Making Every Moment Count

1977 Cross County Championship Dance
1977 Cross County Championship Dance

That Dreaded Phone Call

On a freezing cold day in January, we were called to the hospital on behalf of my mother’s older sister, Helen. Our family stood around her bedside, helplessly gazing at her tiny frame hoping for any signs of consciousness. We longed for some sign of cognition which we were told was not likely due to her advance age at ninety-four. We were told that her chance for recovery from this point was slim.

As she struggled, fighting against oxygen tubes, arms thrashing against the bed-rails, moaning in her restless sleep, her eyes remained closed despite all attempts to rouse her. Standing beside the bed, I wished that I could gaze into those electric blue eyes one more time. For now, she was in the hands of caregivers in whose care her existence was measured out moment by moment.

Pacing the quiet corridors of the hospital. it occurred to me that any material possessions Helen gathered while working for eighty years had suddenly become insignificant. In the grand scheme of things, it became clear that no bank account, piece of jewelry, designer dress nor item of furniture would ever be of use to her again.

Nothing else seemed important that day but to spend a few more hours with our loved one.

Sisters in the 1930s

Helen and Louise, 1937
Helen and Louise, 1937 | Source

Swift & Company

By Nicolas Henderson from Coppell, Texas [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
By Nicolas Henderson from Coppell, Texas [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Children in Factories

Helen started working at age twelve at the Armour meat packing plant. In was necessary to support the family after her father passed away at thirty-five, leaving behind a wife and three young children. Helen's mother (my Grandmother) arrived to the United States in 1904 on a ship from Bremen, Germany. Her journey started from her family home in Vienna, Austria after her own father passed away. She was fourteen and began working for her uncle and aunt in their boarding house.

Helen worked at Swift Dairy and Poultry Company for over thirty four years from 1941 to 1975. After retiring at age sixty-five, she took a job in bookkeeping at Saint Joseph's Hospital. As a single mother in the days when being divorced was uncommon, she continued to support her mother, sister and her own child, often holding down two jobs.

Traveling internationally, the sisters won a variety of dance contests in competition.
Traveling internationally, the sisters won a variety of dance contests in competition.

The Dancing Queen

In the seventies and eighties, she and her younger sister Louise took dance lessons with Fred Astaire Studios. They competed in international dance tournaments, taking home many trophies. Together, they traveled to Spain and danced their way across the country.

In the Eighties

Helen, Louise and Cathe in 1983
Helen, Louise and Cathe in 1983

Helen worked well into her eighties, running the snack shop at a downtown bank in Fort Worth, Texas. She was a single mother who often worked two jobs.

Sisters in 2003

Louise, Catherine and Helen in her nineties
Louise, Catherine and Helen in her nineties

Have you ever had to make a life decision on behalf of a family member?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Don't know
See results without voting

Life Altering Decisions

Back in the hospital room, the specialist at long last arrived to evaluate Helen's future dietary needs, taking into consideration her inability to swallow food on her own. After a brief examination that lasted less than ten minutes, she hastily left the room. I chased after her, running down the hall to ask the painful question, the one we dreaded. Yes, they would be withdrawing any food given by mouth.

In those brief moments, this young woman determined that my aunt would never eat food again. We were left to decide if she should be intubated since she would likely aspirate any food given orally. Unfamiliar with medical terms, I asked for more explanation. This meant she would likely inhale food into her lungs causing respiratory infection or choking. They suggested surgically inserting a feeding tube into her stomach. It was up to us to make that decision for her.

Think of Me

Living Wills and Advance Directives

We held a grim family conference speaking in hushed tones about what she would have wanted. There was no living will to advise us of her wishes, no clue as to her preferences. We had only our own conscience to guide our decision concerning the grim sentence of the therapist whose ten minute analysis would set the course of Helen’s existence.

We reached the consensus that she would not have wanted her life to be prolonged artificially if there were no hope for recovery, no quality of life remaining. We informed the doctor of our desires not to force feed this body that could no longer sustain the functions of daily life on its own.

