I've had an incredibly difficult day. This morning, I learned that my dear friend Carolyn passed away yesterday afternoon after a long, hard-fought battle with cancer. We had an event on campus today, so I had to work. Carolyn was a long-time employee of the College who ran our Outdoor Center. She taught me much about the critters in the woods, she taught me how to dance like Elvis, and she taught everyone how to laugh at themselves. She was incredibly funny, incredibly strong, and will be missed by many.
When I got home from work today, I got the news that completely knocked me down. Benny had to tell me that my Aunt Livy died in her sleep last night. For those of you that have been reading this blog for any time at all, you know how close my Aunt Livy and I have always been. She has been my rock for as long as I can remember. She's been my family history, with me through the deaths of my mother and my grandmother, her sister. I inherited my love of photography from her and have many pictures that she took of me as a child. She even taught me how to play poker, at seven years old! Yesterday was her 92nd birthday. This photo is of Aunt Livy, my girls and me two years ago. My Olivia (Livvie) is named after her.
I think I've shed all the tears that I can shed for one day, so I want to tell you a funny story. Less than two weeks ago when the girls and I were up visiting her, we took her out to dinner one night. She wanted to go to Steak 'n' Shake. For dessert, we all ordered milkshakes. Let me tell you, Aunt Livy loved that milkshake, said it was the best one she could ever remember having. But you know what she loved even more? The Steak 'n' Shake glass it was in. When her shake was about half gone, she whispered across the table to me, "Do you think they'd mind if I took this glass?" Not realizing what she really meant, I told her I'm sure we could get her a to go cup. She just winked at me. For the next couple minutes she casually wrapped several napkins around her glass, taking sips of her milkshake in between. Then it dawned on me. She didn't want a to go cup! She wanted that glass! As we got up to leave, her glass in her hand, I helped her to the door. One of the employees was standing at the door holding the door open for us, and he clearly saw the glass in her left hand (she was a lefty like me), as I held her right hand to steady her walk. When he looked at me, I gave him an apologetic look, but he just looked at the two of us and grinned and said, "Ya'll have a great night now." Once we were back in the van, Aunt Livy worked on finishing her milk shake. "This is just so good. And I just love the way this glass fits in my hand."
I told my cousin Ray that story earlier this evening, and he couldn't believe his mama stole a glass from Steak 'n' Shake. Then I asked him, as silly as it sounded, if he would look for that glass in her room and send it to me and the girls. I'm so incredibly thankful that in addition to all the amazing memories I have with this amazing woman, that that is the one she left me with, for she has always been able to make me laugh. You can read other posts that include Aunt Livy here.