A few weeks before my Aunt Easter died, my Dad, Mom and I went to see her and she said she had a dress she wanted to give me. I followed her to her closet and she began piling clothes in my arms. She knew she didn’t have long to live and said she wanted to go ahead and pass on some of her clothes so that her daughter wouldn’t have to worry about it.

Aunt Easter was upbeat during our visit and she had that sparkling smile she always had. She was smiling as she talked about her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She loved them all so much and always had stories to share about them with lots of smiles and laughs as she did.

My Dad grew up the only boy with five sisters with Aunt Easter being one of his younger sisters. They talked on the phone often and she visited to check on him. I remember her being at the hospital during his open heart surgery and praying and supporting him during that time and other times throughout his life. He will miss her.

When my niece, Sarah Grace, was born as a premature baby and died six weeks later, Aunt Easter offered so much support to my sister and brother-in-law, Amanda and Jacob, and to our family. She was instrumental in helping organize the benefit supper held at Nicholson Baptist Church and getting donations for the silent auction. She also made Sarah Grace's sweet white crochet hat to wear home to be with her Heavenly Father. She called almost every day to check on us and even came out to the hospital to visit with Jacob and Amanda where Sarah Grace was in the newborn intensive care unit. She was one of only a very few people who went into the hospital room to see my tiny niece, who only weighed a few pounds. We will always treasure the memories of that special time.

I often say that my first job was at The Jackson Herald but I actually worked first for my aunt at her restaurant, just outside of Nicholson, when I was 15. I was a waitress/dish washer on the weekends and I remember those days fondly too.

As we sat in the living room with Aunt Easter and Uncle Johnny on that last visit, she looked at me and smiled and said, “you’re so pretty.” She always had a kind word for me. She was always laughing and joking and she was doing that on our last visit with her. Her death from cancer seemed sudden but I’m thankful she didn’t suffer more than she did.

At her funeral at Nicholson Baptist Church, where she spent so much time worshipping, I wore one of those dresses she gave me on that last visit with her. It was a simple black dress with dainty flower details around the collar. I was honored to wear her last gift to me and I will treasure that dress and think of Aunt Easter as I wear it.

Angela Gary is an editor with MainStreet Newspapers. She can be reached at angieeditor@aol.com.

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