{Doll beds at Uncle Jack's house}

Thursday, July 12, 2012

We would always pull in late. Bedtime. & after sitting in the car for nearly 12 hours we were relieved to pull up the house. the windows lit with golden light. They would wait up for us. Aunt Mary Jo had this warm spirit to her. She would embrace us and tell us how much she loved us. I love you was a salutation rather than a goodbye. My Uncle jack was no different. He was smiley & kind natured. I could see family resemblance easily in my mother (his niece) & my uncle Jack. Brad & I would be welcomed into a study of sorts, converted to guest quarters. Always made especially homey for sleepy children. I had a habit of totting a doll with me. Maybe it was Kirsten, maybe Molly, but most likely samantha. My aunt would never neglect making up a special bed for my companion. A pillow and a folded down pillowcase did the trick nicely. My dolls always slept their best at Aunt Mary Jo & Uncle Jacks. We would wake & visit the day away. Ordering chinese take out was looked forward to. I remember feeling such a strong connection to my great aunt & uncle who loved in Maryland. My brother & I looked forward to their visits & our drive through stops to visit them. It was an extra treat when our cousin Brian was home visiting them. I looked up to him. Idolized him really. He was so dedicated to his faith as a catholic. He was not just dedicated but deeply educated. I could see the intelligence swarming around him. as a pre teen I thought "yeah. I am going to be like Brian. Smart & know my faith. studious!" My Aunt & Uncle were there for the big days that counted. Supportive & involved. When I was a teen I was confirmed into the catholic church. a very special moment in a youths life. I wore a dress with yellow flowers on it & walked up the hill to the romantic looking church we attended. Behind me walked my parents, brother & Aunt Mary Jo & Uncle Jack. Smiling & so proud of me. I couldn't help but beam with them. Their excitement & love was genuinely contagious.  I loved hearing their love story & I loved hearing my Aunt Mary Jo & Uncle Jack's voice on speaker in our home. I hear them now. Maybe its the love & admiration my Mother had for her uncle & aunt that made it so easy to fall in love with them, but I like to think they are simply the type of people who draw you in, you want to listen to them & feel their energy.  My cousin was married to a beautiful blonde girl named Zoe and again I thought..."yes, I want to be like Brian! & Zoe for that matter." Writers & intellectuals. their guests were active catholics with passion for increase in knowledge. I thirsted for those things. A special gift was given to my Uncle on the evening before Brian & Zoe's enchanting marriage. I watched carefully the way the Saint-Pauls loved one another. A true example to me in my youth. Marriages are up & down, but you stick it out & you work hard & mostly you love one another.  That gift i imagine was so touching & I remember the look in Uncle Jack's eyes.  well wouldn't you know it...a few years later I was wed & all those years of wanting to be like Brian pretty much was displayed at my reception. I all but copied his & Zoe's reception. the music, the venue, the photographer, just about everything. How he & his bride felt, I do not know. Imitation is the purest form of flattery is it not? Lets hope so. Having the Saint-Pauls at our reception warmed my heart. I always fretted that when I joined another church they would see me foolish, or would loose their pride in me. I longed for Aunt Mary Jo & Uncle jack to be proud of me. & on my wedding day I felt no judgement nor did I feel as if I had disappointed my beloved great aunt & uncle. No, rather I felt embraced more than I ever had. I do not see them often, but the thought of them is always near. 

My mother called & informed me that Uncle jack had passed. He had been ill for sometime & I am certain he was ready for peace. My childhood memories flooded back & I smiled. My life was enriched because My aunt Mary Jo & Uncle Jack were invested in our family. I love them. In an email I received today from my parents were attachments. Pictures of these lovely people.  As you can see by the picture of that chubby curly haired babe, they have been in my life from year one.  


allegra said...

I'm so sorry Jenni. Death is never easy. Hang in there! What a lovely tribute to them though. Very sweet and sincere. I loved learning that you were Catholic. So cool! I love that. And I love that you mentioned Kirsten and Samantha. Oh, the memories. I was a Kirsten girl. My sis loved Samantha.

I hope you find some peace despite this hard trial. You're in my thoughts and prayers. On a lighter note, you were a REALLY cute baby!

Zoe said...

What a touching tribute to my wonderful in-laws! (And husband.) All of whom are extremely proud of you -- and always will be.

We were flattered you chose so many of the same things for your own wedding reception! It was such a special treat for us because not only was your reception beautiful (with the weather I had dreamed of but didn't get!), we were able to experience so many of the things that went by in a blur at our own reception. So it was a bit like enjoying our own wedding again, but this time as a guest -- it was AWESOME! We knew we were witnessing a great union and there is always so much joy in that!

Meghann said...

What a wonderful post and tribute to your aunt and uncle! They sound like lovely people and a great example for you!

Kalen said...

I didn't know Uncle Jack, but this brought tears to my eyes! <3

Kim-the-girl said...

Death is never easy, but the gospel peace is such a gift. This is a great tribute post.

Mary Jo said...

Oh, Jenni, thank you for the very beautiful tribute to your Uncle Jack, Brian and me. Jack is smiling down from heaven as he reads your sweet words and memories. I, too, am smiling, but through tears of happiness as I relive your memories.

Uncle Jack suffered bravely throughout his illness, but he was surrounded by Brian, Zoe and me as he left this world for the peace and joy of heaven. (We prayed with him, told him that we loved him, and to not be afraid -- to go to Jesus.) No more suffering, no more worrying. Of course, I miss him and will always, but I sense his presence at all times, and that comforts me. Knowing he is finally at peace, fills my heart with a sense of peace too. Fortunately, I have a wonderful support system with my family, my neighbors, and most of all my parish family at St. Timothy Catholic Church. They have and are lifting me up in prayer and support. I have no fear when I continue on my journey through grief, for I am not alone.

Jenni, you are so right that marriages go up and down, as did ours. But, the most important thing is to LOVE one another and to work to save one's marriage. I thank God that Jack and I stuck together in the rough times, and that we had 43 years together. Everyone wins! God bless you and your family.
Love Aunt Mary Jo

Proudly designed by Mlekoshi playground