3 Life Lessons from my Great Aunt Pansy

3 Life Lessons from my Great Aunt Pansy

June 01, 2021

I wish every family could have an Aunt Pansy! There is so much that we can learn from someone so full of faith, love and spunk!  As I think about her life, I have some very clear thoughts about the way her life has impacted mine with her example of living well.

First – Laugh a Lot

Aunt Pansy had a wonderful smile and an amazing ability to laugh at herself.  One of my favorite memories of her was when we were in California to help celebrate her 100th birthday with many family members and friends.  We were checking into our hotel and she arrived to greet us.  She was so excited to see everyone that she threw her arms up in the air and lost her balance on the hard, marble floor in the lobby and fell on her bottom.  We all gasped as we watched her, it seemed like everything happened in slow motion.  

Within a few seconds our anxieties dissipated as she began laughing and giggling like an 8-year-old schoolgirl who had just experienced the joy of a playground slide.  We helped her to her feet but she couldn’t contain her laughter. I recall how contagious her laugh was and how it brought levity to what could have been a very difficult situation.  

Second – Take Care of Your Mind and Your Body

When Aunt Pansy was 95 I asked her what "health secret" she could share with me.  What was the key to how she’d lived so long with few health concerns?  “I do bicycles”, was her answer.  I’m sure she saw the puzzled look on my face so she proceeded to explain:  “When I’m in the bed in the morning, and at the end of the day, I do bicycles with my legs.  This helps to keep my joints limber.”  

Fast forward 5 years and she was still working in her garden at home in San Rafael.  Of course, from time to time she would bend to pull a weed and be unable to get back up without a little help...but she stayed in the game and kept moving around.  In her younger years she was a musician, painter, photographer and golfer.  She kept her body and her mind active.  

Third – Keep the Faith

Pansy served as church organist for many years for her church in San Rafael.  She was committed to her Lord and lived her life faithfully.  Aunt Pansy loved people and, in so doing, she modeled Christ’s love to others.  In her 90s she was driving many of her “younger friends” to their doctor appointments.  I don’t ever recall a negative word toward anyone.  She always saw the good in people.  II Timothy 4:7 says “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” 

Aunt Pansy finished life strong, even in a feeble body at 104!  When I looked at the mortality tables for someone born in 1909, I found it very interesting to see that her life expectancy was 53 years!  She had a 0.2% chance of living to age 90. 

The loss of a wonderful friend like Aunt Pansy always brings me to reflect upon life and purpose.  What an awesome privilege it was to have known her and experience a friendship with her.  It also is sobering to think that she is no longer here.  

In my work as a financial advisor, I experience the same emotional wave with each passing of a client. As I think about each one, I run the gamut of feelings; from feeling blessed to have known them, to the personal loss of not being able to laugh with them again.  Through working with their surviving spouse, as well as adult children, it is clear that their impact remains strong.  Their memories will forever be a part of our lives and conversations.  

Randy Morris, CFP®, ChFC®, AIF®