It is hard to believe that a year has passed since I last saw Jaime. It’s been a year since I said for the last time to her, “I love you. I’ll see you later,” kissed her head and walked away from her peaceful room at the hospice. If you have been keeping up with the blog or my sharing of pictures on Facebook, you will know that so much has happened since that late evening on December 6, 2012. A lot of “living” and transitions have happened in our life. And you know, it’s because of all that has happened since then, that I choose not to focus on death today…or any day, for that matter. Instead, I want to celebrate life and all that remains.
I find myself writing this entry, seated in the same chair I slept in the night I returned home, following Jaime’s death. My tears tonight are far from the tears I shed a year ago. I still miss Jaime. But the tears I shed in the early morning hours of December 7th were bitter, as the reality of my loss sunk in. Tonight, as I write this, my tears are of loss, but more so in awe of all that has happened in the span of a year. Then, I didn’t even know of the “bend in the road” I would soon travel – the road that would take us from trust and dependency to putting those words and beliefs into practice. Tonight I sit in Pittsburgh, still painfully aware of the loss, but even more aware of the beauty and joys of life. Not too long ago, families were expected to mourn for specified periods of time. Their homes were draped in black and they wore clothing so that everyone knew they had experienced loss. Our journey was, and has been so different. Even when Jaime was so sick and, in private, shared her strong beliefs, that her time was short, our home was draped in hope and in the overwhelming display that we were not forgotten or forsaken. And that reminds me that so many of you wore pink to Jaime’s memorial service. I know that she was smiling at the sight of all of you and the beauty of the hope found in that special evening of remembrance. While we collectively gathered to mourn our loss, we blatantly celebrated Jaime’s life…with just the right dash of pink!
So, as I thought long and hard about how Fee and I would remember today, I first considered taking off work and just spending the day at home. I quickly abandoned that idea because I didn’t see how sitting in silence or in pain was the best way to honor Jaime’s life. I then thought about Jaime – who she was and how much she embraced life. Except for the dishes, Jaime found joy in everything she did. And so, I began to think about focusing on life as opposed to setting aside the day to focus on her death. Today, Felicity and I will have a Hawaiian celebration in honor of Jaime’s life. As many of you know, she loved the beach, the sun, and always wanted to live somewhere tropical. No doubt, when Jaime stepped into the beauty of heaven she realized her standards were a bit low! I purposely have not finished decorating the Christmas tree so that Fee and I could hang ornaments and the star on the day we set aside to celebrate the life of Jaime. Jaime loved Christmas and I thought that by decorating the tree today, we will in a very small way honor her and it will be extra special. I know that so many of you will think about Jaime today. Perhaps you don’t feel like celebrating and that’s ok. Our celebration is not about the loss, but rather about Jaime’s life and her love and the way that she was able to use both, in such a short time, to impact so many. My heart is full knowing that Jaime was loved by so many. I pray that God provides the specific comfort you need as you remember and miss the amazing woman, friend, colleague, daughter, sister, wife, mother, and beautiful, sparkly person that she was and will always be. Now, her life is eternal and ours continues until we have the opportunity to visit with Jaime again. Today, we miss all that we have lost, but we continue to love the life we have left – just like she told us and showed us how to.