Saturday, July 23, 2016

My Two Lizzies

atheist blog
I have loved two Lizzies in my life. My daughter Elizabeth is so very beloved to me; I would do anything for her. The other Lizzie that I would have done anything for is my great aunt,
Elizabeth Marie Becker.

When I was a  little girl, my dear Aunt Elizabeth was just an old person we used to visit to me, you know, the type with weird candy and weird smells in the house. Our family would visit and while the kids explored the house and yard trying to occupy ourselves the adults talked. She wasn't really meaningful to me when I was a kid, really, but sometime during my twenties my Aunt Elizabeth became so very important and special to me. Necessary, even.

Although there was a schism in my family of origin that I disliked intensely, Aunt Elizabeth was the first family member who didn't live under my roof to understand my need to heal that schism. She supported me one hundred percent in my desire to love everyone, in my desire to let go of the hurt. It surprised the hell out of me and, suddenly, I realized that there was so much more to this woman than I knew. Suddenly she seemed to me like an avant garde thinker, a woman of integrity and unusual clarity.

Here she was in her 90s and I was finally beginning to understand just what a treasure she was. I started spending as much time as I could with her, however I could find the time. She was incredibly humorous, very loving, a real optimist, well-read, highly interested in world events, and completely opposite me philosophically in every other way. But I loved that woman with such intensity!

That woman generously and instantly gave me something I had been longing for: beautiful familial love, sincere affection, vitality, her complete support, and her heart. How I enjoyed learning about my family history, more importantly about her own history, as we sat together, touching hands and faces. And OH how I loved bringing my second Lizzie into the world and sharing her with Aunt Elizabeth. It was like a beautiful gift I could give back to her.

Aunt Elizabeth's son, Paul,
Late in his life,
So much love
I remember this one time, in her 100s, against her better judgement, she came to a birthday party that we had for little Elizabeth. Although Aunt Elizabeth wasn't well, she still made the taxing trip over to the house, out of the car, and into the party. She wasn't feeling well and had a brief moment where she regretted coming, felt embarrassed with her ill-moment. It was at that moment that my heart swelled to ten times it's normal size. Against her better judgement Aunt Elizabeth showed her love by struggling through the day, all for us, all for her love for us. I will truly never forget her generous heart.

When Aunt Elizabeth died at the golden age of 105, I hope she knew how important she was to me. I hope she knew how renewing and hopeful her spirit was for me. I hope one of her last memories of me was me sitting beside her bed, loving her with all of my heart. Each time I look at my daughter, I see a small part of Aunt Elizabeth...I'm so lucky to have both of them in my life.

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