Remembering Family Love In Life And Death

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Aunt Dean and I

We buried my daddy’s sister today. Bittersweet, yet my soul swells with so many good and wonderful things. A life well-lived!

Willa Dean Tew, lived the last 20-plus years in a wheelchair after a stroke that left her paralyzed with speech impairment. She has been wonderfully cared for by her loving husband, Claude Tew, daughter Tracy Tew Reep, son Rodney Tew, Mike Reep and family.

The service was gracious and honoring, as her life had so beautifully spoken. Through all these years, her disposition remained alive and childlike in spite of her circumstances because love dwelled all around her. This light wrapped up tight in a broken body was and remains something to behold.

As many shared today, when spending time with Dean, words were not necessary as she communicated clearly with facial expressions that were easily read from the depths of those beautiful brown eyes.

We often watched from afar, there in the midst of the messy, difficult moments with unforeseen twists and turns…this family’s ability to find full joy in the enduring, and walk in the peace that passes understanding reminds us…. so. can. we.

Tonight, these things I remember. I was the first grandchild. She was my daddy’s younger sister, the only girl. I had her brown eyes and little upturned nose.

She would come and get me in the VW bug. First thing, Dr Pepper was our game! You know the one in the glass bottle? No matter where we went, everyone would ask, how old is your daughter? I just remember smiling all inside. I was a bit of a free spirit and she loved me even still. This I know.

Time and life move so fast….. Before we know it, the years have passed and lives can so easily move independently of each other, yet these moments of time stand still in our hearts as the memories remain. Some things your heart never forgets.

No matter what your story is tonight…. The good and the bad of this day…… There is always, always something to be thankful for and to trust with honest surrender.

Tonight I remember…… I pray for each grieving heart that will wake up tomorrow and navigate the world anew. May mercy rain and flood each life at its point of need through the power of the Holy Spirit. Lord hold them in the moments where they run to You for grace…..and extra measures. And peace Lord, remind them in the empty places that You are near…… Father, help us to live fully in your presence, for there we know that we find full joy….. above the messy. above the noise. amid the circumstances. in the daily…..

“God is here……wherever “here” is.” Ann Voskamp

and for that I give thanks….

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