I have just realized that one of the advantages of having my own somewhat public place here in cyberspace is that it allows me the opportunity to write whatever I want. I say that because I have just reviewed the obituary written for my aunt and although it contains all the "necessary" facts, it doesn't include anything important to me.
It doesn't mention the little Easter bags she always made for me with fabric covering an oatmeal canister, with special treats tucked inside. Nor does it talk about all the dresses she sewed for me until the time came, in Jr. High, when all I wanted was something with a label inside that said Bobbi Brooks.
However, later, when I was ready, she gave me the lifelong gift of teaching me how to sew on her treadle sewing machine and I began to make my own creations.
The newspaper doesn't mention her amazing lemon meringue pies or how she gave me her secret tips for perfect piecrust. There was no place to applaud her for being born in 1920 and living though one of the hardest times in our history in one of the poorest areas - and never letting that define her. I didn't know how to include how important her example was to me of a woman having a career - still fairly unusual in the 1950's world of wives who stayed at home.
I couldn't insert a picture of her in her glamorous sundress (complete with a strapless bra - who knew!) when she would visit us in the summer. Nor was there room for the reels of her home movies, made with a Kodak movie camera - capturing my childhood in silent black and white fuzzy images.
How would I tell about how she taught me the importance of eye cream and how to paint my nails? But how she also loved to ride her donkey and hunt deer and pick up pieces of turquoise in the mountains of eastern Arizona?
And mostly, there was no place to describe how I now see her hands when I look at her wedding ring on my finger. And remember all the times she let me try it on and told me someday it would be mine. And while diamonds are not really my style, I love that I see her in that ring and feel so connected in a very tangible way.
In an obituary, often a list of accomplishments is included. Her three inch column in the small town newspaper includes such a list. But in my mind, her greatest accomplishment is not mentioned. For me, the most important thing was the difference she made in one girl's life - mine.
And for that I will always be grateful.
In loving memory
Blanche Campbell McGaha Hall
June 20, 1920 - February 24, 2012