Louise, Catherine and Helen at ninety-one with family
Louise, Catherine and Helen at ninety-one with family

Reflecting on Wasted Moments

When I thought about the countless hours squandered staring at a computer screen, on the telephone or commuting to another faceless workday, I saw my life in a different light. I wondered about the strangers with whom I had shared a chunk of my life if any would even remember my name these years later. I considered the times I’d lost my temper or let road rage overwhelm me in the insufferable city traffic of my daily commute to work.

I wondered if I could be forgiven for the wasted moments that I would now gladly pass along to my dear aunt if only it were possible. The many times she’d invited me for a visit when my career, travel or idle pastimes kept me away flashed as videos through my mind. I began to recall the few precious hours when we spent time together. There were so many things I should have asked, so many things about her life that would now and forever be lost.

To Making It Count - Titanic Movie

Second Chances

The hospital released her back to the nursing home where she had spent the previous two years after suffering a stroke that left her mostly unable to talk or tend to her own needs. She was in the care of underpaid angels whose duties encompass caring for those in her condition.

The nursing home’s policy of compassion would not allow her to fade away by starvation. They patiently set her upright in a wheelchair and began to offer her pureed food. Astounding as it may seem, she began to accept nourishment and water surprising us with her determination to survive. Her death sentence was temporarily overturned while she lived another five months before she finally succumbed. I was grateful for another chance to look into her beautiful eyes and feel her kiss my hand.

She knew we were there by her side when. near midnight, she was administered last rites by a local priest. After we left on the last day we would spend with her, she passed quietly in the night, ready to begin her new life on the other side where she is dancing with the stars.

And then there were two...

Catherine and Louise, now in their nineties, share a room together at the Skilled Nursing Facility where they live.
Catherine and Louise, now in their nineties, share a room together at the Skilled Nursing Facility where they live.

Making it Count

I vowed to never be the same again, to make every moment count, and remember that no matter what we accumulate while on this earth, the only thing we’ll take with us is the love we’ve earned while we’re here. We're here to love each other as He loved us. Love is all we need.

© 2015 Peg Cole

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Comments 76 comments

FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 18 months ago from USA

This was poignant and beautiful and definitely makes the case for advance directives and living wills. I'm so glad you got to spend quality time with your dear auntie in the end. She seems like a special lady. We still talk about some of our relatives, long gone, almost as if they were still here -- certain sayings, imagining humorously what they're doing now on the other side, etc.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 18 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Thank you Flourish, for stopping in and for the beautiful comment. We learned from this experience to be prepared for things like this. It really is important for all of us to make our wishes known while we are able.

I know what you mean about remembering humorous things that our departed relatives have said. Helen and I used to have contests to imitate the wicked witch of the west from The Wizard of Oz. She always won with her laughter.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 18 months ago from New York

I voted all but funny Peg. This is a beautiful tribute to your Aunt and to making the time to love. Regret when a loved one is gone is so hard to live with. No matter how much we do, or how much time we spend, when they are gone we always think we could have done more.

Your solution is the best. Spend time, love freely, and always be there for the ones we love.

I have a feeling your Aunt felt very loved.


pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 18 months ago from sunny Florida

O I love love love this...Waste not a moment....this kind of event puts everything in perspective, doesn't it?

It makes us (hopefully) choose to live our lives the way they should be...rather than chasing after the almighty dollar living to reach out to others.

Voted up up and away and shared Awesome

Know that many Angels are on the way ps


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 18 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

Hello Peg. You poured so much emotion into this. You shared so much of yourself and your beautiful family. You relay such an incredible message that I hope many will see and take to heart.


SubRon7 profile image

SubRon7 18 months ago from eastern North Dakota

Beautiful hub, Peg, as always.

No humor this time, except for when what's-his-name (Jack, I think) was enjoying a meal at that table of rich people. And now I want to see that movie again, and hear that haunting music.

In the photo "Helen at 91," I think you are the pretty girl in the long, flowing purple and black dress...Yes?


