A Tardy Death

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Death has come to Aunt Dee some 85 years after it was first rumored. Word got out in their small village that she had died when she was critically ill with typhoid fever, and those Southern people came bringing food. This past Sunday, my cousin’s text read, “Aunt Dee has gone to be with Uncle Charles.”  

My earliest picture of her is this one with her oldest sister, my mother, on the farm when she was a baby. Today, I’m reprising excerpts from a blog I wrote about her five years ago on her 95th birthday. 

A curious outcome of significant aging is that one seems to pass from hiding one’s age behind Jack Benny’s perpetual 39 to becoming pleased with oneself for achieving such a great number. I’m fairly sure that my Aunt Dee is an achiever as she turns 95 tomorrow. Of even greater significance is that she’s still trying new things and contributing as she has made the mid-mark of her nineties. 

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Her fine needlework has long been part of our family legend. My own favorite was the bride doll she made for me when I was about ten, using the scraps she had left from her wedding dress and Aunt Ruth’s, both created by her talented hands. Both the doll and the dress required fine stitching – and an old-fashioned bobby pin inside to make the delicate nose. My daughter has inherited the doll, and I expect her to pass it on to her daughter. 

A quick trip through my house turned up her handiwork – a crocheted afghan, a needlepoint pillow in fall colors, and a satin stitched neutral colored pillow. All of my mother’s granddaughters have a cathedral window quilt she stitched entirely by hand. I think it would be hard to find a kind of needlework that she could not do. However, macular degeneration has set in, and small stitches and tiny print in books have become hard to see. One who thought she would just give up didn’t know Aunt Dee very well. 

Aunt Dee just shifted her gears. She bragged a couple of years ago about how much she enjoyed her Nook that a niece gave her for Christmas. The words can be enlarged as much as she wants. The niece keeps it filled with good books. As for the needlework, she switched to a new hobby. She’s designing Christmas ornaments using Styrofoam forms from the crafts store completely covered from her assortment of a gazillion colored sequins. Rumor has it that a great niece’s wedding attendants will benefit from this new handwork in February. 

With no children of her own, Aunt Dee has spent a 100-year-lifetime doing her best to spoil her nieces and nephews. She leaves behind three namesakes and a host of nieces and nephews to the great-great generation who mourn her passing. I can only hope the heavenly hosts have been resting their ears in preparation for her arrival. Aunt Dee has always liked to talk!