Monday, November 16, 2009

Aunt Ida, Duchess of Vilonia, Joins her King

57 years and 1 month ago, this world was introduced to Ida Mae Swaim, a toe-headed delta sweetheart. She was the youngest of 7 children with an amazing spirit. Known to her mama as Ider, Maw-Maw to her grandkids,Aint Idie to her nieces and nephews,she left an an Ida shaped hole in our hearts. On her 56th birthday she was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. 1 year and 1 month later she was laid to rest.
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Happier Times
I met Aunt Ida just a few days before mine and Jason's wedding. After a little teasing about whether or not I was sure I wanted to be part of the family, Aunt Idie asked me if I wanted to see the dress she planned to wear for our big day. She left the room and came back minutes later dressed in a 1980's royal blue number that was sure to turn heads, but not in a flattering way. Giving into stereotypes, I assumed what they said about Arkansans was true. Not wanting to seem rude, I politely complimented the blueberry monstrosity. She laughed and fortunately had something more elegant planned.
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I loved going to Vilonia in the spring time to pick veggies out of her and Uncle Roberts' garden. Together we picked peppers, squash, cucumbers, and purple hull peas. We would sit around the table, shell peas, and talk the afternoon away. Our efforts were rewarded with a delicious garden fresh vegetable dinner complete with pickled cumbers, fried taters, and sweet tea.
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Every time I would visit, Aunt Ida made a point to make sure she and I had special time together, doing my favorite thing, thrift shopping. The kids would ask if they could come and she let them know in no uncertain terms, that they were not invited. We always shopped together. In March, she and I hit a few stores in Carlisle. On the car ride there, we talked about the unfortunate turn of events. She shared with me that she was at peace with dying. The only part she hated was the sorrow her family would feel. I let her know that as much as I would miss her, I knew that our time apart would be short.
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Aunt Ida with her family before we knew about the cancer. Christmas, 2006.

Aint Idie and "Luke the Toot" as she called him seen here at Granny-Greats.
Luke has said on many occasions recently, "I miss Aint Idie. I don't want her to be in Heffen"

I loved this idea. I think it would be a great thing for Brae to do in honor of her daddy. The kids each said a prayer while holding their balloon, letting Maw-Maw know how much they loved her. They sent the balloon to the sky and on to Heaven.
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Our cousins Chad and Misty's new bundle of boy.

Welcome little one. We are so glad to meet you and can't wait to share with you the love and memories we have of Aunt Ida.
The family gathered after the funeral at Grandma's in Hazen. We spent time visiting with one another.
Her presence was definitely missed.

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