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 18 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Tillsontitan, Mary, I know you have recently suffered a loss of a close family member, and for that I am truly sorry. We always feel like we left things undone no matter how much we have done. I appreciate your heartfelt thoughts on this cathartic hub. Love. Peg.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 18 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Pstraubie48, Just today I read one of yours that expressed the same sentiments. Isn't it funny how thoughts seem to hover in the collective consciousness? We are here for such a short while. Our job is to make it count.

Thank you for sharing and for loving. Peg.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 18 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Hello Mckbirdbks, Thank you sweet friend. You pour so much of yourself into your own work, too. These thoughts were heavy on my mind today and I needed to express them. It's something I wrote many years ago and revised today. Thanks for coming by and for your heartfelt comment.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 18 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Hi James, As always, I look for you to find the subtle humor in my work. Yes, Jack, he was truly humorous in his contempt for these fake rich people whose values were shallow. And yes, thanks for finding me in the picture. Wish I still had the dress.


aesta1 profile image

aesta1 18 months ago from Ontario, Canada

How beautifully you have presented this PegCole. I regret the same with the aunts who have really been with us as we were growing up and everyone else for that matter in my family. I am guilty of not being with them. I have to do something about that.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 18 months ago from Shelton

voted all but funny.. and it's so true live until you die is Sinatra's motto.. but making every moment count is a better motto.. love the hub and the share and the photos et al...:)


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 18 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Hello Aesta1, So glad you came by to read this and thanks for taking time to leave such a thoughtful comment. We are all pulled in different directions and have so little time to call our own.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 18 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Frank, I loved that bit about Frank Sinatra. Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) was pretty cool, too. Thanks so much for coming by and for sharing your thoughts.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 18 months ago from Southern Illinois

Peg, your story is a reminder to us all. Time passes so very fast and we are so busy. I have an older sister Mary that I am going to see today, because of this beautiful story. Losing your aunt was sad but her life was full with living. She sounds like a remarkable woman. Shared...


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 18 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Hi Ruby, You've reminded me that I need to call my older sister as well. Thanks for the visit and for the sweet and thoughtful comment. Yes, Helen brought fun with her wherever she traveled. I appreciate you sharing this.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 18 months ago from Central Florida

Peg, this is such a beautiful story and a reminder to make each day count. Your aunt defied the odds, allowing family to come to the realization that love and family is more important than earning a living and being "too busy".

Thank you for sharing your beautiful family with us.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 18 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Shauna, thank you for reading this and expressing your sweet thoughts. I have to remind myself, too. We are all so wrapped up with the events of the day.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 18 months ago from Queensland Australia

What a lovely hub Peg and good message not to waste a moment' Thank you for sharing your aunt's story. I have just written a poetry hub on much the same theme. It seems to be topical at the moment.


annart profile image

annart 18 months ago from SW England

This is a beautiful tribute to your aunt, a beautiful comment on life and a wonderful message.

We should heed these things that are sent to tell us to live life to the full, to give others as much as possible, to love as much as possible.

Your wise words should be read by everyone. Up+++ and shared.

Ann


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 18 months ago

Peg, you have such beautiful memories, I am sitting here with tears in my eyes.

I know when my Grandma (Mamaw) expired, this brought back those memories of the decision. Mamaw was 95 but looked 55 with very little gray hair. That was a heart breaking day. But I know that she is in Heaven or else Heaven does not exist.

This is a beautiful tribute to your Aunt Helen.

Voted up, UABI and shared.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 18 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Jodah, It must be something about spring that makes us reflective on our lives. I read your poem and it was deep and meaningful. Thanks for stopping by to read this and for the lovely comment.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 18 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Thank you, Ann, for coming by and for taking time to read and share and vote. Your very kind words are much appreciated. Hope your day is lived to the fullest.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 18 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

This is a beautiful hub, Peg. I have never cried when reading a hub before, but I did when I read this one because it reminded me of my mother's death. You have written a wonderful tribute to your aunt which is also very, very moving. I'm sorry for your loss. You have reminded us that it is so important to make the most of life while it exists.


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 18 months ago from southern USA

Beautiful tribute to a beautiful person in your life, your Aunt. Your writing expresses so much truth about life that we do not take any THING with us when we leave, so we must be mindful to make each moment count and love and allow ourselves to be loved in return.

