Posted by: Kerry Gans | October 25, 2012

Farewell to Aunt Marge

I didn’t think I’d be writing another one of these so soon, but on Friday my great-aunt Marge passed away. She had just turned 90 a few weeks ago, and thankfully she went peacefully.

Farewell, Aunt Marge. I am glad you are reunited with Uncle Ed, your soul mate for 64 years, your sisters, and your parents.

Aunt Marge had a bubbly spirit. I can’t think of her without hearing her laughter. She always seemed to be laughing. Vivacious is a perfect word for her. Even when health issues began to crop up, her lively personality shone through.

She was by far the most positive person I ever knew. No matter what happened, she saw the good in it. Aunt Marge simply had a deep faith that somehow everything would come right in the end—things would work out for the best, even if we couldn’t see it at the time.

Aunt Marge also had a serenity about her. Perhaps it came with age and wisdom, or perhaps it, too, stemmed from her faith. We never spoke about religion together, but her faith was tangible in her calm acceptance of life and all its ups and downs.

Aunt Marge is, however, responsible for my genealogy addiction. Probably a decade ago, we visited her, and she mentioned that she wished she knew where the Warren line of the family had come from. She handed me my first piece of genealogy—her application to the Daughters of the American Revolution—and my obsession was born.

I am sorry that I was not able to trace our Warren name back to its roots. I lost the trail in 1811 in Halifax, Nova Scotia. So I do not know where they originated. They could have come to Nova Scotia directly from England, Ireland, or Scotland. A more interesting scenario would have them have come to America prior to the Revolution—many New England families who wished to stay loyal to the Crown left New England and went to Canada. The New England Warrens, who came over on the Mayflower, were prolific, so it is not impossible that this was a branch that fled.

Her interest in genealogy reflected her overall attention to family. She loved her family, both immediate and extended. Whenever we visited, she always asked what we were doing. She would listen attentively, and you knew her lively mind was taking it all in. Like me, Aunt Marge seemed eager to learn a little about everything, which is one thing that kept her so young at heart.

Aunt Marge was one of the kindest, most sincere, and genuinely loving people I know. I do not know if it was a grace that came with age, or if it was a hallmark of her generation, but I said similar things about her husband and sister, who left us on the same day last year. Aunt Marge was the last of her generation in my family. She takes with her the experiences and wisdom of an age that has long past and will never come again.

Hopefully, though, her values of family and faith, of love and laughter, will remain—passed down to her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Aunt Marge never failed to touch the hearts of everyone she met. She bore her trials with grace and dignity, celebrated her good fortunes with pure joy and gratitude, and loved life and her family with every fiber of her being.

I will miss Aunt Marge, and can only hope to live up to the high standards she set for us all. I will remember her, and whenever I do, those memories will be accompanied by her bubbling laughter.

 

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