I could not bring myself to turn around.

I don’t know why.

She was there.

She was there for me.

She was there for us.

Janine.  My colleague, my friend, my angel.

I was at school on Friday, preparing for the up-coming school year and I heard her voice – her laughter – in the front office.

Janine.  So happy.  So loving.

I just couldn’t turn around.  There was too much to say to her that could not be said in the hustle and bustle of that place.

She supported me throughout the entire decline of both Mom and Dad.  “Stacey, if your father wants to eat his meat in whole pieces because he enjoys the texture – it is not up to you to tell him otherwise.”

Another tidbit of wisdom, “Stacey your parents have been making decisions about their lives long before you came along – it is not up to you to take over their decisions now.”.

Janine gave me back my childhood.  Thanks to her I became a daughter again.

And I remained a daughter throughout the entire two days of Dad’s final moments.

Thanks to Janine, my Dad had wonderful quality of life and wonderful quality of death (if that’s possible?).

Janine guided me throughout Dad’s final journey.

She gave me books, she gave me her shoulder to cry on, she told me how strong I really could be. “You can do this, Stacey.”, she said.   She checked Dad’s breathing, she affirmed how to speak to him as though he were still with us, she told me to keep him posted about the time of day – even when he didn’t open his eyes anymore. “Your Dad will still worry that you have not had dinner, so tell him it is dinner time and you are going to go and eat.”  Wise.  “Tell your Dad it’s morning and describe what a beautiful day it is – open the blinds.”  Wise.

Janine helped us to “live” though this journey – and helped my Dad to “live” until his final breath.

How do I say, “thank-you”? to a woman like this whose gift was far greater than any gift I could have asked for?

If you are reading this, Janine, I wish you peace.  You were a gift to my family and I – and I know you continue to be a gift to all of your students too.

To you, Janine, my colleague, my friend, my angel… I toast you, “Sante”.


Dad:  You done good, kid.  Thanks for looking over my family.  In turn, I’m looking over you!  TTFN


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11 thoughts on “Janine

  1. To be so overwhelmed with love, gratitude and appreciation for someone that you couldn’t look at her? I think I TOTALLY get that. No matter what is in the voice and the words you shared, it couldn’t possibly have compared to how you felt. I have yet to find words that match my deepest feelings. I think you did a fabulous job here. I hope she reads it. 🙂

    • She did read it – and if you read her response you’ll know what I mean about her being an angel. She is relentless – I am now tasked with sharing what I know with someone else at work – and delighted to do so – Janine’s legacy.

      And thanks for the kudos – wish I could inject a little more “lightness” into my posts sometimes. I ENJOY reading yours for relief from the depth.


  2. You are truly blessed to have Janine in your life. And – you must be beyond wonderful too to be blessed with an angel on earth.

  3. Janine

    Thank you Stacey
    You looked so busy on Friday that I thought ….I will catch you next week and see how your summer went . I know it was a difficult one. Thank you for the tribute and yes it will be a different year this year it always is when you lose a parent.

    The journey begins for another at the BLC so share your wisdom with her. Your way, might not be the right way for her circumstances, be open minded to the choices she will make. She will need support.

    You are a great daughter. I only pray that when my time comes, my Carmen will be as willing to sacrifice as you have. You may not think it is a sacrifice, but a blessing, however there were sacrifices that you and your family made. You have no regrets on the way your parents lived their lives. Thank you for your friendship and the privilege of helping you through this page in your history book.

    Love to you All Janine XO

    May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you. May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.

    • Yes – I absolutely will share what I know – as you know .. I can’t shut up about a good thing when I have it, Janine.

      It was a balancing act for sure – full-time job, full-time mom, full-time wife and then running two house-holds paying bills, shopping… but youa re also right – I have no regrets. Fortunately my family was of the same mind re the importance of supporting aging parents and they weren’t afraid of Dad dying either.

      God bless, you.

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