They told us our mother would die within three hours on Veterans Day in 2012, as she was unable to eat or swallow on her own and her entire body was septic. My family and I prayed through the night, and she was sitting up the next day, beautiful blue eyes shining brightly and she was smiling. We had a lovely visit with her and she was coherent as if she did not have dementia! I knew the Lord God heard our prayers and gave us that special time with her. She even was able to be fed orally and swallow just fine and she drank up the Ensure. We celebrated her 84th birthday with her on December 16th and she was getting stronger and happy. Then four days later she went on to her true home, just five days before Christmas.

Thank you for sharing this, beautiful lady.

Up ++++ tweeting, pinning, G+ and sharing

God bless you


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 18 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Dear Shyron, Thank you for the sweet memories of your Mamaw and for the gift of your tears. I hope they were tears of joy in the thoughts of your grandmother who I'm sure is looking at you and smiling from where she is today. I appreciate your visit, votes and touching comment. Thank you for coming by today. You've made me smile.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 18 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Dear AliciaC, Oh, my heart feels for you in the loss of your mother. I'm so sorry to hear that she passed. And at the same time, I'm moved by your rare tears on behalf of sweet Aunt Helen. She had a good life, laughed a lot and enjoyed her time on earth. I do miss her dearly and her sisters do also. They give me joy every time I see them. Louise will turn ninety-five in April, Lord willing. ("and the creek don't rise," as my Dad used to say). He also often said, "Stop and smell the roses."

Thank you for your touching comment and for coming by today.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 18 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Faith Reaper, dear friend, what a moving and faith inspiring story about your mother and her added time with you. Stories like that keep us mindful of the power of prayer and in the knowledge that God knows what is best and remains in control of everything.

I truly appreciate your wonderful comment and thank you so much for sharing your awesome experience here. God bless you, too, in the absence of your Mom. You know you'll see her again.

Yes, love and allow others to love us. Sometimes that is hard to do.


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 18 months ago from South Africa

Saying goodbye to our beloved relatives is not easy. But how amazing, at the end they always inspire us to make one or more important decisions. To make every moment count and to love are not only important, but essential in order to live life to its fullest.

Thanks for this heart-touching account of your aunt's life and death, Peg :)


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 18 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Peg, a beautiful, touching story, lovely photos and an interesting video. I loved this. My hugs & condolences to you & yours. Your family is blessed......Peace, Paula ..UP+++


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 18 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Hello Martie, Nice to see you today and thanks for the insight and thought provoking remarks. I appreciate your visit and kindness. Decisions like these are some of the toughest. But you're right, she led us to the right one.


travmaj profile image

travmaj 18 months ago from australia

Such a warm and loving tribute to your aunt. What a lady and what a life she lived, full of energy and enthusiasm and sheer hard work.

It's hard for us all to imagine the frailty that occurs with age, I am sure we always imagine it's not going to happen to us.

You are so right Peg, material possessions are insignificant when the crunch comes. Yes, we should make every single moment count and be accountable. A valuable lesson learned today through your aunt Helen. Thank you Peg.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 18 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Hello Travmaj, I just read of your travels to Sumba and there is a place where material possessions seem to be less important than hospitality. What a great adventure you must have had there. It reminds me of the basics of life and the beauty of friendship.

Thank you for your kind words here about Aunt Helen.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 18 months ago from The Caribbean

The portrait of the three sisters is precious, as is the memory of your Aunt Helen. Family love and concern shine all throughout your tribute. I think that women who dance have an edge on knowing how to celebrate life. You are blessed, Peg, to have share life with these amazing relatives.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 18 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Hi Paula, Sorry, it looks as if I skipped over your sweet comment. Thank you for taking time to read this and to leave such nice remarks.

I'm fascinated by anything Titanic. To imagine that my grandmother traveled the ocean ten years prior to the sinking of this massive ship is incredibly sobering to me. I can't imagine what her journey was like and I wish I'd asked her to tell me while she was still here.

