Sunday, April 15, 2007

Remembering Jeanne

Tonight, I wrote about Charlie's mom.

It was a beautiful post that I cried most of the way through. But just as I was about to save it - my laptop crashed and the entire post vanished. It is now late, my laptop has been catapulted in to the trash thoroughly chastised, I am working off our desktop computer - and there is no way I can recreate my words.

But I also cannot let this day pass, without remembering Charlie's mom, Jeanne.

It was 15-years ago, today, that Jeanne died. It is amazing that it has been 15 years. In so many ways, it seems like an eternity ago - and yet, it seems like just yesterday.

Charlie and I had only been dating for a short time when I learned about his mother's terminal illness, due to an inoperable brain tumor. Jeanne was given a year to live and although it was a very sad year, it was also extremely beautiful that everyone who knew her, had an opportunity to say goodbye.

During that last year of her life, Charlie and his mother would take walks on the beach, hold hands, and tell one another how much they loved each other. Jeanne told Charlie that the hardest part about her dying, was that she would not see the person that he would become.

I know that not a day goes by that Charlie doesn't think about his mom. I know that he wishes she could have seen him graduate with his bachelor and master degrees, attend our wedding and visit our home. But most importantly, I know that he wishes, more than the world, that his mother could have met our children.

Although Jeanne is no longer with us in body, her spirit lives on. Her artistic creations, in the form of blankets and sweaters that she lovingly knit and crocheted are in our home, as are her poetry and handwritten recipes. Charlie keeps his mom's memory alive by keeping up traditions they had when he was young, and he shares stories about the things they did together when he was a teenager ... how she would take him grocery shopping and buy all the best stuff and how all of his friends adored her.

When Charlie's three best friends flew in to attend his mother's funeral and I still hear them talk about her, to this day, it reinforces just how awesome this woman was.

This morning, I was surprised to read the message in Our Daily Bread because the passage was identical to the question I was pondering, myself. A young man is trying to understand why his mother must undergo brain surgery and asks the age old question "Why must bad things happen to good people?"

The response, is "Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?" —Job 2:10

It's difficult that adversity can be so blazingly painful. Even after 15 years.

Tonight, I'm thankful that albeit brief, I had an opportunity to meet the woman who brought my husband in to this world and who is the namesake of our daughter, Elizabeth Jeanne. I am thankful that she raised four of the most wonderful, caring, conscientious people I've ever known. And I'm thankful that I have one more, gracious and dignified woman, as an influential role model in my own life.

I am absolutely certain that Jeanne would be extremely proud of the man her youngest son, has become.

He's certainly the most amazing man I've ever met.


  1. Emma @ Amsterdam4/16/07, 3:47 AM

    You made me cry none the less. I've only known my father in law for a year. He passed away before he could see his only daughter get married and see how his two sons changed from wild students to the nice men they are today. And it makes me cry even more to know that he'll never his grandchildren, this man that was so kind to everyone. You mentioning your husbands traditions/rituals reminds me to enforce some of our own when we - hopefully - have children one day. Thank you for that!

  2. Good Job in paying tribute to Charlie's Mom. She certainly raised a caring, loving family.
    In addition they are all good cooks
    and indeed her spirit does live on in them. They have a lot of class and that shines in the Lawrence family.

  3. That is so beautiful, Jenna! Thanks for making me cry once again!

  4. Beautiful post! I have no doubt that Jeanne would be very proud not only of her son, but of her daughter-in-law.

  5. no child should lose a mother.
    This was a lovely tribute.

    She would have adored her grandbabies and been so proud of the way you and Charlie are parenting them.

  6. Beautiful, beautiful words. She sounds like a lovely woman and mother.

  7. MichelleinOR4/16/07, 5:25 PM

    That was really, really nice. She would have been SO proud of you too.

    I LOVE that last picture. It is just stunning. I love pictures of mothers holding their babies. So, while I can't stand the way I look in photos, I suck it up because I know they'll be meaningful to my family one day.

  8. Thank you, Jenna:

    I truly appreciate the beautiful words you used to describe my Mom. Being the eldest child in the family, I remember when that picture was taken, shortly after Charlie was born! I also remember that she was thrilled to be pregnant with Charlie, and she radiated happiness the entire time.

    Her talents in art, cooking, sewing, (in fact, all kinds of needlework!)gardening, decorating, conversation, etc. are memorable. Above all, however, she loved being a mom.

    Thanks again for your moving tribute. Love, Susan

  9. Tears are streaming down my face. She seems like such a very special woman. I know she is looking down on your little toddlers and baby to be daily. She isn't missing a thing!

  10. That was beautiful! I'm sure that she has a front row seat in watching you and Charlie raise your children. Sounds like she did such a wonderful job raising her children...truly a role model for us all.

    Beautiful writing again.