Below is a short tribute I had the priviledge to share at my Aunt Sall's memorial in May 2022.
She had an endless capacity to embrace others with a genuine warmth and compassion.
She was thoughtful with her actions and wise with her words — always having just the right thing to say, sometimes with a poem.
She would be there to wrap her arms around you with a hug or to pull you up from whatever was weighing you down.
She was never late for a birthday or to celebrate a special occasion with a care package filled with your favorite treats — always including a bag of homemade chex-mix.
She would spend countless hours crafting one of her famous quilts to celebrate another God-given life — I am lucky enough to have been the recipient of 4.
She would endure my banter, giving it right back just as quickly as I could dish it out. I loved her sense of humor as we’d call into question her optimal parking arrangements at a family event.
She brought ideas to life through a rock-solid plan.
She would take her daughter's school project and have it sold to a prominent lacrosse company.
She would help take her husband's daily bike ride and turn it into a non-profit raising thousands each year for charity.
She would take my downcast soul with a rejected resume, and through a walk to the jetty and back, be an encouragement, all the while inspiring a new career path (I’m sure many know that walk too).
Through her son, she would humbly receive the faith once delivered to all the saints.
As much as she loved living at the beach, my Aunt Sall decided to build her life on the Rock of Ages, telling anyone who would listen about the eternal treasures she had found in the Lord Jesus Christ.
She was never one to back down from a challenge — it didn't matter what it was.
Whether it was on the field playing lacrosse, the family football game on Thanksgiving day, or the basketball court in the driveway — my Aunt Sall “played to win” — being known for her relentless defense and revered for her trash talk. Both were extremely effective, especially against the likes of me.
Whether it was turning around an organization, or facing head-on the most difficult conflicts in the workplace or in life, she'd never take the easy way out of the most challenging situations.
My Aunt Sall would stand before the precipice of cancer.
She would walk through the valley, hand-in-hand with her beloved, for 15-years if that's what the Lord willed.
She walked with me too, but in my case, it was just for one.
My Aunt Sall told me I needed a quarterback in this fight and the Lord has provided many, but my Aunt Sall stepped in for me bringing clarity on the next play to run.
My Aunt Sall would encourage us all that God has a plan in this and it is a good one.
I’m confident that my Aunt Sall would take our hand through this valley of grief and mourning, and she’d put it in the Good Shepherd’s, trusting in his plan over our own.
When this God is your deepest treasure, he can make even the most dry valley a place with streams of joy (Psalm 84).
Trust in him, like my Aunt Sall.