In memory, she sits vibrant and proud on the black leather couch
once fresh with sharp angles, now soft and cracked and worn
from years spent cradling the bodies of brothers, sisters, babies --
a boisterous and bold arc of family and friends.
Her laughter, raspy from the merciless march of time and loss,
was a beacon rising like flame. She was a burst of light
that settled around and inside me with the comfort of home
and belonging and roots that reached into my soul.
She loved with ripe ferocity, rich and ready to fight
for those she called her own, whether by blood or history.
And she was loved, intensely, infinitely, with the full weight
of the lives she touched without judgment or ridicule.
Yet, she is stronger than memory, more powerful than death.
She shall never be lost to the warm embrace of flesh or story.
As I bask in feeling of those enduring notes of sound, I know --
she is mine and I am hers, forever.
May you rest in peace, Aunt Runt (b. Wilda Mae). Your devotion to family and acceptance of all of us just the way we are over the past 76 years has shaped us all in ways we cannot fully explain. My heart is yours forever.