Hi everyone, I hope you are all doing well. This past week was a very difficult one. My son and my Dad were very sick but worst of all Thursday we lost a very special person. Duane’s aunt Jackie passed away. It is a devastating loss to her family and friends and I felt it was important to dedicate this week to her. She was such a special person and what I remember about her most is her fun, youthful personality. She lived in South Africa but came to visit us here twice; the most recent being 2010 for our wedding. When she was here, she joked around with us about going on a “jol”, which is a South African slang term for party or to have fun. The whole time she was here it felt like a permanent jol. She was so full of fun. When she found out Duane and I were expecting a baby in 2012, she was so excited. She texted me all the time asking how I was and asking me to send her photos of my growing belly. Though she never got to meet Dylan in person, she would always comment on his photos we posted on Facebook. She was a proud great Aunty.
She was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis a few years ago and had been suffering in pain especially during the past year. She passed away of a heart attack at home, two days after her 50th birthday. Though I feel she should have been given the gift of much more life, I try to take comfort in knowing she no longer is in pain and has been reunited with her parents whom she loved very much. There, she is safe with them.
I believe strongly that there is life after death and our loved ones souls stay connected to us, but I find the physical loss difficult to accept at times. I cling to photographs of happy times and play the memories over in my mind like a movie. The distance between Canada and South Africa is vast, but the distance between Earth and Heaven can feel immense sometimes. It can get lonely in sad times when we wish we could turn to those loved ones for comfort.
Losing someone reminds me that I have the gift of today but possibly not tomorrow, and I want to take the opportunity each day to be present within the moments I am given: to really feel the rain on my skin or the sun on my face; to listen to the wind rustling the leaves of my maple tree in my backyard; to hear the sound of my son’s heartbeat as I lay my head next to him; or to accept the warmth Duane’s hand gives to mine when we hold each other. Life is beautiful when we are able to embrace every day here with the people we love.
For me, the best way to honour those special people I have lost is to embrace everything this life has to offer. I am guilty of putting off things until tomorrow or the next day and still never getting to them. Since the beginning of this year, I have been making a point to do more of the things I love and obsessing less about the crappy things like cleaning, but now I want to make even more time do the things that make me happy.
To Jackie, the world has lost a beautiful person, but heaven has gained an amazing soul. You filled the lives of the people around you with love and laughter. What better gift could you have left us with than wonderful memories of the times we share together and the reminder to hold those we love a little closer and to love them a little harder. Thank you. Until we jol again some day…