Again, thank you for the visit.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 18 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Dear MsDora, your wonderful hub on How to Keep Rhythm While Dancing Through Life would be a great corollary article to this one. You write on similar topics about seniors and their challenges and wisdom. It seems we travel many of the same roads in the journey of life. Thank you for your kind words about my family.

May God Bless you today and always.


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 18 months ago from California

The good byes are so important! Thank you so much for sharing this with us!


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 18 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Hello Audrey, Thanks for stopping in and for your comment.


DJ Anderson 18 months ago

Peg, this is a wonderful tribute too your aunt. We don't often get a

do-over when someone we love is at death's door. I find aging most

sad, I suppose it is better than the alternative.

I visit nursing homes and find that they want to talk about their life

before coming to the home. They want to feel that someone is interested in their life. They share stories and pictures and favorite memories. They long to feel that they are still an intricate part of this world. It takes so little, yet it means so much.

I found it interesting that your aunts danced in competitions. How exciting that must have been.

You bring up the importance of advance directives and living wills.

It certainly make it easier on the family. Making a decision while a

family member is in dire straights must be excruciating.

I love how you brought up the fact that we should made every moment

count. We never know when our number is up.

Super article, Peg! Voted Up +++

DJ.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 18 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Hello DJ, It's always nice to get your take on things like this. I admire you for visiting nursing homes and may God bless you for your efforts to take the time to listen to our elders. They have many wonderful stories and lessons that can be of value if we take time to hear.

You know, I was very glad that the aunties had an active hobby and that they were talented enough to compete. They treated me to a couple of lessons, but I have two left feet. It took them to places they would never have been had it not been for their dancing tournaments.

Thank you so much for visiting and adding your thoughts to the need for advance directives and in making our wishes known to help our families at the critical moments. I really appreciate your kind remarks, votes and comment.


denise.w.anderson profile image

denise.w.anderson 18 months ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

We do not realize how precious life is until we stand at the side of a loved one who is ready to leave this world. In that single moment, we realize how insignificant we are as human beings and how grand is the great design of our creator! Thank you for sharing this small moment with us!


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 18 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Dear Denise, Those thoughts are well said and deeply meaningful. Yes, how grand He is, that is for certain.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 18 months ago from Olympia, WA

I would have bet money I had commented on this. I know I read it. Sheez, good thing I checked back. Great message, one I embrace daily. I've seen far too many loved ones pass on "before their time." Every single day is a gift and should be treated like one.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 18 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Thank you for checking back, Billybuc. Every day truly is a gift, that's for sure. As we get a bit older we start losing friends and relatives more often and it makes us aware of just how precious life is. I'm glad to see you today.


wordswithlove profile image

wordswithlove 18 months ago from Pennsylvania, USA

Beautiful thoughts, Peg. We are all reminded of the fragility of life and about making the moments count when a crisis comes upon us. I am glad you were able to spend a few more months with Helen, surround her with love and a connection to the family she loved.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 18 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Hello Wordswithlove, thank you for dropping in and sharing your thoughts about this subject. You are right about the fragility of life.


wordswithlove profile image

wordswithlove 18 months ago from Pennsylvania, USA

You are welcome, Peg. I have known the same emotions and feelings. If only we could always remember to look for the gold in the rubble every time. We get so immersed in the rubble!


marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 18 months ago from Jeffersonville PA

Ah Peg,

I am glad I read this on a 'good Friday' where I am able to absorb, reflect and appreciate the wisdom that you have shared with us - in the legacy of Aunt Helen.

