She was kind and funny and loved Auburn more than even I love Auburn. More than Auburn, she loved her family and if you were lucky enough to even just know her, she loved you too. (Even the Alabama fans, she didn't agree with you, she felt sorry for you, but she loved you just the same.) My very favorite Aunt Debbie story, and I have many, is this:
I was a student at Auburn and I lived in the Hill dorms with my sorority sisters. I had talked to Debbie the Friday before the an Auburn home game and she and Mike and Ashley were driving in from Texas. She told me that they would be at ESPN Gameday and I should come find them there on Saturday. This was before everyone had cell phones, so I told her I would see them there. I had never been to or seen ESPN Gameday, all I knew was that it was at the Coliseum. My friend and I walked down the hill towards Gameday, and I see a sea of people at the bottom. People as far as I could see, wrapping all around the Coliseum. How in the world would I find them? It. Was. Hopeless.
"What does your aunt look like,?" asked my friend.
"Well, she does have red hair, but there is no way...."
"Does she look like that?" and my friend pointed up at what appeared to be a human totem pole.
I looked over and I saw my Aunt Debbie, on some guys shoulders, who, was also on some guys shoulders. She was passionately trying to get Lee Corso's attention, to let him know how wrong he was about her beloved Auburn Tigers. She was determined, and she would have succeeded, had the State Trooper not made her "get down immediately, ma'am." It seemed human totem poles were a bit too dangerous in crowd of that size. When the State Trooper left the scene, however, Debbie catapulted right back up there.
Yep, that is my favorite Debbie story. One that will always make me laugh when I think about it. But it is not what I will remember most about Debbie. I will remember the way she loved my mom, my brothers, my husband and me. Most of all, I will remember how she loved my child. Emma Kate loves her Aunt Debbie and understands this tragic loss better than any of us grown ups. When I told her that Aunt Debbie went to live in God's House with all the other people that she has loved in her short little life that have passed away: Chase, Uncle Paul, GiGi, she got really mad. She told me I was lying and that Aunt Debbie had to come back to be with Uncle Mike. She hit me and told me I was telling a story and that Aunt Debbie was not at God's House. She cried and I cried. And then, she calmed down, hugged me and told me that she missed Debbie, but that God needed her to come home. I, trying to help a 3 year old find comfort, told her that when we went to Aubie's next game, we could look up in the the clouds and know that Aunt Debbie was there too. Emma Kate wiped her eyes and told me that that was not right. She informed me that she was quite sure Heaven was in the moon and that Aunt Debbie would watch over us every night. And with that, she was content.