This post is made to remember the life of my great Aunt Gertrude.. Gert, or Gerty as we all called her. She was in her early 80's, and entered into eternal rest today, a long time sufferer from dementia and heart problems.
Gert was the oldest of nine children... sister to my maternal grandfather. I only had the chance to see Aunt Gert once a year, during my maternal grandmother's annual family reunion. Both Grandparents came from the same area of Pa, and Gramps always made sure we stopped in to visit "Gerty" on the way back to Buffalo. My older brother Joe and I used to LOVE to go to her home to visit. She was always so sweet and kind to us kids. A very gentle woman, and ALWAYS a classy looking lady.
She was quite the Tom-boy all through her life, yet always still a lady. She used to beat the crap out of neighborhood bullies, and liked sports. One would never think it by looking at her.. a tall woman, always very slender, and always the proper dressed lady.. but she was not a person to be messed with. Once, at the age of 73, she was at a bus station waiting for a bus, when a mugger tried to steal her purse. She beat the crap out of him with her umbrella.. he ran away nursing his arm, and she walked away with her purse.
She suffered more losses than any human soul should have to suffer in a life time, and always held her head high, worked hard, and found strength in her faith. She lost her son to diabetes, her husband at an early age (she's been widowed since 1977) her grandson committed suicide, and found her sister's body after she took her own husband's life, and then her own life. Through it all, she managed to live her life, and take care of herself with no family in the area, not knowing how to drive, and living alone until she was forced into a nursing home five years ago due to complications from dementia.
When I was about 8 years old, she heard I liked "old" things, and presented me with an old pocket watch, which was well worn. It belonged to her father in law, who like her husband, worked for the Pennsylvania RailRoad. It is a Waltham, which I later dated to be from between 1900 and 1910. It didn't work when she gave it to me, but I later had it overhauled to working condition. That little momento has meant the world to me, and served as a reminder of such a simple, yet magnificent soul.
She will always be remembered in my heart and mind as woman of inner strength, and a woman of great faith!
Eternal Rest grant unto her O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon her. May she rest in Peace.
Gertrude, Requescat in Pace.