Saturday, June 27, 2015

Generation Gone

GLASGOW – Lois Glass Riley, 90, of Glasgow, died Wednesday, June 24, 2015, at Hart County Health Care Center.
A native of Metcalfe County, she was a daughter of the late Ike and Sudy Amyx Oliver. She was a homemaker and a member of Lighthouse Church in Horse Cave.
Survivors include six children, Margie Neal and her husband, Bobby, and Brenda Harper and her husband, Clyde, of Horse Cave, Paulette Neal and Jo Ann Jaggers and her husband, Thomas, of Cave City, Kenneth Glass and his wife, Brenda, of Glasgow, Douglas Riley and his wife, Tina, of Hardyville; and several grandchildren, great-grandchildren, great-great-grandchildren, step-grandchildren, step-great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews.
In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her two husbands, Henry Glass and Walter Riley; one grandson, Michael Edward Johnson; two brothers, Walter Oliver and Marion Oliver; and six sisters, Lou Lawson, Nettie Mae Kingrey, Idell Parks, Pearl Jennings, Catherine Woods and Naomi Oliver.
Funeral services will be at 1 p.m. Saturday at Hatcher & Saddler Funeral Home, with burial in the Lighthouse Church Cemetery. Friends may call after 3 p.m. Friday at the funeral home.
Aunt Lois, Uncle Marion, Aunt Catherine 

I received the news that my Aunt Lois had died from my cousin Martha Helen via Facebook private message. In her lifetime she went from being born just a few years after World War I to dying in the age of technology. What wonders did she witness in her life? And why did I not ask her more questions? I feel like we lost a library of memories today.

Lois was born to a poor couple, Ike an Irish farmer and his wife Sudy, a Cherokee orphan. She was one of 8 siblings and the last to die. I envision her meeting her sisters and brothers and parents in Heaven, all of them healed and laughing and whole again.

Lois was never rich. She remained poor her whole life. When I was growing up her youngest child, Doug, was in my cohort of cousins. I never really knew her older children as they were grown and out of her house. But she and Doug were frequent visitors. She was tall, perhaps the tallest of all the Oliver girls. She had a deep voice from years of smoking. She would scrunch her nose when she was thinking hard on something.

I was blessed that as a teenager I spent time with my mother and her sisters quite frequently. I learned all about "Sister Love" from them. They were always helping each other in time of trouble, cleaning one another's houses, cooking meals, driving each other to hospitals, doctor's appointments, the store.
They called each other daily. Lois and Catherine and my mother were the closest in proximity and age. They were a trio always in my mind.

Even after I left for college and eventually NYC, when I came home it was expected that I visit both aunts, Catherine and Lois. I did so gladly. Catherine made me breakfast, cooking biscuits and eggs and making strong coffee. Lois made me dinner or supper, cornbread and beans and fried yellow squash. I could not visit one without visiting the other. If I did I would hear about it the next time I saw her!

After my mother died, they were my touchstones. They kept a part of her alive for me. They would laugh and cry with me, sharing memories and showing me parts of Mama that only they as sisters had seen. They gave me the gift of remembrance.

Over the years Aunt Lois declined, became a bit cranky as her aches and pains increased, became forgetful and stopped laughing as much as she watched her siblings leave this earth. Finally she was the only one remaining. And now she too has crossed over to the next life.

I am hoping and praying that today in Heaven is a joyous family reunion. That the Family was there waiting, all her sisters and brothers, her parents and all her loved ones who had gone before her. Waiting there with smiles on their faces, arms open and hearts bursting with love.

I am not able to go to the funeral. For that I am sorry. But I hope that she knows I love her and I won't forget her. My funny, outspoken aunt who always made me cornbread and beans, who welcomed me always, who loved me and always let me know.

RIP Aunt Lois, you gave me gifts money can't buy.