Beautiful Things

In honor of All Saints Day tomorrow, November 1, 2015, below is the eulogy I shared for my aunt on May 25, 2013. All of your saints are precious and we celebrate them tomorrow at 9:00 and 10:30. We’ll be looking for you.

Grace and peace,

I am Vikki. I have the honor of being the namesake of the Vikki we are here to celebrate. We each in our individual lives are Vikki; but in our shared life she is Vikki Sue and I am Vikki Lynn. Most of the time we weren’t confused, but I do remember a Christmas where I opened a gift that was meant for an adult Vikki, not a young Vikki. She didn’t like being “old Vikki” I think preferring “Vikki #1”. She’s a tough act to follow.

Everyone has a favorite aunt – aunts have a special way of loving you. I came along when she was 14. I got to go to college with her – spending the night in the dorm ensured that I, too, would go to college and live in a dorm! As a very little girl, I got stuck on the top of a ferris wheel with her – oh, that was fun (but not for my mom!) I flew on my first plane ride to visit her; my husband and I stopped on the way back from our honeymoon and stayed with Vikki & Bernie being treated like special guests. I live in Colorado and every time my family & I went home to visit Ohio, Vikki made sure to visit then as well so we could meet up. I was important and she didn’t just tell me that, she showed me that.

What else did she show me? That laughing is the only way to go through life. We don’t laugh because we’re happy, we are happy because we laugh. — William James

She taught that you tell it like it is, are open and honest. We laughed together – about raising kids, about being married, about making your way in the world. You might as well laugh – it’s a lot more fun than crying. And, besides, life can be pretty funny. She loved me for me and each of you for who you are.

She knew that you should surround yourself with people you love and the things you love. Things and people that make you feel good. She painted, she wrote, she turned trash into treasure. Life might not always be good, but you can make things beautiful with love and humor; hard work and patience. With simplicity and a light hand.

There’s a song by a band called Gungor, out of Denver, called Beautiful Things. It goes like this:
All this pain I wonder if I'll ever find my way?
I wonder if my life could really change at all?
All this earth
Could all that is lost ever be found?
Could a garden come up from this ground at all?

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

The song’s about God. But God most often comes to us through the people in our lives. That song is about Vikki, too. She made beautiful things out of trash, she made beautiful things out of us. Her gardens were a thing of wonder.

Vikki Sue, made you feel comfortable. She would make you feel at home. Not because she would do everything for you, but because she expected that you could take care of yourself and help out. The person who makes you feel most comfortable is not the one who caters to your every whim, but the one who allows you to open the fridge and make yourself at home.

Sunday evening, shortly before Vikki Sue left us, I ran across this quote attributed to St Francis of Assisi: “Remember that when you leave this earth you can take nothing of what you have received, but only what you have given: a full heart, enriched by honest service, love, sacrifice, and courage.” That was what Vikki gave so much of – service, love, sacrifice and courage. Oh, how she gave and those gifts keep on giving: through her beautiful husband, kids and grandkids and all of us who were privileged to be among her family and friends.

I am the Vikki I am because of the Vikki she was.

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