My mom comes from a large family. She has 5 sisters and 3 brothers. (It gets cold in Utah in the winters, people. Wink wink.) My aunties have always been a huge part of my life. All of them are strong willed, hilarious and crazy, just like their mother and her sisters, and my great grandmother, and her mother and sisters, and so on and so on.
My mom's oldest sister, Nellie, is one of the most amazing women I have ever met. She can do anything. I mean anything. She is feisty and competitive and loud and funny and has really high expectations of people. Basically I am just like her.
So of course she is married to a man who is wise, quiet, patient and incredibly appreciative of his strong, crazy wife. Basically he is just like Ubes.
My uncle Milford was voted the Dream Boy of his high school in 1949. I found this out when I stayed with them a few years ago and I went through his scrapbook. It tickled me pink to see the old black and white pictures of the high school basketball star standing in the middle of 5 or 6 girls staring at him so adoringly. It was straight out of Leave it to Beaver.
Milford is one of the kindest men I ever met. Once, when they were visiting us, as they did every winter until a few years ago, I watched him give up his seat on a bench at the mall. He was still recovering from a stroke he had only a few months before. He was sitting on the bench waiting for Nellie to come out of a department store, something he spent a lot of time doing, I'm sure. A woman stood by with her cane, she was not much older than he, and he stood, heavily leaning on the arm support of the bench so he could pull himself out of the seat, and offered the bench to her. This man, who could barely stand himself. I'll never forget that.
He graciously lived his life for everyone around him. It was so important to make everyone else comfortable and happy. He was a genuinely nice guy. You know those guys? The ones who are just so nice and kind and you are always so surprised when you meet them? He just found so much happiness in bringing joy to others.
We lost Milford to cancer last week. His final act of selflessness was donating his body to science. Aunt Nellie was hesitant when he told her his wishes. His response?
"I would not be alive now if it were not for the people who had done this before me. And with your heart valve replacements, neither would you."
I am so honored that I had him in my life for so long. So happy that my boys got to spend time with him and could be influenced by his spirit and generosity. And so thankful that my Aunt Nellie had such an amazing man who took such good care of her.
His obituary said: "In lieu of flowers, please just do something nice for someone today."
So I challenge you, think of all the kind people you have loved and lost. And in their memory, just do something nice for someone today.
Farewell Dream Boy, you are missed.