the gift of your two precious and unconditionally loving daughters who I adore because I can see so much of you in them.
During your memorial, a little pink and red paper heart was given out to each person that would then be placed with your body before you were laid to rest. And on this paper, we were told to write a message to you. The thought made me smile, as I thought about what I would say to you if you had been sitting there right next to me.... A couple of dirty jokes entered my mind. And then a brief memory or two. And then some thought provoking quotes that I thought you might have enjoyed. But as I sat there thinking, it occurred to me that whatever I put on this little heart would in essence be the last thing I could say to you. My dear Aunt Sally, if you were sitting right here next to me now and I could only say one more thing...well this is what my real heart (and the little pink paper one) would say. Thank you for loving and caring for so many people in my life who I love too and have shown me so much love in return. The impact that your love had surrounds me every day.
Until we meet again,
Tava (your favorite)
P.S. I miss you already.