Sending you, J, the critters and two sweet ladies Easter hugs and love, Maria


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 18 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Thanks, dear Maria. The ladies ask about you all the time. When I brought in a copy of one of the books you sent me she asked, "Oh, is this from one of my favorite authors, Maria?" They send their love to you as do I.


aviannovice profile image

aviannovice 18 months ago from Stillwater, OK

Thanks for sharing your family history. I enjoyed reading about your wonderful aunts.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 18 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Thank you for reading this, Deb. I appreciate your sweet comment.


pagesvoice profile image

pagesvoice 17 months ago from New York/Pennsylvania border

This was a fabulously written story and one filled with a lot of helpful and useful information. Unfortunately, my mom's husband changed her will when she was in the early stages of Alzheimer's and made sure his children received all of her assets. My mom would call me wondering why all these strange people were there having her sign papers. It was very frustrating.


csmiravite-blogs profile image

csmiravite-blogs 17 months ago from Philippines

Oh, how I love this article --- so pure and raw! You made us see that we should value the people around us, especially our loved ones. This hub also opened my eyes to my own mortality. That at some point in time, I too, will have to go and be with the Almighty. When that comes, what would count, is the moment in time that I shared with the others. Such a lovely hub!


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 17 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Thank you, Csmiravite-blogs, for your cogent words and kind reading of this hub. So true, that we will each face this inevitability and making the most of our time here becomes important once we understand. I love what you said about the value of the people around us. Thank you again for your visit.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 17 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Dear Pages Voice, I was stunned to read your comment and I understand the pain and disappointment you must have felt at what happened to your Mom. So sorry that happened to your family.

To me, when someone takes advantage of an elderly person it is among the worst of offenses. My Mom is nearing ninety now and her sister is five years older. They are quite forgetful and easily confused. I'm overly protective of them, but even so, things happen, like last week when a new dress disappeared from their room. It's hard to understand how anyone could do that sort of thing.


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 17 months ago from Baltimore, MD

Thank you for sharing your experience. My own father is very ill with Alzheimers and it has changed the way I view the world, too. I realize a lot of drama people create in life is just that - created drama. There is no need for it and I refuse to get caught up in the silliness anymore.

Great hub and voted up!


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 17 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Dear Jeannieinabottle, I am truly sorry to hear of your father's illness. Things like that do change the way we view our world. I hope your time with your dad is memorable and that he improves as much as possible. This time of the year is always difficult for me as it was ten years ago today that I visited with my dad in Florida for the very last time. I remember marching into the emergency room with him as he called cadence from his old military days. Within a week he succumbed to his illness and never left the hospital. It was a week I'll never forget.

Thank you so much for visiting this hub and sharing your insight. I really appreciate it.


Suzanne Day profile image

Suzanne Day 17 months ago from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Hi Peg, I really enjoyed reading about Helen's background in this hub, do you often interview different people about their stories? She sounds like a person who lived life to the fullest! Now we know what to do to do the same, throw out the computer LOL ;) Voted awesome and up.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 17 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Hi Suzanne, At the skilled nursing facility where my Mom and Aunt live the admissions director does a Resident Spotlight on each of the long term residents. She asked me to do one for my family members and it was a memorable event, asking Louise (and Mom) what she treasured most from her past and what accomplishments she remembered. Helen (their older sister) passed in 2005, so I took some things from memory about our time together. Yes, I enjoy the process very much and would do the same for others there.

Thanks so much for the kind remarks and interest.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 17 months ago from Houston, Texas

What a beautiful tribute to your aunt, Peg. As others have already written, it seemed that she led a full life. She entered the next life on her own time and terms which is nice. Everyone should consider executing a living will. It makes it so much easier on the families who are presented with tough decisions when it comes to things like this. It sounds as though you have a close and loving family. Up votes and will be sharing this! Time is definitely precious and we take nothing of material means into the next life. Certainly puts things in perspective!


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 17 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Good morning Peggy W. Thank you. How wonderfully put, "She entered the next life on her own time..." It represents the hopes for each of us in turn. Actually, there are other sides to the story when it comes to relatives and untoward behavior, but what family doesn't have its share of that?

It was so nice of you to drop in and thank you for the kind words.


drbj profile image

drbj 17 months ago from south Florida

What a sweet, empathic tribute to all three of your aunts, Peg. Thanks for sharing your memories with us. Helen, bless her heart, was indeed especially special.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 17 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Thanks, Drbj. I appreciate you stopping in. Haven't seen you for a while. Helen was a real character, living, loving and laughing a lot. One of the ladies is my Mom. They had a fourth and fifth sister who passed away at forty-seven and two years old.


