We lost my husband's aunt to advanced pancreatic cancer yesterday in the early hours of the morning.
I was in Arkansas visiting my family when I received the news that Aunt Pam would likely not survive the night. I woke my parents and we prayed and cried together, and I went to bed with my mind filled with memories of my precious Aunt-in-Law.
When I say "in-law", it sounds like she was a vague relative in a family that I married into. But Aunt Pam was so much more. She was my mother-in-law's best friend (and sister-in-law), and she welcomed me into this family with open arms. She was a part of the village that raised my husband and when I came into the picture, she became part of my village, too. And when our children came along, they joined that village, too.
She threw my wedding shower. She helped with my baby showers. She was the first person to babysit Caleb. She brought me meals after my babies were born. She hosted Christmas every year and almost always made her delicious bruschetta chicken, at my request. If you told her you liked something she cooked, chances are she'd show up a few days later at your doorstep with the delicious item in hand, made just for you. She taught the four year old Sunday School class at our church for years and years and always referred to the kids as her "friends" when she addressed them collectively. They absolutely adored her almost as much as she absolutely adored them. She was devoted to them. Her exuberance and bubbly personality were contagious. It was impossible to not be happy when you were with Pam. She made you feel important and comfortable to be yourself when you were with her.
When I was pregnant with Caleb, I had food poisoning and was admitted to the hospital. Everyone was out of town, including my husband, but Aunt Pam showed up almost immediately. After scolding me for not calling her sooner, she dabbed my forehead with a damp rag and held the bag whenever I threw up, without making me feel embarrassed at all. She was right there the whole time. I had miscarried my first pregnancy and was so scared of losing this one, too, and words can't express how much her presence steeled my soul. And she did it seamlessly, just stepping into the hospital room and putting down her bag in one swift move as she sat by my bedside and stayed there for hours, as if it had been her plan all day. Her soothing words of encouragement are in my mind forever.
My nursing cover is from Aunt Pam.
My bubble bath is from Aunt Pam.
I have so many small tokens of her generosity all around me.
She made me the best Nutella cheesecake after Lydia was born.
After she first went into the hospital and they discovered the tumor on her pancreas, we went to visit her in the ICU. When we walked in, the first thing she did was compliment my dress. After all of that.
She raised godly children and was an inspiration to us all.
Pam with her grandson, Eli, at his birth.
The phone rang and it was my mother-in-law. She told me Pam had passed. I again awoke my parents and there were more tears. I drove home as soon as I could in the morning and the day was spent recalling our favorite things about Pam. The list is endless.
Our loss is heaven's gain. As my MIL put it, "Heaven just got more fun" now that Pam is there.
We will miss you Pam and we love you so very, very much.