Aunt Shirley, “You Love Well”

As loved ones and friends transition from this life, I’ve noticed that God spends time with me in my prayers and meditation with messages of hope. I’m grateful. It’s natural to experience regret or guilt; God just swoops in with a message of love and hope. Finding out that Aunt Shirley had passed away, I took a long walk and listened to songs like “I speak Jesus” and a new artist, Steffany Gretzinger. One of her songs that seemed that Shirley was experiencing in heaven was “Morning Song.” Read the lyrics and see what you think:

Night turns to morning
You have been waiting
Whispering to me
Gently I’m waking

It’s the dawn of a new day
You’ve painted for me
Colors exploding
Telling our story

I’m waking up
I’m waking up
I’m waking up
I’m waking up

Night turns to morning
You have been waiting
Whispering to me
Gently I’m waking

It’s the dawn of a new day
You’ve painted for me
Colors exploding
Telling our story

And I’m waking up
I’m waking up
I’m waking up
I’m waking up

And I can feel the rising of the sun
Mercy sings me the promise of Your love
I’m reminded how far we’ve come
You’re the One that my heart is beating for

I laugh and sing, knowing Aunt Shirley is waking up and experiencing the beauty of heaven. She is reserved, so imagining her dancing and worshiping made me smile.

As I prayed, I felt a message in my heart–“Anna, you love well.” This could be an entire book about why this message means the world to me. The choices we have in our mind and words to speak hope versus condemnation and regret. What we focus on and say to ourselves matters.

My Aunt Shirley spent a few summers with me when I was a little girl. She taught me how to garden, and her home had a pond. I enjoyed her love for nature and using our hands to create beautiful things like sewing, gardening, and cooking. She was the first person I knew who had a passion for owls. She had a shelf filled with different owls. Perhaps she was the first person who taught me to appreciate birds. Later in life, I married a man who taught me a deeper appreciation of birds. We had our family Christmas parties at her house. The family would gather in her home and head to the basement to open gifts, and the food was typical southern cooking.

I remember dancing in her kitchen to the record player. My favorite song was “Please, Mr. Postman” by the Marvelettes.

Shirley was the best at keeping up with birthdays and holidays. She would consistently send cards and gifts to show my children and me her love. She would message me, text me, and encourage me. Her simple love was grand. When Valentina was away receiving the help she needed, Shirley wrote and sent her gifts. One gift, a deck of cards, got Valentina through some hard times. It was that simple. A deck of cards.

Shirley loved her grandchildren. She would send pictures, care for them, and tell us stories. In her later years, Shirley and Ralph would watch the great-grandchildren (all boys) and found joy in them growing and being a part of their lives.

Later in life, she would visit my mom with her daughter. The visits were a time of a short hello and a quick conversation, and I treasured them. Age differences and seasons keep us from being able to fully engage. I had work but felt so blessed I could pause and come down to visit for a short time.

Mom and her would talk on the phone every day, sometimes multiple times. Shirley would always tell me how much she loved her sister, Louise. The love seemed to be an anchor.

Shirley was outspoken and found it easy to speak her mind. She would send me sermons and articles to read, genuinely desiring to discuss the topic and share thoughts. Until it was difficult for her, she would read this blog and text me comments and encouraging words. She loved Adelaide. I hope to find the video where Adelaide had her hand on her hip, sassy-talking Shirley. Victoria, send it to me if you are reading this and find it. She adored Adelaide. As we head to the service today, I’m fully aware that more memories will flood in, and I will come back to this space to add more stories and pictures.

I found the video, Victoria!

I will encourage my family, who reads this blog, to add comments that include your memories to honor your Aunt Shirley.

I kept a few audio messages from her. I wanted to post them so we could hear her voice and remember her love. I just went to her Facebook. I noticed that she had kept pictures of our family on her pages. Oh, precious Shirley, I will miss you so much. See you in the Morning–the Morning of dancing and complete healing!

*a post message from Carrie Godbey

Lovely tribute- as always. You have such a gift for sharing! As I read this, “The family would gather in her home and head to the basement to open gifts, and the food was typical southern cooking,” My mind just instinctively replaced family with world. Isn’t that such a testament to the impact those we love have? They bring people together and it isn’t just family, but it’s bringing your entire world front and center. All that really matters, it’s all there in those moments. That’s how I feel when you host us all in your home… You’re bringing all that matters in this world to the forefront. Love, togetherness, family, love of Jesus, and good ole southern cooking! I love you, my sister!❤️❤️❤️

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Victoria Lamb says:

    Precious Aunt Shirley was one of a kind! She always remembered birthdays and sent her well wishes through cards. She would send little gifts for our Adelaide and I loved her love for her! They remind me of each other! I will always remember her sweetly calling me “shuga” . She is a beautiful soul with so much love for others. She loved my grandma so much . She will be missed and remembered so fondly. Love to her beautiful family.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lovely tribute- as always. You have such a gift for sharing! As I read this, “The family would gather in her home and head to the basement to open gifts, and the food was typical southern cooking,” My mind just instinctively replaced family with world. Isn’t that such a testament to the impact those we love have? They bring people together and it isn’t just family, but it’s bringing your entire world front and center. All that really matters, it’s all there in those moments. That’s how I feel when you host us all in your home… You’re bringing all that matters in this world to the forefront. Love, togetherness, family, love of Jesus, and good ole southern cooking! I love you, my sister!❤️❤️❤️ Carrie Godbey

    Like

  3. Lovely tribute- as always. You have such a gift for sharing! As I read this, “The family would gather in her home and head to the basement to open gifts, and the food was typical southern cooking,” My mind just instinctively replaced family with world. Isn’t that such a testament to the impact those we love have? They bring people together and it isn’t just family, but it’s bringing your entire world front and center. All that really matters, it’s all there in those moments. That’s how I feel when you host us all in your home… You’re bringing all that matters in this world to the forefront. Love, togetherness, family, love of Jesus, and good ole southern cooking! I love you, my sister!❤️❤️❤️ Carrie Godbey

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s