It’s been a while since I’ve written.Thanksgiving to be exact. So much has happened that was blog-worthy but the reality is sometimes it’s more important to live life instead of write about it.
December 2nd was the book launch party for “Must Love Shoes-2”. The night before the launch, one of my favorite aunts passed away. I’m from a very large extended family and there are many women whom I call Aunt, but Aunt Jeannette was probably the one I most aspired to be like.
Jeannette was a woman with many talents and gifts. She was a writer, painter, geneologist, musician, quilter, traveler, and a strong woman of faith. As the quote suggests, she truly used everything she was given.
I grew up in rural Frederick County in a very traditional household. Aunt Jeannette never married and lived in Falls Church, VA for most of her adult life. She dedicated her career as head RN in the anesthesiology department at George Washington University Hospital in DC. As a young girl who looked up to her, she seemed so “cosmopolitan” to me as I had never been to “the big city” of suburban DC. Undoubtably, she was the closest feminist role model I had during my formative years. She was not one to focus or obsess about outward appearances, rather emphasized the importance of education, accomplishment, and strong Christian values.
Jeannette was one of the nurses who served on President Ronald Reagan’s surgical team the day he was shot in 1981. She won many awards and accolades during her medical career but much of it I never knew until her funeral because she was not one to boast about her accomplishments. She was one of the most humble and unassuming people I’d ever met.
Whenever our extended family gathered, she always turned her attention on others. She would mention seeing my picture in the paper, being certain to comment that she saved it for the “family scrapbook.” She always inquired about my school, work, family and showed such genuine pride for every accomplishment I experienced in my life.
My friend recently commented how interesting she found it that at my book launch party, the night after Jeannette’s death, our family seemed to be at such peace with her passing. As I reflected on her observation the reason seemed so obvious to me.
She passed away peacefully at the age of 80, surrounded by family and so many who loved her.
She knew exactly where she was going.
She used everything God gave her.
I hope I’m that lucky some day.
I’ll miss you, Jeannette.
Until we meet on that beautiful shore,