Friday, October 19, 2012

the smell of tea olives {a tribute to my aunt linda}

i will never smell a tea olive tree without thinking of my aunt linda.
the older i get the more i experience death...but that doesn't make it any easier.

for years my aunt linda has been battling cancer...and most of those years in great victory.  last night the cancer finally took her body.  but i know her soul is more alive than ever.

one of the hardest things for me about death is all the things i wish i had said.  you would think that i would have learned by now to say what i need to say and not wait around.  but somehow i always end up crying my biggest tears over the things left unspoken.  maybe when it comes to those you love the words are never enough.

my aunt linda had a deep and wide faith.  she also had a green thumb.  i think gardening was part of her worship.  the way that she cared for and enjoyed every flower, plant, and tree that surrounded her house in the woods...  

she planted two tea olive trees right outside of her garage many years ago.  they grew and grew but never bloomed...never produced that lovely fragrance...until a year ago.  one day when i was walking up to her back door i breathed in a sweetness that i didn't recognize.  when i asked aunt linda about it she told me the story of the tea olive trees.  how she had wondered after 5 and then 6 and then 7 years why they weren't blooming.  someone had suggested that maybe she had planted two male trees so they were unable to cross-pollinate.  after all those years, she assumed they would never bloom.  but then one day they just did.  as we stood there breathing them in she smiled and said...just one more gift God has kept me alive to receive.

my aunt linda knew how to receive what God gave...the good and the bad.  she received them both with grace.  it's one of the many things i always admired about her.  one of the ways that she influenced me to be a better person...a better mother.

i will miss my aunt linda.  we all will.  there will be a hole in our family without her.  already this morning i cried when lucy cuddled up under the quilt that her great aunt lovingly made for her. 

{every one of her great nieces and nephews have one}.
i know all of heaven is celebrating today as linda harris mccorkle is welcomed into her eternal home...completely cancer-free.  knowing that brings my heart comfort.  more tears of grief and sorrow will be cried by those of us who knew her but with all that we are losing there is also so much left behind...

there are some people who, like those tea olives, produce such a beautiful fragrance in their lifetime that there is always a sweet part of them that lingers here with us.

for we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing...
2 corinthians 2:15