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Aug 15

The Loss of Our Janet

We all loved you so much, Aunt Janet. The world is a better place for having had you in it.

This morning, my husband lost an aunt, his two cousins lost a mother, four sweet kids lost a grandma, and my father-in-law and his three other siblings lost a sister. Yesterday there was an Aunt Janet in this world, and today there is not. The hole she left can’t be filled. The loss is incalculable. That thing that you are supposed to do—live so well that you’re missed intensely when you are gone—she did that. Grief is the price we pay for a lifetime of loving someone, and everyone who knew her is surely grieving today.

I didn’t have a lifetime, only 13 years, and I am so, so sad. For everyone in my husband’s (amazing, incredible, I’m-so-lucky-I-married-into-this-clan) family who knew her much longer, I can only imagine how they must feel.

I love words, but this is one of those times they feel too small to contain the magnitude of the feelings. I’ll do my best, though, to explain our Janet.

Janet was a single mom to two boys, now men, who probably not coincidentally are both pretty great dads themselves. Over the years, she was a foster parent to many other kids and took interest in many more. In the last years of her father’s life, she made sure he was taken care of, even when he made that difficult. She had plenty to complain about, but I never heard her do it. She loved her grandchildren fiercely. She was a refuge. She was considerate. Kind. Hardworking. Strong.

Ugh. Those are important things, but … they are not her. Not all of her, anyway. I’m not doing this right. I’ll try again.

When Janet walked into a room, she brought smiles with her. She had the most wonderful crinkly eyes, and always, always, the best hugs. She was ditzy and funny and fun, and the best family stories I’ve heard from before my time seem to involve her—the five-pound meatloaf being my all-time favorite. She was very warm. Very real. Her kitchen cabinets were painted a sunshiny yellow, and that was right and fitting, because she brought sunshine with her.

It’s so hard to distill the essence of a person into words, especially a person like Janet, who was so much about other people that even in the hospital, she was saying she was sorry, not wanting us to worry about her. Sorry, Janet, but not this time. This time it is all about you.

We will always love you. We will always miss you. Thank you for being who you were, for living so well that our hearts are breaking.

7 comments

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  1. Cynder

    This is a surprising loss. Not that we expected an interruption in the cycle of life but that her circle was apparently much smaller than we wanted. My heart aches and I grieve from a distance but I’m very much with you and the Stices right now.

    1. Evelyn Stice

      Yes. The phrase “too soon” is trite, but in this case true.

  2. Tammy

    Janet taught both of my children in pre-school. Indeed, the world lost a wonderful, kind, loving, supportive person today. Many thoughts to all of her family as they grieve this loss.

    1. Evelyn Stice

      Thanks, Tammy. We appreciate that.

  3. Kelly Stice Anderson

    I too will miss my dear cousing Janny. Life dealt Janny some hard difficult times, I never seen her complain. I can assure all she will have great company in heaven as many will be cheering her at the gates. I will miss you Janny-with Love & sympathy,Kelly

  4. Marcy Shepard Dillon

    Janet was my aunt. At one time (though I was too small to remember) she was married to my uncle Tim, Sam’s father. As a pre-teen and teenager I spent time at Aunt Janet’s home with Sam and Will, who even though we were’t related by blood, was still my cousin by heart.
    I cannot remember a single bad thing about Aunt Janet. Every memory I have includes her infectious giggle and her beautiful smile.
    I think I am still in shock over her passing. I had no idea she was even sick. My heart breaks for both Sam and Will and their families and for the Stice’s. We have lost a beautiful person but heaven has gained an angel.

  5. Ashley Wible-Holbert

    When thinking back on my days in youth group at Wesley some of the best memories that come to mind have Janet in them. We went on some of the most random trips together and spent hours in her office talking life while listening to what she called “real music”. Janet left an everlasting imprint on my heart…she was truly one of a kind.

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