My husband's sister Kay died Friday night. She has not been well for the past couple of years, but this past five days, a sudden attack took us all by surprise and two surgeries later (which she survived), she couldn't make it but just a day. Her sons and their loved ones made it in to say goodbye, and I think she waited. My family and I are so very sad.
I have a wonderful brother, and two wonderful sisters-in law. They've been my family for years and years and I count on them as if we had grown up together. Kay was a wonderful woman. I just had the nicest conversation with her last Saturday and in it she told me of the flowers she sent in our family's name for a distant cousin's funeral. She was like that, kept up. These past two years have been rough, but she kept doing things, traveling, going to the beloved sports games at the local college with her husband. She was so tired, but refused to stop. She was like that.
Kay was a teacher for a long while, then she and her husband got the chance to start a business and she started an entire new career in her fifties. She was so smart, taught Sunday school, was on the library board, volunteered at a myriad of activities at her church, and never failed to ensure that someone was remembered for a family in grief. She was a great cook, could put together one of those wonderful dinners with the huge roast and potato casserole, with a good salad and home grown vegetables every day if there were enough people there to eat it. She was generous with her support, and I have felt much of that these past years during the challenges with my husband's illness. She could have questioned my care of her brother, but she did not. She loved him, but supported my decisions. Kay never got to be a grandmother, but she sent my own grandchildren a book and card every single birthday and for Christmas. Her kindnesses are the moments we all will miss, very very much. She was the kind of woman everyone should be.
Funny that I just posted my own poem about violets last week sometime. One of Kay's favorite flowers was the violet. I found the perfect poem for her by Mary Oliver. As Oliver says at the end of the poem, "Oh, violets, you did signify, and what shall take your place?"
Violets, by Mary Oliver, can be found here.