July 1, 2020

my aunt randi

My aunt Randi was the sweetest person you would ever meet. She was gentle and kind, yet so real. 

When I found out she had cancer it hit me so hard. I wasn't too far removed from my own cancer treatments. It was so fresh. And then to see someone who I admired so greatly and who was there for me during my treatments have her own cancer journey was just plain tough. 

My first clear memory of my aunt Randi is swimming with her in my grandparents community pool. I remember admiring her red painted toenails. :) I have many childhood memories of eating sandwiches and playing with her and the cousins at the beach in california and staying with them in their home in orange county. I always loved being around her and in their home. 

But my experiences with her the last couple of years have been the most impactful. It wasn't the quantity of experiences, but the quality. In my adult years, I didn't get the chance to see her too often. But every time I did, the conversations we had made a lasting impression on me. There was advice she gave me in the temple when my sister got married and stories she shared when we stood outside the Newport beach temple on Layla and Perry's sealing day. When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, she came and stayed at our house to care for our kids while I recovered from my mastectomy. At a time when I needed someone the most, she was there. She was generous and thoughtful with gifts, words, and her time during my treatments. She shared real stories with me about the complexity of life and relationships. I was so grateful for her realness and all of her help. She taught me you can be good and kind yet sometimes you have to stand up for the right and that won't make everyone happy. She was open about her struggles in life and so she inspired me to face the hard, unexpected things in my own life. 

Layla had a special love for Aunt Randi. She thought she was one of her grandmas! She loved Aunt Randi's art and the chance she had to create with her.

Our time with her was too short, but every interaction was meaningful. She lived a full, beautiful life!  

We attended her viewing in Prescott. Then we traveled to California for her graveside service and celebration of life in San Clamente.

It was a perfect service full of love and honor of the woman she was and the influence she had on so many of us.

Kyler, Layla, and Kacin traveled with me to California.

After the graveside service and the burial, we all gathered on the beach for a celebration of her wonderful life.

We watched the sun set as we reflected on her life and remembered her. There was a lovely display of photographs of her and some of her stunning art work.

Isn't her painting of the Newport beach temple gorgeous?

This watercolor is my absolute favorite.

Each of her children and my uncle Terry took turns telling us some of the lighthearted, fun stories about her.

My uncle told us about the time she dumped a bottle of salad dressing (I think that's what it was!) on his head while they were at my grandparents house soon after they were married.

That sunset though! We couldn't have asked for a more perfect sky. I'm sure she was there smiling with us.

Each person was given a sea shell. We could offer a prayer and throw it in to the ocean or use it as a reminder of her. Layla and I took our shells and closed our eyes and thought about her.

Then we stood by the waves. I wasn't intending to get my dress wet, but it got soaked up to my knees.

I guess like Aunt Randi said, you haven't been to the beach until you've jumped in the water!

In honor of that infamous saying of hers, everyone lined up for a dip in the ocean.

"You haven't been to the beach until you've jumped in the ocean."

Aunt Randi lived her life to the fullest. We should, too. Jump in the ocean! 

No filter. Look at that watercolor sky. It really was the best way to remember her. 

I'm glad I could share the experience with my kids.

I took a few minutes by myself before we left to offer a prayer of gratitude for her influence on my life. 

And I tossed my shell into the ocean and it landed there with a plop right in the middle of the ocean foam.

Goodbye for now, dear Aunt Randi! Until we meet again!