Tony Miltenberger is a husband, father, and follower of Christ. He is currently serving as the lead pastor at Restoration Church Centerville, ohio.

It Was a Strange Feeling: My Aunt Died and I Wasn’t Sad

It was a weird moment in my life. My mom had just told me that I had lost my aunt (her sister). She let me know that Peggy had passed peacefully in her sleep. 

Throughout the course of my life I have had to deal with a significant amount of death, bothin my own life and through the church. I lay in bed, processing the moment and, surprisingly, I felt better.

Aunt Peggy and Uncle Pat

Aunt Peggy and Uncle Pat

See, the past couple of years hadn’t been easy for Peggy. Peggy was married to the love of her life, Pat. Peggy had four children and fourteen grandchildren. And for the past several years Peggy had been battling cancer. She had been engaged in what can be an epic battle of wills. Not only did Peggy have cancer, Pat did also. Cancer struck this couple and they epically battled back.

Peggy and Pat were always fighters. They both had spunk. Make no mistake, Peggy might have been in her fifties, but in her heart she was always a kid. You couldn’t tell her no. You couldn’t tell her that something was impossible. It was her nature to challenge all of it.

Peggy had an innate ability to bring joy to a room.

And when I say joy, I really mean JOY. Like big-time, life-changing, always-smiling kind of joy. One of her favorite places on Earth was Walt Disney World, and I think that was the case because it was the only place on Earth that could match her intensity when it came to having fun. Of course they do it with thousands of employees and Peggy did it with one joyous heart.

When Pat went to heaven almost ten months ago, I watched Peggy carefully. Peggy and Pat had a legendary love, so I was curious as to how Peggy’s joy would hold up. Peggy did the only thing she could think of after the passing of her husband: She decided she would live life for the both of them.

She went on trips with her sisters and took Pat with her in picture form.

She spent as much time with her kids and grandkids as she could.

She celebrated life, and she did it twice as much because she was doing it for Pat.

So on that morning when I heard of my aunt’s passing I wasn’t sad. A heart like Peggy’s deserves to be in heaven with the man she called her soulmate. Certainly, there will be moments of remembrance, and certainly I mourn with her kids for the loss of both their parents in one year. But I will not be sad for Peggy.

Instead, I am going to remember Peggy by letting her legacy live on in me. I am going to practice joy, I am going to orchestrate fun, and I am going to love unconditionally.

Peggy also shared some of her story on this blog. If you want to read some of Peggy’s writing click here.

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