This was the first sunrise in over 80 years that my Aunty jean wasn’t here for. She passed last night with the full moon.

Sunrise | Kate M Foster

Her way was strong and clear and kind. She spoke her mind, she helped whoever was in front of her and she had an unshakable faith in Christ. Her Christianity wasn’t just the clean idealistic kind. Her faith was deeply rooted in showing up, getting her hands dirty, feeding mouths and healing wounds. She had a resilience and stamina rare in today’s world. Despite all she endured her kindness and loving heart remained the forefront of her life’s work, her soft blue ocean eyes never hardened, they looked at you with a love so deep its presence is forever etched in my being.

Her long life meant she farewelled so many of her loved ones and her ever present faith was the way she navigated this rich messy world.

When I visited her a few months back we both knew it would be the last time we would see each other. My mum, the girls and I baked her a cake as we always did when we were home, we had a tea party in her honour, she shared stories of her youth and we all shared words about the things we loved about her. I made times to visit her without the girls so we could talk about her faith and Jesus and what she felt about dying. She shared what she believed would happen. I asked her if she had regrets or if there was anything she felt ashamed about and we cried together as she shared she felt responsible for her mothers passing. She believed that if she had gone in to her mother earlier that morning long ago, she would not have fallen and broken her hip.

Even in that last visit she was teaching me with her enormous heart. Each of us carries hidden guilt and shame. I can only pray that at the end of my life I have as few regrets as she did.

It’s hard for me to fathom the way this life just comes to an end. From when I was young I always loved my time with Aunty Jean. Horses and animals and gardening and feeding the birds. We were equally as comfortable in silence or sharing and she gave me hope for the grown up I could one day become. She helped me set my bar of goodness and service and truth high, really high.

And she showed up like clockwork. Diligent, willing, able.

My last visit with her was so bittersweet, yet somehow her trust in this whole ‘life’ thing pulled me into her peace. She was surrendered. She did it her way. When the time came for me to leave her house that last day, as always she rose to walk me to the door. I shared I’d rather her rest as I would hate to be responsible for her falling over. She gave me a lecture about how I would not be responsible for her breaking a hip, that these things just happen and then we both laughed and cried some more and I like to think she made a bit more peace about her own mothers fall.

Sitting here today, I’m thinking of her sons, and their families, and the countless others that benefited from her loving kindness. All those that were blessed by her ocean eyes and strong healing hands. It’s hard to write through my tears. I think of my dad and the way his own mother was never able to offer him love or kindness and how Aunty Jean stepped into that role and loved him with the purity of her whole heart. Her love touched him with the motherly love he had not known. Aunty jeans love taught me the truth of mothers. A mothers infinite love is not bound to her own offspring, for love is not bound at all.

My dads love and loyalty to aunty Jean is immeasurable. I have no doubt her love will live on in him and countless others for the rest of their lives.

This is the truth of love. It shows up with open arms even, it’s not afraid of broken. It blesses with its grace.

It’s true that this life is brutal and hard and that at some point we all have to farewell 100% of the people we love. It is also true this life is rich and indescribably beautiful because of the kindness and love and generosity of humans like Aunty Jean.

I have no doubt when she passed she met her beloved Jesus in that bright light she spoke of that day. I pray that the love she left behind continues to love and heal and guide for infinite lifetimes to come.

Bless you Aunty Jean and thank you dear lady, the pleasure of your company was all mine Xxoo