It's been a few days since we returned from my Aunt Mabel's Life Celebration Service and we, my dad, sister and myself are still reeling from the heartache and sadness of this loss. "Tia, you were the most gracious and kindhearted person anyone could ever meet. The Bible states that "'blessed are the meek in spirit for they shall inherit the earth'". You were soft spoken, generous, loving, welcoming, and wise. You lived a hard life but you never complained. In your own pain and suffering, you only thought of everyone else, willing to give and share your own failing, physical strength with those around who called upon you. Tia, you taught me what it means to care for family. You took care of Mama Lala in her final years of life; you took care of my Grandpa and Grandma Mestas with love and provided comfort for them until God called them home. You endured the passing of your only two children, Danny and Sally....God only knows how your heart broke and how you suffered in silence and so many times, did so alone. You reached out to extended family to care for them without any expectations of compensation. Your ministry was one of giving and servitude. What you had, you gave, gladly and without reservation. To walk into your home was to walk into welcoming arms of love, comfort and security. You were a proud woman, but not a pride of arrogance. Your pride centered around the meaning of family and keeping the family name honorable. You were a prayer warrior, strong in your faith without being preachy. Your life exemplified what it means to be a child of God. You were faithful in tithes and offerings to those who preached the Gospel...even with your meager income, you gave...gave...gave. You left us all a legacy of kindness, quiet strength, and a wonderful sense of humor. Your home was always immaculately clean and beautifully decorated. The door to your home was always open and your table always set. There was a bed for anyone who needed a comfortable place to stay. Thank you for taking the time to teach me how to make your amazing homemade 'grandma bread'. Even though you disliked having your picture taken, you allowed me to photograph you teaching me to bake bread...these are the last photos that I have of you. You will be missed, Tia. Though you are absent from us, I praise the Lord that you are enjoying your reward with Him. You have inherited heaven. You felt so bad you couldn't come to my mom's final service, and I know every time dad spoke to you, you cried for her. Well, now I know she was there to welcome you with all the other family members, brothers and sisters who have gone before, with open arms. I know that you told mom that we miss and love her, and I know you hugged her for us. I will miss you. My last image of you was you standing on your front port, hanging onto the porch post, waving goodbye to us as we drove away last summer. You weren't there to gather with us for prayer as we were getting ready to leave Farmington last week, and I looked back wishing I could see you standing at the front door waving goodbye......but you weren't there." For now, and until we meet again, I love you.