I've written and re-written this post 3 times. I think I'm hesitant to share my view of the afterlife because I don't want to be criticized or debated. I don't want my cousins to feel like I am using their loss as mere fodder for my blog. So I'm just going to put this out there and say it's from the heart and it doesn't begin to describe the fun and loving woman who slipped from this earth today.
My Aunt Connie passed away today after a long and valiant battle against ovarian cancer. I am sad that she is gone, but have found myself comforted by what I'm choosing to believe happened in heaven this morning.
When Connie arrived, escorted by angels, I imagine that God met her at the pearly gates with a huge hug, nodding his head, saying "very good, very good" -- which was one of Aunt Connie's signature phrases. Tell her about a deal you got on a pair of jeans and she would smile, nod and say "very good, very good." Share a joke she enjoyed and get a "very good, very good" in response.
In my mind, God was not the only one waiting for Connie's arrival. My NaNa (Connie's mom) and MaMa (her grandmother) were there too. Seeing the three of them together again brings a smile to my heart. In no time at all, I'm sure NaNa showed Connie where the Ohio State loving angels hang out.
Connie's illness and death have made me miss all the more my mother-in-law who passed away last spring. I think she was there to welcome Connie, too. Karen was so welcoming in life that I'm sure she would be on hand to greet someone I loved. Though Karen and Aunt Connie only met a few times, I know they would have been friends if they'd lived closer together. For one thing, they both believed if one is good, 10 is better, evidenced by the fact that on one of our annual shopping trips, Connie bought 8 pairs of boots for my cousin, just because she couldn't make up her mind which ones Teresa would like best. I think a lot of those went back to the store, but I just laughed as the boots kept piling up. (It was also Aunt Connie who taught me about themes for Christmas gift giving.)
It's been a year of loss in our family, as my sister lost her father-in-law in January. I'm sure Steve was on the welcome wagon, too. His love of running and beer and his sense of humor reminded me a bit of my Uncle Ed, Connie's husband. I like to think that Steve is there to look out for Connie.
It's probably a juvenile view of heaven and probably not 100% theologically accurate, but today it has helped me. I think Aunt Connie would even nod and say "very good, very good."