One hundred and one

It was cold. The warmth of the house made me want to stay inside forever, and taking a look outside, I could see the rain pour down over the plants and garden in my backyard.

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“It’s getting harder for her to…” my Aunt said to my Dad over the phone. I saw the sadness and disappointment in my Dad’s eyes.

“I see. We’ll be on our way.”

One hundred and one.

She had been on this earth for one hundred and one years. She had seen a lot, learnt a lot, and loved a whole bunch more. My great aunt was a mother figure to many and stand as one of the wisest people I knew. She cared for not only her kids, but her grandchildren, family, and friends. She was strong when her age told her to be weak. She was determined when her doctors told her she was sick. Most of all, she cared and loved even in her last few breaths. One hundred and one.

I wasn’t with her when she passed, but she’ll always be with me. My Aunt who was there, told me her five grandchildren she had raised stood by her bed crying and pleading for her to stay with them. One of them, as she recalled, was in tears holding onto her hand. “Grandmother. Grandmother, I love you! And I know you’ve always loved me- ALL of us more than you could ever love yourself.” My Aunt told me the bond she had with her five grandchildren were unlike any other. Their love and compassion for each other was so powerful that no one could break it.

“Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal.” 

-Richard Puz, The Carolinian

I hadn’t spoken to my Great Aunt often, but on the precious occasions that I happened to, she was a sweet old woman. She appeared very weak and frail, but had robust eyes and a mind rich with experiences and knowledge. When she spoke, it seemed as if everyone stopped to listen, and although she hadn’t the strongest voice, it was moving and courageous. It was the bold side of quiet-the voice that speaks volumes greater in our minds than aloud. Her voice is one I, nor no other can ever silence.

That day was cold, windy, and rainy yet every story has a silver lining. It seemed like even the sky was mourning her death, showering its rain over the earth. Rebirth…the rain droplets would one day contribute to a greener earth, as my Great Aunt had inspired me to love a little more and appreciate the people around me.

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Appreciate the time you have with the people around you, because all time is limited. We live in the now, but must must be conscious of the future. We take everything for granted, not knowing one day it’ll all pass. Nothing is certain, nor stable- even for a little bit, but know that it’s okay not to be okay. You have your whole lifetime to chase after your goals and learn your lessons, but don’t forget the people who have loved and cared for you. In short, no, don’t live everyday like it’s your last. Live everyday knowing you loved those around you and you changed someone’s life. Live everyday to it’s very last. Make your last count.

Rest in peace, Kia Laugchoua. One hundred and one years spent loving and inspiring. Let the fire burn on-

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