Saturday, July 16, 2011

When Someone You Love Passes From This life...

Jean's flowers from her family

Today we went to the memorial service of one of the most special people in our family. My brother Gary's beautiful mother-in-love passed away on July 4th. She has been Aunt Jean to us for nearly 40 years. We met them when Jennifer was just a toddler and Gary and Marilyn started dating. Our little ones never knew a time when Aunt Jean and Uncle Tom were not an important part of our lives and our family.

In this picture her daughter, Nancy,
looks remarkably like her.

Some of the flowers from the
service brought to their home.

Their Precious Granddaughter,
our niece, Erin

Their Wonderful Grandson, our nephew Scott!

More stunning flowers at the house sent from friends.

There are so many beautiful memories with them. We have spent nearly every Christmas Season together when everyone was healthy. The last time she came to our house was three Christmases ago. Since then she has not been healthy enough to make it.

Here she is with Erin

She loved to come for Christmas and
look at every single decoration!

She motivated me to want to
make it special for her each year.

If you'll notice the plate in the foreground was hers the one to the right is mine. I often had her sit by me because I just loved being with her. That last year was no exception. When it's your house you get to do tricky stuff like that with the place markers, right?

She just loved the Christmas Sing-A-Long
with Uncle Steve! A long standing
each Christmas.

I took this picture on the diagonal long before it was fashionable to get everyone on the couch in it. Next to Aunt Jean is Uncle Tom, Marilyn their daughter and our sister-in-love, and our niece Erin. Next to Jean on the left is Ruthie, Emily's mom and Jim's Mom, Gloria and Emily our other sister-in-love.

We spent many holidays with them, Thanksgivings, Halloween parties, Fourth of July celebrations, Mother's Day for many, many years. I can hardly think of a Holiday without thinking of Aunt Jean and Uncle Tom. I don't know anyone who loved Christmas more than Aunt Jean. She brought a special light to it all. She truly brought the joy.63 years of marriage!

Tom and Jean shared a beautiful marriage and family life that illuminated everyone that knew them with inspiration. Our beautiful Jean will live on with all of us forever.

The memorial service was so bitter sweet today. We are so thankful she is at rest and yet miss her so much too. You know how that is. It was held in a beautiful glass chapel that looked out on to the most beautiful grounds and scenery. It was just lovely, she would have loved the setting.

Most of our family that lives in CA was there and it was so wonderful to gather in support of Uncle Tom and Marilyn and her sister, Nancy. The pastor spoke of the eternal nature of love and life and it was really so comforting. Marilyn shared a letter that she and Nancy had written together about their sweet mom and it was beautiful and heartfelt and so true. Uncle Tom's sister, Ruth, gave a tender talk about Jean and her love for the Lord and her goodness in all things. Jim and I also had the privilege of sharing a few words and thoughts as well. She will never be forgotten by any of us that is for sure.

Our daughter, Laura, called us and told us that today she she been asked to sing a song at a funeral of a lady she did not know. She said she would be singing it for her Aunt Jean from Rhode Island today. She was touched by the invitation to do on this day, as it helped her feel she was with all of us here in some small way. I texted Jennifer and Chris several photos of the family to help them feel included from a distance also.

The other day Jim and I went to San Francisco and took some pictures of the ocean behind The Cliff House. I picked this one to remind me of Jean. They are truly people of the sea, living just a few blocks from it all these years...commercial fishing, cooking delectable salmon like no one else and surrounding themselves with artifacts of the ocean, sea foam blue and green, shells, etc.

That day at Land's End there was something so special and beautiful about the multicolored water, the white caps and foam, the wind. We have never seen it looking so picturesque or gorgeous, we had a hard time tearing ourselves away.

When someone we love dies...we don't have to tear ourselves away...they are always with us. We look forward to a reunion with Aunt Jean one day and for now are thankful she is resting in peace. This picture will always remind me of Aunt Jean and Uncle Tom and the exemplary life they have lived in their lovely home by the sea. What a privilege to be a part of their lives and their family.

This song was sung for Jean by their good friend, Greg. It was touching and beautiful.


Tina said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. This is such a beautiful tribute to her. Your words are so kind and sweet. She sounds like a person I'd love to have known. May her memories stay forever close to your heart.

Marie said...

Beautiful tribute Bonnie. It's so hard to say goodbye to those that we love isn't it. Thank goodness for the Gospel which teaches us that there is so much more waiting for us on the other side and that we can be together again. ((((hugs))))

LA Adams said...

Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal. ~From a headstone in Ireland

While we are mourning the loss of our friend, others are rejoicing to meet him behind the veil. ~John Taylor

Though nothing can bring back the hour of splendor in the grass, of glory in the flower, We will grieve not, rather find strength in what remains behind. -William Wordsworth

Nellie's Cozy place said...

Hi Bonnie,
Sorry it has taken me so long to get back to you, it has been a very long and draining week, altho the latter part of the week was much better than the first part. Dee is doing much better, and went home on Saturday.
The Lord has and continues to be at work in the situation, and we truly feel this was all allowed by his loving hands.

So sorry to hear you lost your Aunt Jean, she sounds like such a loving, caring and vibrant lady, and I can tell you loved her very much. She is also very pretty, and
Erin looks so much like her!! Erin is a knock out!!

That song Jean was perfect, I can imagine their was not a dry eye in the house after that! I have always loved that song but haven't heard it in years. I pictured the Lord singing that to her.

When people are so amazingly wonderful it is hard to understand why the Lord takes them from our view of things, cause I often think Lord, we need tons more people like them.........don't take them home.

But as I struggled with one such situation years ago the Lord gave me the neatest scripture in Isaiah
57:1 - "The righteous perish, and no one ponders it in his heart; devout men are taken away, and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil." That sure helped my view of things in a big way!

Anyway, I pray that you and your family will enjoy the precious memories you have of her, and that they will be a tremendous comfort to you all.... during this time of bereavement.

Life is not devoid of difficulties,
that is for sure..........
but Life is good, if God is at the helm. Praying for your brother Steve as well, and thankful his first treatments went well hon.

Have missed you as well.
Love and Blessings, Nellie

{Bellamere Cottage} said...

I'm so sorry about the loss of your Jean.... You loved her so....she MUST have been one special woman... I'm sending you big hugs...


Sister Susie said...

Jean now "...knows this love (of GOD) that surpasses knowledge..." Eph. 3:19! "To be absent from the body, is to be present with the LORD!" II Cor 5:8. The JOY she now is involved with is what every Christian hopes for in Christ Jesus!

The pain of separation is for awhile, but then "JOY COMES IN THE MORNING" when we shall see them again! Praise our Holy GOD!

The LORD Bless you in this time.
Love to you and yours,