Matt's Mom, Jan, passed away on the 10th of March. I have been putting off this post for a few reasons, but one of them being that I feel different about the loss everyday. Together Matt and I have experienced denial, anger, sorrow, frustration and acceptance. All normal emotions when dealing with death, but still very hard.
On Wednesday March 7th, we had an amazing visit with Jan at the hospital. She was awake, in good spirits and excited to see us. Sam gave Grandma a Dora sticker and told her all about his day. He gave her a kiss goodbye, and we left not realizing that this was going to be the last time we saw her.
It was perfect.
Jan slipped into a coma the next day and Matt, Shauna and Ben were by her side when she took her last breath.
We are all so thankful to have been able to spend so much time with Jan. We miss her a lot, but we live without any regrets.
Matt, Shauna and I were able to pay tribute to Jan at her funeral on Saturday. It was a beautiful service.
Matt gave a great eulogy while Shauna and I spoke about memories we had of Jan and lessons we learned from her.
(After the funeral. How handsome are these boys?!)
I started dating Matthew in 2005 and I remember him being extremely nervous about me meeting his parents. On our way over for dinner for the first time, Matt said something around the lines of “If my Mom doesn’t like you, you’ll know it.”
Not long after meeting her, I realized that this honesty went both ways.
If Jan loved you, you’d know it.
She gave everything to her family and friends. Sacrifice and charity were two things that she gave willingly and freely. Her entire life was spent serving and loving others. Her own dogs, and I believe she had a total of 9 of them at one point, were spoiled and loved to the point of obsession. I wouldn’t be surprised if Matt and Shauna have a deep seeded jealousy for the pups.
Jan had such a passion when it came to caring for others, that she made a career out of it. When she wasn’t at home taking care of her family, she was at the hospital treating strangers and employees with the same love and respect.
On top of being the most charitable person I know, Jan was bright and quick witted. She loved to tell stories and jokes and enjoyed (without any discomfort) being the center of attention. She had no problem sharing embarrassing stories of herself if she thought it would get a good laugh. Like the time that she drove away from the gas station with the nozzle still attached to the car or when she would sing the Sir Mix A Lot song wrong. “I like big butts, and I like big butts.”
One thing I know I will always remember and sincerely miss is her laugh.
Jan was one tough lady. She never allowed anyone to bully her, take advantage of her or push her around. She told me once that there were a few doctors who she worked with that hated her because she would require them to say “please” and “Thank you” when they ordered her to do a task.
Her stubbornness and hard-headed nature kept her strong willed and driven. She was successful in all areas in her life because she made a decision to do something, and did it. She never gave up and only tried harder when people believed she would fail. She took a lot of pride in proving naysayers wrong.
When she was diagnosed with cancer, a friend of Ben and Jan’s told them that he believed that if anyone could beat cancer, it was Jan. And that she would beat it black and blue.
Throughout her fight with the disease she stayed positive, upbeat and strong. She continued to be selfless and was more concerned about how her illness was affecting others.
During the last week of her life, when her mind and body could handle the pain no more, her heart continued to beat. A nurse mentioned to Matt that even when her body had begun giving up, Jan’s heart was too strong for her to go.
Jan’s loving heart continued days after her body succumbed to the cancer. How perfect for someone who’s strong heart symbolized the way they led their life.
Her example will forever shape how I live my everyday life. I owe her more than I will ever be able to repay. I hope that I will be an equally incredible example to my Son in order for him to have an idea of who his grandmother was.
The bar is set high, but I have steps laid out for me to follow, thanks to my mother-in-law, Jan.
I have so much more to say, but there are plenty more posts for that. Right now we are focused on getting life back in order, spending time with our family and doing our best to do what we think would make Jan proud.