I want to tell you a story that spans 4 generations. The story of a simple lady who just loved God and loved her people, but in doing so taught me so much about being a mother to Reagan. Mrs. J. was a surrogate mother to my mom when she was growing up. The kind of neighborhood lady who took in all the kids who needed someone to love them. That makes her my surrogate grandmother. And a finer one I couldn't ask for. Her daughter was friends with my mother growing up and her grandchildren were a few years old when I was born. I was just a baby the day she called my mother to say her daughter had been in a bad car accident. Sadly her husband couldn't handle it and took the children and left her despite her calling for them in her coma. So Mrs. J. cared for her. Unfailingly, Uncomplainingly. Lovingly. I grew up sitting on her bed and telling her about my day never even thinking it was strange that she didn't look at me or talk to me. We knew she could hear us. This is how I learned that life has value and purpose no matter what. She never woke up from her coma. I was only a baby when she had her accident so I never knew her awake. But I never thought her life was sad. She was my mama's friend and I loved her. For 32 years Mrs. J cared for her and I sat and told her about my day. Some would say her life had no purpose. Some would say that Mrs. J sacrificed too much. But she was alive. She was loved. She taught me how to handle things that make others nervous. She taught me how to see disability as just a part of life. She taught me that hard is not bad. She taught me how to be the mother to my daughter. And she never said a word to me in her whole life. That is purpose, and that is only my story....she touched others. This is her legacy...and Mrs. J's too. Because she taught me too as I watched her care for her daughter without fuss or fanfare. She taught us all that love is bigger than circumstances and life is not measured by "productivity". She never considered her life a sacrifice nor her daughter's tragic. She taught me how to LIVE the life you've been blessed with. Her daughter passed away a few years ago having never woken up from her coma. The only regret I have is that she was never able to meet Reagan and see the influence she had on our lives. Mrs. J. on the other hand treasures the snuggles she gets from Reagan. She is having trouble with her heart now and is in a care facility at the moment but she made sure that she brought the toys that she always kept at her house with her so that when "her girls" come visit they can play with them (these are the same toys I grew up playing with...they don't make them like that any more). The girls are always excited to visit and share pictures of their latest adventures and build extraordinary creations with those toys.
Today they treated us to a pet show with robot pets and a "museum" with the most fascinating artifacts.
I cherish these times for my girls because I remember being their age and playing with those toys and hanging with Mrs. J. and I know that we may not have these opportunities for very much longer.
But these are her legacy...these little lives that have learned so much about caring for others from generations of good coaching in the most unlikely set of circumstances. We love you Mrs. J!
She lived life until the very last, treasuring her family... including me and my girls... until the final day. She celebrated every accomplishment and moment, first in my mother's life, then in mine, and finally in my girls'. And now she is in heaven with her husband and daughter, the angels are celebrating her and her beloved savior is smiling on her saying well done my good and faithful servant.