Tomorrow is the second Celebration of Life for Jean and I am excited and sad at the same time. The excitement to see so many people that Jean and I have known and loved for our lives together is bittersweet. One of the many things about this loss is that it is clear that she had such an impact on so many lives. A lesson I had to learn early in this sad adventure is that I am not the only one mourning her loss. Remembering this is helpful when people say things that I may wish they had not said. People need to know what happened and want to express their feelings and that’s OK. I just have to get used to getting emotional in front of others.
The children thought it would be a good idea to have a table at the celebrations that was set for Jean with items that would remind us all of her. There are some obvious items like Pepsi and Frangelico but the different venues and different crowds make for different items. In Summerville, because Jean was in the play with the Cane Bay Players, items from the play were helpful. Planning for the celebration at Ft. Belvoir is a different story. Although I do not know exactly how many people will be there, I know that we will have people from all parts of her life, my life, and the lives of the children.
One thing that Jean was most proud of was her service as an Army Arlington Lady. Representing the Chief of Staff U.S. Army at Arlington National Cemetery at the funerals of soldiers was a difficult and loving chore that she preformed for strangers once a month for several years. We will have her Arlington Ladies pin displayed. She was the Civilian Volunteer of the year in 1986 at Ft. Richardson, Alaska. Another recognition of the giving person she was and the impact she had on many lives.
We will try to have a few other items at the table to make people smile and stimulate a story of two. I am looking forward to seeing everyone and hoping I can hold it together emotionally for the 3+ hours.