"Holiday gifts: To your enemy, forgiveness. To a friend, your heart. To all, good will."
As I've been writing this blog the last several months, I have often had one particular person in mind as I wrote about the changes in my life due to my illness. My Aunt Judy was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension a few years ago and had been dealing with the changes and limitations the diagnosis brought into her life. I would talk to mom on the phone and she would say Judy was having a tough time knowing her limitations or adjusting to not being out and about, so I would write about a time in my life when those feelings were new to me and how I adjusted my thinking in order to deal with them.
It was my way of trying to help without being one more person who was trying to tell her what to do. Because I know how I feel when people try to tell me what to do. :) So it's a little strange for me to sit and write this post today knowing that Judy isn't here to read it. She passed away on Monday afternoon with her husband Jon and two boys, Brad and Todd, there to love her into her new life in heaven.
I so wish every one of you could have known Judy, because you would have loved her and she would certainly have loved you. My mom hit the nail on the head when we were talking tonight and she said that everyone Judy met was her best friend. Everyone she introduced mom to was her best friend. She loved big and loved a lot.
And she also whined like no one else I know. Seriously, people... I know it sounds weird but it was my absolute favorite thing about her. She wasn't an annoying whiner... she whined in a way that made you laugh and want to wrap your arms around her and take care of everything for her. When I called her once in the hospital, I was expecting to hear how she was feeling and instead we had a 20 minute conversation about the fact that they had changed her diet and all these food commercials are on TV and it just wasn't fair that she couldn't have a hamburger and fries. I mean, a little grease and fat couldn't be that bad for her heart!
My sister Janette had visited her there and sure enough she had become best friends with the nurses and would lower her head and look at them through those eyelashes and convince them to just bring her a little smidge of coffee. A little whine from Judy and people just couldn't help themselves.
We would be sitting next to each other and she would whine about my long eyelashes and how hers weren't long and, how did I curl them like that? Which would sometimes lead to a full-on makeover for Judy by the time the conversation was ended. But Judy noticed those things because, let me tell you people, Judy had to be classy. Which means everyone around her needed to be classy, too. Mom, Dad, Judy and Jon spent many a holiday together and no one would leave the house without the right clothes, cologne and overall look. I can see her practically taking my dad's white socks off his feet and explaining to him that socks with sandals just aren't classy. Thank goodness Dad and Jon still have Mother to keep them in line and check their outfits before going out the door... because Judy wouldn't have it any other way.
There are so many things I want to tell you about her but just can't on this blog. Because not all of our hog roasts were with nuns and singing, Oh Lord It's Hard to Be Humble. No, we had many a hog roast at their lake house in Brainerd that were equally entertaining in much different ways. There is a video floating around somewhere of Mom, Me, Janette, Judy and Jon in a kick-line singing, Why Don't We Get Drunk and Screw. Let's just say we didn't have many dull moments ... and Mom's right ... everyone in Judy's life was so fortunate to be her best friend.
The world feels a little different without her in it, but it would be a much more beautiful place if we all took a little bit of Aunt Judy into our hearts and greeted every new stranger as our best friend. It's definitely something I'm going to try to emulate from Judy.
That, and staying classy.