I attended the memorial for my Auntie Soling this evening, who passed away in hospice care this past Sunday night surrounded by her family. Her health and her mind had been failing her for these past couple of years, but really spirit for living took a dive when she lost her husband about twelve years ago. Together, my Uncle Benning and Auntie Soling had eleven children. All of them are here now, and now they have children that called Auntie Soling ‘Grandma.’
I have so many relatives and cousins here in Portland – my mom was the pioneer, and she eventually brought my grandparents and then my cousin Joven, who is the eldest among the siblings that called Auntie Soling ‘Mom.’ Next came Auntie Lody, Cuya Rem, Uncle Donsing and Uncle Benning. Then around 1985 or so is when Auntie Soling finally came. She and Uncle Benning bounced around a few nearby apartment units before eventually living in a house right across the street from where I grew up. And soon thereafter is when the rest of their children came to call the United States ‘Home.’
The one thing that everyone says about Auntie Soling is the joy she brought just by flashing her smile and showing genuine interest in you. She never wanted to be the center of attention, and was content on being a wife and a mother and a homemaker. She and my uncle raised some incredible kids. It was definitely hard for me to hold back any tears last night. Their family is deeply rooted in religion, and although they practice different subsets of Christianity, they all believe that she has found peace and is now happily reunited with Uncle Benning in Heaven. Along with my Dad of course, singing songs, drinking and laughing — that is what I remember from my childhood evening weekends. There was always so much life inside my home with all my new relatives.
She lived a full life of eighty-one years. Had such a devoted, tight-knit family. She was well taken care of after the death of Uncle Benning. But she never fully recovered from his death. And death is something that is becoming more familiar within my family circle over the last few years. First my Dad. Then Uncle Frank. And Auntie Leling. Now Auntie Soling. Coming to these memorials always serves as either a gentle reminder or a wake up call that life is precious and the next day is never guaranteed, so we have the time of the present to live as we can. And that is how I want to honor my Auntie Soling — by not taking life for granted, to not take things too seriously, to laugh more, forgive more, love more and just enjoy more.
Thank you Auntie Soling for your gift of joy and your ability to love and to be loved by all. I have always loved you, admired you, respected you and always smiled when I saw you because you smiled, as you do to everyone. I am happy that you are now reunited with Uncle Benning, and in the meantime, we will remember and celebrate your life and all of us that you have blessed with your presence in our lives. God bless you and rest in peace.