It started the way it always does- with a phone call and the words “are you sitting down?” Immediately my mind started to race with questions. What’s wrong? Who’s gone? How am I going to make it in time? When are the services? And then dreaded why comes.

I recently read a book that challenged me to think about what I wanted to be known for. It asked, do you want to be known for material and superficial things or do you want to be known by the legacy you leave?

My grandfather’s sister, my Great Aunt Nancy was a cornerstone in our family. To  know her was a blessing I didn’t realize I had until she was gone.

She had an open door policy. If she was home we were welcome to come visit her at any time. She was happy to have the company. The feeling was mutual.

She had an open heart policy. I didn’t use her as a sounding board often but the times I did she listened to what I said very openly before telling me her point of view on the matter.

She was frugal, but not cheap. She was wise with her resources. She spent all year planning out and cross stitching personalized Christmas ornaments for her immediate family (which hovers around the 35 mark, I’m sure I’ve forgotten someone). I was blessed to receive a few and they will make Christmas this year a little sweeter.

She was a the family historian and archiver. I can’t wait to get home and take a trip down memory lane through her neatly organized (by year) photo albums. I am terrible at printing and organizing my photos. She was a master. Additionally there wasn’t a family holiday or reunion that went by where she anyone leave without getting a family photo. She did a lot of research into our family history and genealogy. I haven’t looked through it much, but I know it is there.

She loved her family. She traveled with them. She supported them. She showed up when it mattered even if it was the middle of the night.

She loved them with a genuine authentic unconditional love.

And she loved them well.