I am in St. Louis today to pay my final respects to a great lady. My wonderful Aunt Alice passed away this week just shy of her 96th birthday. We knew it was coming but it still does not soften the blow. On the one hand, I am comforted that she is no longer prevented from doing things as the last few years have not been kind as her once-sharp mind and able body fell to the ravages of time and disease. The Shifleys numbers have certainly dwindled over the years, and Aunt Alice was my last connection to that part of my life so watching her deteriorate was certainly upsetting. I was robbed of the opportunity to talk with her as she was too weak to hold a phone much less engage in small talk with me. I still corresponded with her through letters and cards but I greatly missed being able to hold a conversation with her especially about the Cardinals or the Blues. After my Mom, she is the other woman that had a deep and substantial influence on my life, and without her guidance and support I don’t think I would be where I am at today. Unable to have children of her own, I leaned on her for advice to decide if having kids was something that I really wanted in my life as I had resisted that endeavor for many years. She told me without hesitation that I definitely needed to try and start a family. She also bailed me out in college when a momentary lapse of sound decision making left me embarrassed and without enough money to finish the semester. I asked for help from others but no one else could lend a helping hand, and Aunt Alice did not make it easy on me. She thought long and hard about it before saying “OK” to really let me know that I had done something irresponsible and it was one of those pivotal moments in my life where I could have been sent adrift but she was there to help keep me on course to complete my studies so I would eventually graduate, and eventually meet the love of my life, the lovely Mrs. Shife. Without Aunt Alice in my life, I have no idea where I would be today, but thankfully her guidance, generosity, and love, I have ended up right where she knew I should be, blessed with the love of wonderful family and friends just like the ones that were here today to say good bye to her. Thank you Aunt Alice for being a role model, an inspiration, and a guiding light in my life and for so many countless others. You will be missed.
Some people come into our lives
and leave footprints on our hearts
and we are never ever the same. -- Flavia Weedn
P.S. I will visit your blogs soon I promise but it is hard right now as I am out of town and spending time with family. Take care.
I will persevere. I will keep moving forward. I will be the stream.