We buried my aunt today. I chose to say a few words at the small family service…here they are:
Since Betty’s death, I’ve been hearing the word dignity as it related to how she handled her illness. I kept thinking that it was not a word I would’ve used…it conjured an image of a stuffy polite little gray hair who was always prim and proper. (No offense Betty, but I think things like “tough ol’ bird, or “spitfire”)
So I decided to think about what that word really means, and I found confirmation that dignity is indeed the best possible word when described by Maya Angelou…
“Dignity-the word itself-has come to mean different things to different people, as many words do. It doesn’t just mean always being stiff and composed. It means a belief in oneself, that one is worthy of the best. Dignity means that what I have to say is important, and I will say it when it is important for me to say it. Dignity really means that I deserve the best treatment I can receive. And that I have the responsibility to give the best treatment I can to other people.”
And to that end, she not only died with dignity, she lived with it too. She was always a kind neighbor, dedicated in work and volunteering, a thoughtful friend, and especially a loving aunt….oh, and she was one sassy sister, right bob?
So I say to Betty: thank you for setting the example for all of us, to live and die with dignity, and for always showing up. It’s not only the special occasions that showed me who you were…it was being part of those everyday moments: cooking with you, giving you a ride, or eating pie together. And thank you for choosing to make us family-because you didn’t have to-especially considering what a delight I was in the beginning especially. And finally, thank you for making me one of your friends-when you came to tea time and invited me to join you and your friends for girls night-you made my heart happy.
Rest In Peace Betty