When I first heard of Aunt Millie's passing I did not cry. I never do react quickly to difficult news. It takes time for me to really absorb what I have been told, and I will find that it is much later that the emotions will come. This is what happened today. As Herb and I were driving home from Phoenix to Show Low, AZ, I opened up Facebook and saw the obituary from Anderson Clayton. As I read her life's story condensed into a few paragraphs the memories of who she is and was began to fill my mind.
When I reached the part that spoke of those in her family that had gone before her; that is when I broke down. All of a sudden I saw the nucleus called "Townsend", those who are now with the Lord, and those who are still remaining. For those of us who grew up in the atmosphere of this nucleus, although it wasn't perfect, it was a "place"; familiar, steady, grounded, and reachable.
As the years have gone by this nucleus has began to change, and the core of this which was made up of grandparents, aunts, and uncles has seen bits and pieces of it shooting off like distant stars. It will never be the same again as these stars will never return to this "place", because their new home is much grander than they could have ever imagined.
It was an odd feeling this afternoon because I felt a part of me leave. Aunt Millie left pieces of her soul in and througout this "place" called Townsend. I've seen the various postings from cousins, my sisters, and people I do not know that all tell their own story of this woman called Mildred Eudy.
I tell mine now as not only a tribute, but as a means to hold on to how her life affected my own. At the recent reunion I had a chance to sit down privately with her. I grabbed her hand and said, "Aunt Millie, I have always loved you. You have meant so much to me in my own life, and the Lord used you to draw me back to Him. Thank you for loving me, and for reaching out to me with His love." Tears fell from her eyes.
Carolyn and I attended a funeral before we left Texas that Monday. Aunt Millie was there. She kept placing her hand on my arm and Carolyn's and looking at us with an expression I cannot describe. It was like she was trying to tell us something that she could not find words for. Maybe, deep in her heart, she had that sense of "going". I don't know.
All I know is that a piece of me is gone. I know where it went, though, and by God's grace I will find that piece again when I close my eyes in death and awake in glory. I will know the exquisite joy of seeing my mother, my grandmothers, my grandfathers, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends and above all, Jesus, Who loved me so much that He made the way for these pieces of me to only be temporarily suspended until He gathers us all together again.
I am so glad I came to Texas to the reunion. I am so glad that I have these memories to cherish in my soul. I am so glad Aunt Millie is really Home with all those who have been missing her and longing to see her again.
I am so grateful that I had a grandmother, Etta Mae Townsend, who believed on Jesus Christ as Savior and taught Him to me. Jesus, how I love You for "preserving" all these wonderful pieces of that "place" called Townsend, and how one great day we will have a reunion that this world could never match.
I won't say goodbye to Aunt Millie. She is just a breath away from me. Yes, I cry now, but it is not tears of sorrow that cannot be comforted. I cry tears from a heart that knew the love of this special Aunt, and I will miss her until we meet again.
Charlotte Roberts Fortier.