by Barbara Sanders

ClaraTo know her was to love her. And, I've known her all my life. In my younger days, when she came to our home, she didn't sleep unless I was in the bed with her, tucked under her arm. Once, I remember her asking if perhaps I could give her just a little room to turn over. Her fondest memory of those times was bringing her new husband to our home. When it was time to turn in for the night, I was sure I'd be sleeping in my old place next to my beloved aunt, but it wasn't to be that particular night! That was where she 'drew the line'.

Many people knew her, and they all loved her. She made friends easily and kept those friends all her life. She had friendships to last fifty-two years, spanning from her early marriage to her death. They attended births, marriages, and funerals together.

It's been said that our death speaks for our life lived, and her life spoke volumes! Friends and flowers came from everywhere. People, who had grown from babies in her eyes to adults, came to pay respects. One of those same people told me that she was just part of the family. There wasn't a time he didn't know her. His Mom had a heart attack and the doctors were afraid she wouldn't make it. He said to me, "I remember that Clara was the only one that showed up that wasn't related to the family."

The way we live our life is the way we will die - loved and remembered, or meeting death lonely and without friends. She was never without a friend, and never saw anyone she couldn't love. There was always a kind word in her mouth, and a smile on her face. Just looking back in life, I can smile at the memories I've shared with her.

Many times we've have laughed until we cried. Something would strike us funny, and it was as though the body took over, and our laughter was beyond our control. One of those times was at Christmas. I had gone to spend my Christmas holidays from school with her as usual. My family was coming out later this particular day, and she was hurrying to get the food cooked. She had just baked a cake and, as she turned out one layer from the pan, it hit her floor. She wasn't to be outed! The floor had just been mopped and I told her to pick it up, dust it off, and nobody would know but us! We laughed so hard and loud, that a neighobor heard us across the street and she came running over to see what had happened. They do say that laughter is the best medicine, and she knew how to dish it out!

Her children and grandchildren loved her with a passion. And, they knew how much she loved them, because she showed it continually. One grandchild said to me after the funeral, "I just hope grandma knew how much I loved her". I assured her she certainly did. Grandma was proud of her children and granchildren and she let you know it. She shared in their happiness and their sadness, good times and bad times. She was a loving grandma that never let 'disapprove' cross her lips. She loved them unconditionally.

When the last page is written in our lives, we all want it to reflect our true feelings. There's nothing in Clara's life that could have made the last page any more meaningful than the response shown to her family by friends and family. News of her quick returning to the hospital worried us, but we all had hoped that she would come out as before. But, the Lord had other plans for Clara. Looking down at her peaceful face, I told her long-life friend that God had another plan for her - He needed another angel beside Him. This was accomplished the minute she crossed over from life to death, from pain to joy, from mortality to immortality, into eternity.

Death will not escape us, unless we are caught up in the rapture. We all look forward to the golden days, the time when we spend reflecting on our long life. We have built memories upon memories with our family and friends, and it gives us pleasure to look back and laugh or cry over those memories. But, memories can't sustain us, when it's our time to say goodbye to this world and take on our heavenly wings. Life here is just the beginning; there, it is the eternity - a never-ending time! Life as we know it has come to an end, but a glorious eternity has just begun for the woman named Clara!

Written ©February 10, 2002 by Barbara Sanders, AL. All rights reserved.


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