I had a bad attitude at first. My husband’s aunt passed away a while ago and this week we received a bunch of boxes, filled mostly with scrapbooks, to go through—thirty or so. (Aunt Joy had no children, had lived out of state for years, and her husband was already gone) I’ll be honest. I made an ugly kind of aaaaarrrggghh sound. This wasn’t on the agenda. I’d just gotten rid of several boxes of our own stuff, and I was not thrilled at the prospect of going through somebody else’s.
But as Vaun and I started turning page after page of Aunt Joy’s life, we began getting a sense of this woman’s love of friends and family. It was apparent that despite difficulties, she lived her life fully . We saw picture after picture of the “forest” that she always talked about and brochures of every trip and adventure. We even found a few pictures we hadn’t known existed of family members. There was one of Grandma Zelma in costume, doing a reading before a large group of children. That woman had confidence! There was one of Vaun’s grandfather in the huge, almost infamous garden, that we’d heard so much about–the garden he took so seriously. There was a wedding line with my husband at age four or five, standing next to the little flower girls, as, shall we say, the boutoniere boy? Or wait, the ring bearer? Vaun is the youngest in his family, and we only have five or six early pictures of him, so this was a find.
Although I worry that Aunt Joy might be hovering about, upset that we’re taking apart the scrapbooks she put together with such obvious devotion, I hope she knows this hasn’t been the painful process I anticipated. It’s been fun and inspiring. No, going through Aunt Joy’s stuff wasn’t on our agenda this week, but what is it they say? Real life is the interruptions. And let’s see, a friend reminded me of this quote: “Life is what happens while we’re making other plans.” We definitely weren’t planning to get to know Aunt Joy better this week, but we feel better about life because we did.