Marny & Jaci
I asked my sister-in-law Jaci to be our guest blogger this month. I am curious now how others, who are close to me, saw my grief. That first year after Keith’s death is a bit foggy (to say the least!) and I am now looking to others to help fill in some of the gaps. Below is her perspective of my journey.
My niece just graduated from Grade 6 and into Junior High…wow! Seeing the picture of her on this day makes me think of how time flies and memories come and go within the time that has passed. Some memories wonderful, some not. Seeing Marny with her daughter share another milestone in the absence of Keith is remarkable.
The strength of a woman who has endured so much. It conjures up emotions that are foreign and humbling. The first being scared…scared for a woman who has slowly become one of the strongest people I know. Scared because of the memories her loss creates. I remember the phone call and chat with Tim after, that Keith was diagnosed with cancer. Tim did not know how to describe it to me. But the worry started.
I didn’t know Keith very well having met him a few times, talked to him on the phone a few times and laughed at the fact that he called Ontario “Onterrible,” …but he was my brother-in-law and that automatically denotes a level of unconditional love. The worry enveloped all of Tim’s family for me. What would Marny do with two children in tow? What would all of us do with them being in Calgary and our support here in Ontario? How often can we call without seeming too intrusive? Why? The list goes on…
The few weeks from diagnosis to death seemed to fly by…and then we were in Calgary. Marny seemed to be holding things together for the most part. At least that is what it looked like from my vantage point…until the day of the funeral service. I remember after the service knowing Keith a little better from the eulogies given and feeling an immense loss. I remember us sitting on a bench just outside the funeral chapel and yet within the funeral home and Marny no longer able to keep her strong front up. Tim and I sat with her as she crumbled, a cry that I could finally see as being necessary and to let it all out. It didn’t last long but it was enough to know that she needed the support to continue and not just while we were in Calgary. I guess I realized then that Marny would need a sister and friend as much as she would need the support of her own family members.
I remember her request of her three brothers…to be the father figure for Scott as he grew up. And I remember her request of all of us, to tell the stories we had of Keith so that she, Scott and even Taylor would not forget.
In the years that have passed, Marny and I have become true sisters. When Tim and I left Calgary after Keith’s passing, the phone calls were frequent. “Ma-Bell” loved us and the hours we spent on the phone talking and laughing. Marny needed family, she needed what love could pass through a telephone wire. She needed the comfort of an ear to listen to her as she stumbled through the day to day life of a mother of two children who no longer had a father and she a husband. She needed the support a family who didn’t know how to travel this path in life any better than she knew. Most of all, she needed to know we were there for her in every and all capacities necessary.
Today as I reflect on all that Marny has gone through, as I reflect on what a wonderful little woman Taylor is becoming, as I reflect on 12 years since Keith’s passing, I remember and feel rewarded! Emotions come and go, fears turn into strength and for Marny, a horrible tragedy turned into rewards for so many. I am rewarded with a sister (not just sister-in-law), our family is rewarded with a level of closeness bar none, Scott and Taylor rewarded with a sense of self that stems from their father, and Marny …a strength that can only be compared to Superman for all that she has had to go through…with and without her family by her side.
The expression “time heals all wounds” is sort of true, but what needs to be added to it is love. Time heals all wounds when you are surrounded by love!