Ode to Auny

“Auny” was part godmother and part adopted grandmother to me. She had a pet name all of her own, as she held a treasured and unique place in our family. She worked as a hostess in my grandparents’ midwestern Chinese restaurant. This was in a time before friendship between races was considered acceptable.  

For decades, she rubbed shoulders with my mother, aunts, and uncles, sharing bits of kindness and goodness. She pointed many in my family to the Lord in her daily interactions. Our large Chinese family eventually adopted her and her husband into the fold, as they had adopted us. At the ripe age of 93, she recently went home to be with the Lord. And we are grieving.

Auny was born in the 1920s in Kentucky, right before the start of the Great Depression. She met her husband, “Uncie,” in her teenage years. She waited patiently as he served in Europe during World War II. Uncie was a diligent, ornery man. He was a man of great personal conviction, who did what was right even when it risked his personal safety or reputation. If you had a problem with him, he had no qualms about telling you to get lost. She soothed his rough edges and faithfully loved him. She was the yin to his yang. They were married for 75 years.    

Their lives were so intertwined, you could not say “Auny” and not think of “Uncie.” Their silver 50th anniversary plate adorns our china cabinet and reminds me of their enduring and inspiring bond.

Auny was a constant as I spent my childhood summers in the Midwest among my mother’s family. She lived by the “food is love” mantra. Every year, she would whip up a family feast, complete with our favorites of mashed potatoes and mac and cheese. I would spend the following week savoring the leftover mashed potatoes and lounging in her presence. She always had kind and patient words for me.

In her last years, I was grateful that she met my long-awaited husband. Auny had survived her six brothers and sisters’ passing. She rejoiced at the Lord’s provision, but she had been struggling. The days had become long and uncomfortable. In her 90s, there was blessing and grief at being the last one standing. It was a heavy burden to bear. I recall her words that she was ready to be home with the Lord and that this would likely be the last time I would see her. She was right. It was a sweet and weighty reunion.

Auny was the picture of humble faithfulness.

She loved the Lord and faithfully attended their local Baptist church. She lived a simple life, full of kindness and love. She was exactly as she presented herself. Her private life was as steadfast and loving as it appeared in public. In a time when authenticity feels rare, her unpretentious life of conviction is all the more extraordinary.  

Her life and example are a reminder to trust the Lord daily and be at peace with the daily tasks He gives. Her lasting testimony is found in the lives of my family, who were brought to the Lord through her example and love. I can only aspire that the Lord would use my days in such a simple and lasting way. 

Thank you, Auny. We miss you, but we will meet again.  

Aimee is an Asian American physician, recently married to the love of her life. She loves deep, honest conversation, being silly with her husband, and pondering God’s presence in this broken world. She is honored to contribute to Red Tent Living but requests anonymity in respect for her personal and professional privacy. b