Ever had a favorite aunt? I did. My mom grew up with only one sibling- a sister who was just 2 1/2 years older than her. They were best friends and extremely close their entire lives. Their dad passed away when my mom was just one year old, so it was just the two girls and my grandma. The 3 of them were all very close. It was so fun growing up seeing the close bond the 3 of them had, especially my mom and Aunt Roberta. Roberta and her family lived about 2 hours away when we were growing up, close enough for us to get together very often. We were very close with Roberta's kids and each of us (except my youngest sister) had a cousin in that family that was close to our age. My mom and Roberta got together even more often- they would take day trips to see each other and have lunch when we were all in school, and meet up for other outings to Utah and such.
Aunt Roberta was one of the sweetest human beings I ever had the pleasure of knowing. She was so kind, loving and patient with her family and with everyone. She knew me and my siblings and our interests and likes almost as well as my mom did. She never forgot a birthday and always sent at least a card, if not a gift as well and was there at all of our special events- baptisms, graduations, weddings, etc. Even after I was married, I still received birthday cards for me and my kids from her. She sent baby gifts for Chloe and Mitchell and she was so excited to meet Chloe for the first time- she acted as excited about it as she might have her own grandchild. It was so sweet.
When I was in junior high, Roberta was diagnosed with a brain tumor. It was found to be non-cancerous, but still very dangerous. She had it removed surgically and had either chemotherapy or radiation (or both, I'm not sure) and had quite the recovery process, but got back to around 95% or so. She was still the same Aunt Roberta we all knew and loved and we were so grateful!
In August of 2009 (I was 7 months pregnant with the twins), it was discovered that Roberta had another brain tumor; this time cancerous. It was in a very tricky spot to operate on (isn't any place in the brain)? After undergoing surgery, removing as much as they could, Roberta was never quite the same after that. She was still her sweet self, but the brain cancer was taking its toll and it was determined that she would never fully recover and was given about 5 years to live. Sadly, I was never able to see her again alive. My mom and Grandma kept me updated on her often and I was able to see pictures.
Roberta passed away on September 9, 2014. My mom called me early one morning to tell me the news. While we were all glad she was no longer suffering and freed from her imperfect body, it was very sad to know that we would never see her or her sweet smile on this earth again.
I knew from the time that she got really sick that I wanted to be at her funeral, whenever it was, if possible. As soon as we heard of her passing, Ben and I started making arrangements for me to be there. Leaving 5 kids, especially an 11 month old, is not always an easy task, but we made it work. Ben was so sweet about making sure it happened and doing everything he could to make it as smooth as possible. We booked flights one night and he made arrangements to take off work to watch the kids, which was a big relief to me, knowing that he'd have them and I wouldn't have to ship them around each day to complicate someone else's schedule.
I flew into Twin Falls, Idaho (smallest airport on the planet, it is) on Saturday night, September 13. My parents drove up from Burley to pick me up.
This was the first time in my married life that I had been to my parents house by myself. Being there kidless was the strangest thing. I took a selfie to document being all alone there- a first!
Sunday after church, my parents and I drove up to Shelley, Idaho (where Roberta and her family lived) to attend the viewing.
My sisters and brother were there and we had such a sweet night watching friends and family of Roberta come through and pay their respects and relate fond memories of an amazing woman.
My mom and Grandma- two amazing women and supporters of Roberta! My grandma is an angel on earth. For the 5 years that Roberta fought her cancer, my grandma was there every step of the way. Roberta lived with her for a number of months and my grandma took care of her night and day. At the time, she was in her late 80's, taking care of someone 24 hours a day. After Roberta was moved to a care facility, Grandma visited her all the time, taking care of her and making sure she was never lonely. If Grandma went out of town, she couldn't fully enjoy it, as she hated being away from Roberta for more than a day or two. There is a special place reserved in heaven for this selfless lady who cared for my sweet aunt. They are both amazing women.
The funeral was the next day- Monday, September 15. The funeral was so beautiful and touching, I can hardly put it into words. The speakers were so wonderful and the words and spirit they brought into the chapel were indescribable. I loved hearing so many people share all of the wonderful things about my aunt that I already knew and loved. She was a faithful visiting teacher and faithful in the myriad of callings she had. She served and served and served. I really can't think of a time when Roberta wasn't smiling and happy. She was so pleasant and sweet all of the time. Even towards the end of her life when she couldn't speak or do much, people could see a light in her eyes when they talked with her about the gospel or the temple. I am so, so grateful that I was able to be there to honor, celebrate and remember this wonderful woman who influenced my life greatly and was a big part of my childhood.
The burial was at a nearby graveyard. Both of my brothers were paul bearers.
Roberta's oldest daughter Karla, her two year old twins and my grandma. Grandma loves, loves children and babies.
My dad gave the dedicatory prayer over the grave site.
Roberta's 4 children, spouses, 3 grandchildren and husband.
My parents and me with all of my siblings, sis-in-law Charity and Grandma.
My mom had a flower arrangement made for the services. Isn't it beautiful?
Such a sweet picture of Roberta and my mom as young girls.
Roberta and my mom, who was just days old.
These pictures perfectly depict how I remember Aunt Roberta. What a wonderful woman of faith, strength and love. I will miss her, but am so grateful for the knowledge of eternal families and I know I will see her again someday. Love you, my favorite aunt.