When someone passes on and leaves this earth… are they really gone?  It is true that people who no longer breathe air in are in essence ‘gone’ yet, are they really? If you remember their laugh, how they made you feel, what they said and the way they were on Earth… are they really gone?  I say NO!  As I venture up north to say a final farewell to my Aunt Jackie, I think about the many things she has brought to my life and that of others.  Jackie was a strong woman with a tenacious personality and she had a heart the size of Texas!  Jackie loved our Service Members and I happen to know that Marines were her favorite; however, she appreciated all who raised their hand for the greater good of mankind.  Jackie left this earthly world on Wednesday… her long battle with just about everything never kept her down nor did it keep her from truly being herself.

Going to Canada has always been a favorite thing to do; however, as we neared the lodge the excitement was different… it was still great to see my Cousin, Uncle and other family members; however, at the same time one of the most integral people was not going to be there…

As we pulled in some family had already arrived and it was great to see them, yet, the reason for this reunion is a difficult one.

As we begin to go through the various stages of loss…we are also compelled to continue on as there are things to do… people to talk with and memories to re-tell. My Aunt Jackie was an incredible woman and she played a very pivotal part in my life… she was there, when I was at one of my lowest points and instead of giving me lectures, she just talked with me…. like an adult.  I spent my Senior Year Summer with her, when I was an out of sorts rebel…. we smoked cigarettes, talked and I learned so very much without getting a lecture.  My Aunt Jackie has a large family and an even larger network of friends… she has an incredible outlook, a beautiful smile and she is truly someone to be remembered.

I will miss My Aunt Jackie a great deal; however, I will never forget how important she is.  Although it hurts to never have another conversation… and that I will never get to feel her warm embrace.. in my mind, she has not necessarily left… because I remember her as plain as day and for me that is good enough!

Wishing you peace, love and beauty, Jackie.. because that is what you’ve already given me!