My Aunt Dee passed away five years ago. She holds a forever place in my heart and I miss her dearly. So, I’d like to honor her memory. In 1966, she published the Cookie Cookbook, which if you pause to think about what the world was like 48 years ago, this was a huge accomplishment. Today, anyone with a computer can self-publish a book. In 1966, a homemaker had to sell the concept to a publisher, then come up all the recipes and bake all the cookies in the book. Dee did and she went on later in life to publish two books on genealogy- one tracing the Clem family and the other-Tracing African American Roots. She was amazing.
This holiday season, I’ll be featuring Dee’s cookies on my blog. Some of the recipes still work well with modern technology- others don’t so it will be interesting to see how many Rosie and I have to re-work.It will also be our homeschool cooking class for the Fall. We’re excited to share some amazing cookies with all of you.
For now, I’d like to share the piece I wrote when Dee died (sadly my Uncle Bill who’s in the picture with her, died two weeks later) . This was first published on the KC Star’s mom site in November 2009. My heart still aches.
If you’re reading this at the moment it goes live, Rosie and I are standing in the cemetery at my Aunt Dee’s funeral. I’ve dressed Rosie in red. Black seemed too depressing. Today, for me, is a celebration of my aunt.
My aunt lived a glorious, full, rich life that was cut short by a brain tumor. One day she was vibrant and healthy. Within a couple of weeks, she was in hospice care.
The past month has been a tough one for my family as we’ve had to deal with all the details of death and grieve at the same time. I think you could fill a small river with my tears as I’ve spent countless hours sobbing. Not so much for my loss, but my aunt’s suffering. Life should not be so cruel.
I’ve often thought (probably because of my chosen profession), “what do I want people to say about me when I’m gone?” And, I try to live my life that way. I hope when I leave this earth that my friends and family will speak of the contributions I’ve made.
I hope there’s chatter that I was giving and loving; creative, yet driven. That, I was an incredible wife and mother that put my family first. I’d like everyone to remember the times I made them laugh so hard their sides split and the times that I was there for support, to wipe away tears. Most of all, I want to be remembered for touching lives. I want to make an impact.
I’d like to share with you my thoughts about my aunt as she lay dying. Unable to travel, I sent my father to read this letter. I think it’s a testament to the kind of person she was. We should all aspire to be spoken of this way.
My Dear Aunt Dee, I’m writing you a letter I hoped I’d never have to write. I certainly thought I had many more years, more wonderful experiences and a great deal more time. That’s my only regret.
I think you are amazing. I’ve never in my life met anyone like you. You are like a little ray of sunshine in everyone’s life and at the same time you are as tough as the nuggets of gold in Billy’s mines. You are a perfect combination.
You are incredibly talented. For years, I’ve stood in awe of your ability to communicate; to put yourself into words. At the same time, your ability to research a topic wholly and completely leaves me speechless.
I have always been impressed by you. You are smart and quick and tough. But yet, you have a soft spot in your heart for all of us who love you (and even some that don’t). You are tolerant and patient and kind.
Aunt Dee, you’ve always had a quick wit. You’ve been good for a joke or two (especially after a touch of Early Times). You make everyone around you smile.