Genna East profile image

Genna East 17 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

Hi Peg. I’m embarrassed to admit that I missed this hub for some reason. (I think I miss e-mails from HP from time to time.) This moving tribute to your aunt is beautifully written, Peg. After reading your article, I feel that in some way, I know Helen and the lovely woman she was. And I love those photos. Helen led such an interesting and full life. You have given poignancy, inspiration and meaning to, “Make every moment count.” (By the way, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is one of three states does not allow Living Wills, but we do have signed, written directives outlining our final wishes so that our family is not faced with making these decisions.) “No matter what we accumulate on this earth, the only thing we’ll take with us is the love we’ve earned while we’re here.” Absolutely. :-)


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 17 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Hi Genna, I'm always delighted to have you visit and to read your insightful thoughts. Thanks for feeling a connection with Aunt Helen who was so dear to our family. She took care of her mother right up to the end and remained a strong influence on her younger sister who stayed in their family home along with Grandmother. Louise is also a wonderful gift, still vibrant and witty. She just celebrated her ninety-fifth birthday last week.


Akriti Mattu profile image

Akriti Mattu 16 months ago from Shimla, India

Awesome post


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 16 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Thank you, Akriti Mattu.


Dana Tate profile image

Dana Tate 15 months ago from LOS ANGELES

It is so true that we must make every moment in this life count. Sometimes we get so caught up in trying to survive we forget to enjoy the small things. Your aunt had a long life but we must take into consideration that every moment is a blessing because everyday is not promised to us. Thank you for sharing this beautiful hub. God bless.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 15 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

God bless you for taking time to read these memories of my auntie. Every day is a blessing, that's for sure.


Kristen Howe profile image

Kristen Howe 15 months ago from Northeast Ohio

Peg, this was so beautiful and heart-warming to share this story about your aunt Helen. It moved me to tears. God bless you and voted up!


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 15 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Hello Kristen, So nice of you to read this and let me know it moved you. God bless you for your kind remarks.


Kristen Howe profile image

Kristen Howe 15 months ago from Northeast Ohio

My pleasure Peg. I really loved it--thanks for the Pinterest follow too.


PapaJohn2U profile image

PapaJohn2U 15 months ago from New Jersey

Thanks for the wonderful walk down memory lane! I think your comments captured the essence of the marvelous character that we knew as Helen and the morals of the story are equally right on target. Make every moment count now and make your wishes for your future known!


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 15 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

PapaJohn2U, Thank you for stopping in today and for reading this tribute to Helen. It's the tenth anniversary of her passing this month. How quickly time flies. I'm so glad you came by to share your thoughts and leave a comment. She was truly a marvelous character, as you know.


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pstraubie48 11 months ago from sunny Florida

Tears flow freely as I reflect upon your message here, Peg.

My parents both needed me at the end of their lives and I was there for them. (I admit, there were times when it was a bit begrudgingly because I was forced to give up a relationship that would have resulted in my second marriage.) But I knew that both of them would have done anything for me...and had always done so. So loving them when they needed me most was something I would do.

And how very thankful I am!! I know in my heart of hearts that they knew I was there for them the last years of their lives and that makes anything else secondary.

And now this story is most poignant for me as one of our mantras between my daughter, grandson, and I is : embrace each day...do not miss one moment of any day trying to second guess the future!!!

My girl has new issues with her brain tumors and it makes me gasp for a moment but only for a moment...and then grab onto the wonder of today.

So glad I saw this today...I just got new news about her last night (I am out of town which I have not done in years due to her cancers) so I needed to see your words.

Angels and blessings are on the way to you this morning ps

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PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 11 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Dear Sweet Patricia,

Thank you for the lovely thoughts this morning. You inspired me to review this article, add some photos and clarify a few areas. That led to me looking through the box of old photos that hold the memories of those dear sweet ones who have left this world for a better one. Sorting and scanning these treasures took me back to many returns of good times shared with loved ones.

My heart goes out to you and your girl with all that you both face daily. Many hugs and prayers are on their way to you and yours. Thanks so much for the shares, tweets and inspiration.

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