Anyway, for anyone who met Aunt Lil or is interested, you can read my brother's eulogy
On April 27, 1924, Aunt Lil was baptized right here in St. Elizabeth’s church where fittingly enough, today, April 14, 2005 we will send her home again.
You know someone is special when they have earned the right to drop their last name. Movie stars, musicians, world leaders, cultural icons…and Aunt Lil.
I smile when I think about how many of you sitting here today might hesitate to find her full name if you hadn’t seen it in print sometime over the past 2 days. No one knew her as anything other than Aunt Lil. She had amazingly transcended her own last name. She didn’t need it anymore. She had become EVERYONE’s Aunt. Once you met her she became your Aunt as well. When I would bring a friend home from school, it was always, “OK now who’s this one here, I’m Aunt Lil.” A plumber would be called to the house and she would great him with, “Hello, Aunt Lil dear, the sink’s in the kitchen.”
Years before she became everyone’s Aunt Lil, I apparently had transformed my mom’s casual “Lili” into “Nini” because L’s were a little bit tough for me and gave Aunt Lil the first nickname of her life which she treasured.
My parents claim that despite 3 kids born across a 7 year span that they never had to hire a baby-sitter, in no small part due to Aunt Lil during her “Nini” years. I wonder how many of you sitting here today entrusted your own children with her over the years.
Aunt Lil was a solid rock for our family. She wore many hats, aside from ever-willing baby sitter: friend…confidant…task-master (when needed). She was the grand matron of our household. She was also the poet laureate of the Lykes family. Sometimes she would shock us with her wide-ranging, free-wheeling vocabulary. She could crack you up with a trademark creative Aunt Lil turn of phrase. She had dubbed Jeff, “James Bond”; Jenna, “Julia Roberts”; and I was “Robert Redford,” obviously.
You see Aunt Lil saw everyone in their best light and her support for our family was what I will always remember most about her. She celebrated even our modest achievements with great fanfare. She was proud of any and everything that you did: From crayon messes drawn with tiny balled fists to diplomas and work milestones. And for those major achievements, look out, because you were guaranteed to hear about it for years to come.
I don’t know that Aunt Lil fully appreciated the role she played in it all: the modest accomplishments, major achievements and everything in between. She was too selfless. And I know I’m one of many here today who will forever appreciate her support, her faith, her trust. She provided this support with no agenda, without judgement, and with endless love. That is what will remain as her greatest legacy.
Aunt Lil faced her final days with dignity and grace in spite of her failing health. She was surrounded by love, and bravely at peace with what lay ahead. To the end she continued to surprise us with her sharp with and stood as that pillar of support, our rock.
To conclude I call upon the wise words of Aunt Lil herself. Words she used has her own farewell whenever you left her, seem nevermore appropriate now as she leaves us:
Keep up the good work
Carry on, and
I can't think of too much I'd like to add to it, he did a great job.
Now we have a massive supply of food and alcohol at my house. Yeah, don't worry, I'll take care of both. Because I'm a fat alcoholic. My brother is going back to NC in a few minutes, which is kind of sad but I'll visit him this summer if I can.
P-freaking-S: I registered for fall classes. If anyone's interested I'm taking:
PLUUUUUSSSS I still might have to take summer session in Boston. I should find out today or tomorrow. I'll keep you posted.