Tuesday, January 19, 2010

With much love, Aunt Jan

Today my mother's older sister, my aunt Jan, passed away. She had been in the hospital since December because her lungs had collapsed. Although they were able to get oxygen in, she was unable to let the carbon-dioxide out. Since I've known her, she has been in a wheel chair. Crippled from polio when she was very young. We are so sad to have her gone, but know she is in a better place...walking. I like to think about how she is reunited with my Grandpa, her father, and her brother Ken, as well as all the other members of the family who have passed before her.

After crying on the phone with my mother, I realized I have never lost a sibling. I cannot imagine how difficult that loss must feel. My mother's tears broke my heart even more--she had a trip planned the first of February, so she could go see her--she wanted so badly to see her one last time. I remember my mother telling me stories of Jan, and what a wonderful sister she was. She always made my mother feel special, and took so much with her. I have never known Jan to be anything but Jolly, always laughing and making others smile. She was as sweet and as pure as they come, and is missed by many.

Her family (children) have a blog about her, keeping the rest of us updated through her hospitalization etc. I am sure they will be posting more about her passing soon.
click here: Jan's Blog

My mother sent us kids this email, I thought it was sweet so I wanted to share it:
Just before Christmas, she was hospitalized with collapsed lungs. When Jan had polio when she was sixteen, she was kept alive by an iron lung for a few weeks. And in the end, it was her lungs that gave out. They were able to partially inflate them again and she was able to spend Christmas at home with her family. She has been very weak and was on oxygen. However, because of how weak she was she couldn't expel the carbon dioxide very well. She has been slowly going downhill but I was hopeful that I would get to see her when we go to Arizona in Feb. She opened her eyes yesterday, and looked at a decorative birdcage that she had in her room and told Maureen she felt like a caged bird and she was ready to fly!! Well Jan--fly away!! Go see your two young sons you lost so many years ago! Feel free to run and hug our father and our brother Ken--what a sweet reunion! I have to thank her for helping to make me who I am. Her example--her cheerfulness in spite of her handicap--her strength to raise seven children and do all she did! I spent many days of my early years--elementary and junior high--helping her every day after school. I wish I could say I never complained or felt picked on. But what she taught me and showed me is part of me and I love her for that! It is often in the fiery furnace of difficulty and trial that we become our best selves. I can truthfully say my fiery furnaces don't seem to compare to hers, but she has helped me face mine by her example. I love her dearly and will miss her. She seemed like my mom--always pulling through some tough thing or another and bouncing back! Thank goodness she gets to rest and doesn't have to be the shining example constantly! For those who may not have felt close, please know she was and still is, the most amazing person!

I am sad I am not at my mom's, I'd scan some of her old photos. I wish I had more to show you.

Jan beat all the odds. She had polio @ 16 years old & was told many times she wouldn't make it another year, another month..She was also told she would never have children. She is a mother of 7. A daughter, sister, mother, aunt, and grandmother.

She was 73.
Death is the starlit strip between the companionship of yesterday and the reunion of tomorrow
-Mark Twain


The Alvords said...

This breaks my heart! I am so sad for your sweet mom. I can not imagine the pain she must be feeling. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

Claire said...

Oh, Mari. I'm thinking of and praying for you and your family. Your aunt's story is inspiring. Thanks for sharing it.

The Queen said...

What a nice tribute. Hugs to you and your family.

Spiker said...

Sounds like your family was lucky to have her and will miss her terribly. I always think of the reunion in heaven too. It makes me feel so much better!