Neither of these amazing women was a close part of my daily life in the past while but both had great impact and are sadly missed.
Marj, mother, grandmother, wife, daughter, sister, aunt and friend to so, so many. Always happy to have a baby on one hip and camera on the other. The survivor who taught us how to grieve. Her beloved family left to muddle their way through the dark days, again, but without their matriarch and cornerstone. Her kids had the most amazing tribute at her funeral. She and Jim done good and they have all chosen wisdom over bitterness. It is inspiring and heartbreaking.
My dear children are used to a quiet life, as most of the people around them are somewhat introverted. They were never quite sure what to make of it when they heard Marj was coming to town. I remember how she howled when she saw us dutifully strapping our firstborn daughter into a highchair that was nearly impossible to fall out of in the first place. Several of Ivy's first foods came courtesy of Marj when mama wasn't looking. She teased them with great glee and once actually had them believing a black feather boa was a severed cat's tail. By the time the kids got a bit older they caught on to her games and they had a rousing round of "space garbage" going on one of her last visits. It involved kids getting stuffed into a toy bin of some sort with lots of shrieking. She and Ezra understood each other right from the start.
And then so shortly after, Gayle left this world. We lost a beautiful, courageous, quirky woman who was a powerful, fiercely protective mother to her 8 year old son, Spencer. She was sick for less than two years. It probably felt like an eternity of treatment, hospitals and pain for her but still, so short. So young. One of her later facebook status updates was this:
clearing my schedule left right and center. simplifying. sticking to the essentials. remembering to dispense tickles, hugs and kisses.
She knew where her priorities lay, and the closer she got to the end, the more she stuck with it. Gayle had a clear sense of how she wanted to spend her very precious days and I admire her all the more for it.
I will never forget when Spencer was pre-school age and it was common to see Gayle sitting patiently with him on a bench at a busy 4-way stop, checking out cars. He could name nearly every one. She took the time to do what he wanted and I suspect she put in more hours of lego in the last few years than most of us combined.
Two amazing, strong women. Gone. I have so much to be thankful for, and to go and do. May I always remember to play, take time for friends and focus on what is really important.
I raise my glass (preferably Blasted Church Pinot Gris)to Gayle and to Marj. They are loved and sorely missed.