Memories of Maxine

2015-02-06 22.14.14 (4)My favorite aunt, Maxine, passed away recently. She was just days shy of her 96th birthday. She was my mother’s older sister and leaves my mother as the last surviving sibling of the seven children in her family. Below are my Memories of Maxine which I shared at her funeral.

Memories of Maxine

My Grandmother Wagner told me once that instead of being sad when people die we should rejoice because they’ve gone to be with the Lord. Our tears are for ourselves not for them.

It’s hard to say why any one person holds a special place in our hearts. But for my brothers and me, Maxine was always our favorite aunt. Hers was the house you could go to where you’d never be judged, criticized or disciplined. Where you’d always be accepted just as you were.

My memories of Maxine are isolated. Picking blackberries one summer and watching her make a cobbler without a recipe that melted in your mouth nonetheless.

Dressing chickens with my mom and grandmother and her telling me if this is going to make you hate chicken, you don’t have to help.

Walking through her garden and around her house while she explained what every plant and flower was.

Summer nights taking turns churning ice cream for hours but the ice cream was always soft and runny.

Sitting on the glider on her front porch in the evening watching the world pass by.

She was like my dad in that you could talk to her about anything.

I can hear her laugh over something silly and see her tapping her fingers on the steering wheel at a stoplight.

It was a little disconcerting to discover a few years ago that I had no plans for New Year’s Eve but my 90-something aunt did. Disconcerting but not surprising.

I guess my grandmother was right. My tears are for myself. Because now there’s one less person in the world who accepted me. Who never criticized or judged me. One less person who loves me. I’m glad she’s at peace and I can only hope she knew how much I loved her. And how much I’ll miss her.

This is the last picture I took of Maxine. We were at the nursing home visiting my mother November 2015. Her eyes are closed but she was laughing. I want to remember her laugh.


 Maxine’s Obituary is here:

#memories #family #funeral