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September 20, 2017

My Aunt Shirley: A Glorious Death

I was returning to school when I got a call that my aunt had taken a turn for the worst. It had only been a week or two before that I learned of her illness, cancer. She had kept this a secret for a very long time, even from my mom whom she had seen months before at a camp. My aunt was 39 years old and dying. Having lost two aunts to breast cancer (2008, 2010) I could not imagine losing another, so I sank. My spirit seemed to ebb away at the news. How could God be so cruel to me? How could he do this to my family? My grandfather lost his brother in April and now this? Was he bound to lose the daughter he always hoped for? Should my grandmother bury her baby? In all my questioning and lamentations I never thought about her. I was selfish.

A GoFundMe page was started for my aunt and though I had previously sentenced her to death somewhere in my mind, hope began to blossom. As I looked at the page I kept thinking that she might just make it. God would listen and prolong her life. He would let not ignore so many people. Again, I thought only of myself and my feelings.

On August 22nd I was returning to school when I got a call that my aunt had taken a turn for the worst. Auntie Shirley was dying. Daddy (grandfather) and Uncle Geoff were trying to get to her before she left this world. She left before they made and heartbroken I woke at 4am to hear that she was dead on August 23rd. 

A lot happened after that but the most incredible thing was the outpouring of grief and love that I saw on social media. It was as if everyone on my timeline had lost her. That is when I was reminded of a movie called 300. It tells of the Spartans that fought against the tyranny of the Persian king who thought himself a god, Xerxes. The Greeks craved death that meant something and Xerxes sook to threaten that.  As he spoke to the Spartan king Leonidas he told that he would destroy them, no songs would be sung about Sparta, and no artist would sculpt or paint them. The historians would lose their tongues if they ever uttered the name.

The enemy tried to do that to my aunt, but here I am writing. Shirley touched and inspired so many lived that she will live forever. My aunt the go getter, lover of God and all of his creation closed her eyes and died the most glorious death. She died knowing that she was loved and that it was well with her soul. She died knowing that if she had stayed here longer she would have suffered too much. God gave her what she could bare and kept her smiling through it all. The best thing about her death is that one day she will have the most glorious event. God will tell his angels to go break the beautiful tomb in which she now lays. On that day He will say “Shirley Amorette Fleming you’ve had enough rest come be reunited with your family and live gloriously, forever.”