Our Last Hug and Wave Good-Bye


The first picture I have of me with Aunt Priscilla is dated July 1969 and the last picture I have is dated September 2016.

Sadly, Priscilla Kathleen Madden Reynolds is gone. She was born on February 17, 1932 and passed in her sleep on October 21, 2016. The last time I saw her was on Wednesday, September 21, 2016. It was sad for me when we pulled out of her drive and waved good-bye to her for the last time. I will never forget that moment.

When my mother died in January 2009, my Aunt Priscilla stepped in for me to fill that empty spot. She and I called each other regularly, and I made annual trips to visit with her.

I admit my love and devotion to her was selfish. She was my last surviving family member of my mother’s family, and I grasped on to her as a rope that kept me connected to my mother, to my grandmother and to my extended family. When we visited her a month ago, there were a number of times I just sat still and watched her because I could see my mother. The way she walked, the way she held her purse, the way she spoke, the way she gestured with her hands…I saw my mother.

That rope is now broken. I hurt but I will survive. I’m from a lineage of women who have been strong willed. Priscilla shared in a 2011 interview I had with her regarding her daughter Susan Reynolds Young, who was a victim to cancer and suffered immense pain throughout her body, “She was strong enough not to whine about it. She was a lot worse than we knew about. My mom (May Madden) was strong willed. She didn’t let you know how she felt. It has been said that our generation of women were pretty strong willed. But you just have to go on. You can’t give in. You just gotta keep on going. Mom left a good legacy and passed her strength on to us.”

Another generation is gone, but these women before us have left us (we are now the oldest generation) a legacy to follow and pass on to the generations after us.

With her interview I was able to preserve her life story on video and in book form. She will never be forgotten, and when I have grandchildren, I will be able to share not only faces and names with the pictures, but I will be able to share characters and personalities.  I wish I had the same with my great aunts and uncles who grew up in the late 1800’s, and then I might understand their somber faces shown in their pictures.

Preserving the legacies of your loved ones will prevent them from ever being forgotten and future descendants will be able to read their life stories and understand their family heritage. Grab your laptop or paper and pen and start Keeping Your Memories of your loved ones.