Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Aunt Audrey

Few times in my life have I felt as honored or humbled as I did when Coy called to ask if I would give his mom’s eulogy. During her 82 years of life, Audrey Feucht BoĆ©, was a daughter, sister, wife, sister-in-law, aunt, mother, mother-in-law, and Granny. But someone with as large of a heart as hers had room for even more. She was also a kind friend and neighbor, the dedicated organist here at St. Peter for 53 years, and a patient piano teacher for over 40 years. In addition to the privilege of being her niece, I was also her student.
Once a week, I would sit in Aunt Audrey’s  kitchen waiting for my lesson. With my piano book open, my fingers played a silent tune on her table, as I hoped that when I played for her my performance would hide the fact that I hadn’t practiced. But it always showed.
My favorite part of the lesson, even better than when she would stick a star on the page of a song I had mastered, was when she would play a new recital piece first so I could hear the way it was supposed to sound. Her performance set the tone and the pace, showed me where to pause, and where to pick up speed. Later at home, as I attempted to learn the song, I tried to mimic her notes. In my head I always heard her example and with practice, my song slowly began to sound like hers, at least in my mind it did. I tried so hard to imitate her. I still do.
Whenever I would enter her home, after walking through Uncle Ray’s magical yard, I was always welcomed. Every single time. I never felt like I was imposing. Now I must admit to often being confused because there was a backwards clock that I still can’t read, but other than that, I felt as comfortable as I do in my own home. Aunt Audrey was always prepared for company. She loved to cook for people, whether it was family or friends, or all of the friends they brought with them. She was always warm and kind, and displayed a degree of hospitality to which I aspire.
We occasionally played Liverpool Rummy, a card game my Aunt Toot taught us. While others took their time and planned their strategy for winning, Aunt Audrey and I would talk about life, her unique ability to hold her cards upside down, and her family whom she dearly loved.
Every year on their birthdays, her family would get their favorite cake, homemade – no store-bought frosting for them. Although she didn’t use the text message feature of her phone, whenever she flipped it open, there was a picture of her great-grandchildren, Aiden and Allie.
Aunt Audrey always listened to my stories, and never let me leave without encouraging me. She never believed or noticed anything bad in people, only the good. Her words were always positive and filled with life, strength, and hope.
During the last four years of her life, illness prevented her from entertaining in her home and kept her from the church that she loved, but it could not silence the sustained note which played throughout the song of her life. It could not stop her faith. As her life became quieter, her days continued to begin with Bible reading and prayer. Her prayers and faith were ever increasing, once again setting an example for those near her. She never complained, but was always grateful for the people who cared for her, especially Uncle Ray.
When we learned of her death on Christmas, my dad said, “On the day we celebrate Jesus leaving Heaven for earth, Audrey was freed from earth and entered Heaven.”
It’s been years since Aunt Audrey played a recital piece for me to imitate, but the beautiful music she made of her life resounds in my heart. The gentle rhythm of her love, humility, kindness, and faith will forever be a melody I not only hear, but yearn to imitate. And if we all do that, her life’s song plays on.