That 's how my world has felt the past couple of days.  I've been trying to sit quietly, reflect, keep it in perspective.  But death and loss is hard to put into perspective.
My 101 year old aunt died Tuesday.  If this would have happened 5 years ago, I would have felt bad for my mom and uncle, and gone on about my crazy life.  Because 5 years ago my aunt lived at home, drove around, had her own life and was only a part of mine on holidays when we all gathered together.  But a couple of years ago after a bad fall, she moved into a nursing home and I became a part of her life.  Or rather, she became a part of mine.  I honestly don't even know how it happened, how I became a weekly visitor.  My mom, my aunt and uncle, and myself rotated days weekly and it just became a part of my routine.  And I'm a routine gal.  I've written about this before, how sometimes I was feeling like it was a chore, taking up my time when I had so much to get done.  But I would never leave her feeling resentful, and I can honestly say I enjoyed every minute and often looked forward to my day or days of the week with her.
  In the same way my preschool students always keep me on my toes every Sunday, my aunt did the same thing.  Without being cliche, I have been a part of the true circle of life the past couple of years. Preschoolers have a certain way of looking at things, and so do 100 year old women.  We all get embedded in our lives, our chores, our responsibilities, our families.  And my mindset was set on autopilot most of the time.  But on Sunday mornings I'm blessed with teaching these little ones, and what they say and what they think makes me shift gears.  In the same way my time telling stories but more importantly listening to stories from my aunt also completely expanded my mind, and my heart.    I've gone on an amazing historical journey, learning about her life, her family, her personality, her spirituality, her laughter, and her tears.  And all of it makes me smile.  She made me happy, every single visit.  Somehow she could always take something I thought was not a big deal, and turn it into something wonderful.  And we quickly and easily fell into our routine, because she was a routine gal too.  I never worried about what we were going talk about.  I knew how the visit would start, how it would end, the topics that would be covered, and anything beyond that would just be for me like a little kid sitting on the edge of their seat listening to an amazing tale being told.
  My aunt loved birds.  She had a bird feeder right outside her glass sliding door and trust me those birds were the most well fed birds in town.  I knew nothing about birds but I can identify many a species now.  Last summer she added a hummingbird feeder to her window.  There was one almost every time I was there and I always, always had to stop and watch.  We had endless discussions about hummingbirds.  She said to me once no matter who you were or how old you were or what you were doing, people stopped in amazement to watch hummingbirds.  People are attracted to watching these amazing creatures and try to comprehend the wing speed and their delicate nature.  And she's right, they are fascinating.  I told her one visit that fall after the feeder had been taken down for the season that she was my hummingbird, and most likely a hummingbird for lots of people around her.  Because she was fascinating and people were attracted to her and her amazing ways.  Her smile, her radiance, her  love and positivity.  She loved that, she loved me.
  The past week of her life was hard.  She was done, she was tired, her tiny 101 year old body was ready.  I saw her Monday and our visit was like any other.  We easily slipped into our routine, then chatted.  She talked about being so tired, nothing I haven't heard at different times.  The week before I had come in a pink shirt and she said I looked so much better in color then  the grey colors I mod often wore in the winter.  She was an honest woman.  Monday I had on pink again, not hard for me as I have a lot of pink clothes.  She loved it and again, I thought how simple to make someone so happy with the color of a shirt.  I left Monday and said I would be back Wednesday.  When shopping at Sams later that day I bought a bright multicolored tank top specifically to wear Wednesday because I knew she would love it, and that would make me smile.  I got a call Tuesday that she had slipped into unconsciousness and it would be mere hours.  I quickly jumped in the car and headed to the nursing home.  We were actually under a tornado watch and storms were coming.  I made it there before the storm hit.  My aunt did pass away hours later.  And it rained all night and all the next day.  Which seemed fitting in a way.  Because although I know this woman wanted to be done and and had been asking to be with Jesus for so long, loss is loss.  And life felt grey and colorless.  Colorblind.
  The sun was out today and it was the most beautiful day, perfect.  And I didn't feel colorblind anymore.  In fact I felt like my aunt was giving me this glorious day as a reminder that she was  happier than she had ever been, and I needed to remember that.  I wore that bright colored tank top today, and I know she saw me, and that makes me smile.

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