Five years ago today I wrote the following post on the 25th anniversary of my sister Jean’s death, July 19, 2010. Today now marks 30 years since she’s been gone. I miss her every day…we all do, my parents, my sisters Joan and Jo, her daughter Amy and other family members. Thankful one day there will be a reunion the likes of which I can’t even imagine!
I am the oldest of four girls all named by our parents with “P.J.” inititals, Pamela Jan, Phyllis Jean, Patricia Joan, Peggy Jo; all called by our middle names. This picture was taken back in 1981 as we celebrated our parents’ 25th wedding anniversary. (We are standing in birth order, with me on the far left.)
This past January 18th would have been Jean’s 50th birthday if she had lived. But God had other plans, and my sister died on July 19, 1985, 25 years ago. She was only 25 years old when a tragic car accident took her life instantly. She’s been gone for as long as she lived. Some days it seems like only yesterday…and other days I mourn every one of those 25 years.
I have scanned in some photos from our early years. Every memory I have of my childhood includes my sister Jean as we were so close in age. This could well be one of our first photos together. I was 2 years, 2 months and 2 days old when she was born in January of 1960.
Even though I am older, she was often my defender in squabbles.
A few months ago when the thought resonated in my heart that Jean had been gone as long as she had lived, I asked my mom if us girls could spend the day togther to remember Jean and celebrate her life. So that is what we did this past July 19th. My sisters and our mom went to the cemetery and put flowers on Jean’s grave.
There is a quote that Jean always loved, so her sweet husband had it carved into her beautiful pink granite tombstone at the bottom. It says:
It was extremely hot that day, and we didn’t tarry too long. But we did what we came for. We talked about how much we miss Jean, and we shed some tears. We visited our paternal grandparents’ and great-grandparents’ graves, and many of my Dad’s siblings’ graves too. After we left the cemetery, we had lunch together and did a little shopping. It was good to just be together. We wanted to remember her, but not to mourn as those who have no hope! Jean had a little girl, our sweet niece Amy, who was not quite two years old when her momma died. I texted Amy and told her what we were doing, and she was so glad. She lives out of state or she would have joined us. She is so much like her momma. It is absolutely uncanny when I watch Amy and see Jean’s hand motions and facial expressions. She did not get the privilege to raise her girl, but she lives on in her every day. Amy is so beautiful.