Last week I lost someone so dear to me. My beloved Aunt Mary passed away after having lived a long and loving life. She was, for me, a great role model for the kind of woman that I wanted to be as I grew up. I valued being a part of her life, not for things that she gave me, but for what she showed me life could be. Not in terms of vocation, but something much more basic and more important. She was a happy person. And happiness, in my opinion, is highly undervalued. Kind of taken for granted as a given. Take a moment to reflect on the people in your life who radiate happiness in what they say and do. Don't you feel drawn to them? Yet, we really don't stop to think why we are drawn to them and celebrate that with them.
When I was with Aunt Mary, I knew happiness. And there are a million happy things to miss about being with her. The minute my sister and I were with her, she would get out her dresses and let us play dress up. She would tweak our outfits with belts, jewelry, .......let us put on makeup. We would put on her Tom Jones and Englebert Humperdinck records and we would dance around together! Aunt Mary loved goodies! And she always had cake or pie or cookies at the ready. There was always a bowl of candy in her house. She loved snuggly stuffed animals and dolls. She loved animals and picking flowers. She was never short on smiles and laughter. Most importantly, when we were with her, we felt so loved. When she wasn't hugging us literally, we felt hugged just by the way she looked at us, or smiled at us. She was a woman who never lost sight of the joy and happiness that you can derive from the little things. There was a child like quality about her, in that she didn't allow herself to become hardened and jaded over her years of growing into womanhood. And what a gift I received to have had that role model. I'm a grateful sapling for sure. And everytime I play with jewelry, dance to a record, eat goodies, hug dolls and animals, pick flowers..and yes, even smile, .....I will be reminded of who taught me the value of happiness. And just as I will never let go of the memory of her...I will never let go of living my life with happiness in it. I have her to thank. And the satisfaction of knowing that I was sure to tell her, and thank her and celebrate it with her when I had the chance.