6.28.2010

in memory

My mother is the youngest of 4 sisters.  Last week, her oldest sister, Irene, passed away after enduring a long battle with cancer.  To sum up a life well lived is difficult, but to let it go without saying anything at all? 

Impossible.

My aunt was a strong southern woman; the very definition of a steel magnolia.  Legally blind, Irene endured difficulties that a lesser person would have crumbled underneath.  Born premature in 1928, she began her life fighting against the odds.  Inner strength & perseverance was inside her from the very beginning.

She was many things in addition to wife & mother & grandmother:  devoted friend. teacher. volunteer. writer. poet. singer. lover of the arts & literature.  Her faith was so unfailingly steady, I wouldn't be surprised if God had her on speed dial.  She loved a scarf, made delicious broccoli & cheese casserole and had a zest for life that inspired everyone around her, particularly in her later years.

I always felt that we were kindred spirits, in a way. I have been jotting down little stories and the like for years, and every time we spoke, Aunt Irene would ask me about my writing.  In recent years, when all I wrote were To Do lists, I found Irene's work to be motivating.  It's yet another reason why I am so thankful for this blog -- because it has me writing again.

A member of the South Carolina Poetry Society & several local writing groups, we will always treasure her books of poetry.  An Anglophile like myself, I often think we would have been much happier in the days of Jane Austin, wandering around the English countryside with journal in hand.

For her 80th birthday last year, my mom & aunts gave her a trip to NYC.  My mom brought her up for the long weekend, and it is a time I'll always remember.  Amongst touring the city, we saw the Thornton Wilder play, Our Town.  In its final act, Emily asks, "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it? -- every, every minute?"

I know Irene did.  And her life will not be forgotten.  It will live on within her enormous circle of friends, her family that loved her, and her beautiful poetry.

Last Lines
by Irene N. Lofton

If I had one wish,
that would be
to live each moment
to its fullest joy
to savor all the daily things
that make life's years.

And at the end
let there be few tears
for I would have held
life's fullest cup
and tasted every drop
that filled it up.

2 comments:

Sonja said...

Irene was a strong, devoted woman and a very dear aunt. We will miss her on our visits to the south.

karrie said...

Such a lovely post. Thank you for remembering Irene and allowing me to know her through your words. Just beautiful girl.

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