Everyone should have an "Aunt Della" in their life. Aunt Della was my mother's oldest sister. She was in her teens when my mother was born, and her older children were about my mom's age.
She was no stranger to tragedy; her second child (her only daughter) died of cancer when she was five years old. My Aunt Della had two more children, both boys. I was the next girl born in the family (13 years and many boys later!), and my aunt doted on me. I was so very blessed to be her niece.
My Aunt Della was a woman of deep faith, and she lived it. She spent many years studying God's Word and serving others. She was a mentor to many, and always had wise words to share. Until the last year, she was still sewing clothes and diapers for a mission in Haiti!
She was also a woman of great joy. She was still doing cartwheels regularly when she was 74. When people visited her in her 90s, she insisted on giving up her bed to the guests. She always seemed to "roll with the punches" and come up praising God.
We knew Aunt Della was failing; she was 94 and had a brain aneurysm. We had visited her in August of last year, and I'm so glad we did. Even then, she was witty and happy. She asked about my brother, and talked about silly things we had all done over the years. It was bittersweet to hold her hands in mine and tell her I loved her so very much. That she was a joy in my life.
One of the highest praises I could receive in this world is to be told, "You're just like your Aunt Della." I pray that I can be a beacon of light to the world around me like she was. I pray I can be helpful and loving and serving through all my years. I have been greatly blessed by having her in my life, and I am buoyed by the sure knowledge that she is with her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.