Today, I learned that my great Aunt Ada went to be the Lord. She was drawn into His arms late last evening. When the phone rang this morning, I knew it was my Mom and I knew what she was going to tell me. You see, she's been longing to be with her Savior for sometime now and we all knew that it wasn't long away.
My memories of her are very fond. Everyone in her family spoke with great Southern pride and called her AintAder(yes, say it like it's spelled with no pause between the two words). No one, not her Dad, brothers, sisters, nieces, or nephews said it the way it was spelled. I honestly thought that was her name until late in life. You see, when I was small I remember the visits. I remember going to visit my great grandmother and great grandfather at their home. Aunt Polly and Aunt Ada would take turns caring for them. Granny Hayes was bedridden from a tragic accident earlier in her life. Papa Hayes was not bedridden but did need some help with meals and other activities of daily living. Their hearing wasn't good, so the two aunts(whichever one was there) would always speak in a very loud voice, no matter who they were talking to. I think they were so used to talking loud to their Dad that they just carried it over to everyone else all the time. They graciously nursed their Mom and daily cooked fresh, home cooked meals. I remember eating the meals in the kitchen. Huge meals of southern favorites like fried okra, beans, cornbread and fried chicken. Any leftovers were carefully covered and left to sit on the table. They then would cover the whole table (leftovers and all) with a table cloth covering everything on the table. Anyone could go in there and get more if they wanted it as the day progressed. This was long before the warnings of food poisoning and salmonella were rampant...and ya' know what- I don't remember anyone getting sick. Maybe, I just don't remember, but I really don't think they did. I also remember that they always had on hand-soft peppermint sticks and we always got to get one before we left. I remember the vinyl couches and the rocking chair that my Papa Hayes always sat in...no one ever sat in his chair. It wasn't a recliner-just a wooden rocking chair with a pad on it. I think it was similar to the ones that we use on our front porches now. A far cry from the plush, comfy recliners that we all fight over now.
Yesterday my mom and I were talking (before Aunt Ada went to be with the Lord) we were discussing the care she required, the nurse, someone to care for her every need- I then remembered how she spent many years of her life nursing her own parents-caring for their every need. She loved them, nurtured them and always seemed joyful about it. She never seemed condescending towards them, just caring. I don't ever remember a cross face or cross word-only hugs and smiles. She lived her life as a great example to all of us-one of selfless giving. She was a perfect example of caring for others before caring for yourself. I'm sure she gave up quite a lot through the years as she cared for them. Just the time involved was quite a gift.
On a side note, she was a great seamstress. I proudly own a couple of beautiful baby quilts that she made for my children. All put away carefully, to pass on to them when they have children. Who could ask for a better keepsake? They're beautiful and made by her caring hands. Crazy to think about, but when given to my grandchildren-it would be from their great, great, great aunt Ada. I will also tell them what a great lady she was...one that graciously put others before her own desires and needs.