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January 7, 2021 - Goodbye Jackalina! Until We Meet Again...
Yesterday we laid to rest my sweet sister-in-law, Jackie. As you all know, she succumbed to COVID-19 in a rather shockingly rapid way. It was so unexpected. We all feel like we have been gut punched.
The day was filled with many sad moments, but we also managed to reminisce and laugh together sharing wonderful memories of Jackie.
During Jackie's funeral, I had the privilege to deliver the Eulogy for Jackie. It was hard. It was hard writing it and it was hard delivering it. I knew I had to be strong, I had to be the voice for my brother. I had to honor Jackie for her entire family.
It was an emotionally difficult day. But my child, my sweet son, Mason, well he was extraordinary. He didn’t want to leave Aunt Jackie’s side. He carried no fear, only love. As he gazed at her in the casket, he placed his sweet hand over hers to provide warmth. He still doesn’t understand how she can be gone from our lives so quickly. He misses he so. It is hard as a parent to watch your baby suffer.
After the funeral, we spent much needed time with the family. It was very cathartic spending time with each other are taking many trips down memory lane about Jackie. We all ache and miss her so.
Thank you to everyone who has prayed, reached out, and kept us in your thoughts. Your virtual hugs were felt. To memorialize the event, I am sharing the eulogy that I wrote and delivered yesterday. Every time I reread it, I think of ways of making it better. My goal was to honor her with love. I do feel like I met that goal, although there is always more to say...
My Eulogy for Jackie - January 6, 2021
Where to begin? How do you make sure your spoken words are adequate, that they are honorable, that they are enough? How could I explain the kindness in her heart, the contagiousness of her joy, or the depth of her love? It’s just that she was so remarkable.
It feels surreal standing before friends and family, speaking about my dear sister-in-law Jackie. We all know that she was taken way too soon. Way too soon. None of us are prepared to face the reality of her not being part of our daily lives, our conversations, our laughter.
There is little that I can say that you all don’t know in your heart. Jackie was a lover of her family. As her niece Shannon so eloquently phrased it, “our family loves hard”. Nothing truer could be said about Jackie and her family and the love that is shared. Jackie was not only beautiful on the outside; she was a beautiful soul. She saw the beauty in others.
For every memory that I share here, there are hundreds that will come flooding back every time any of us think of Jackie. We have all traveled to so many wonderful places with her. We saw Broadway shows, ordered Cosmopolitans in NY channeling our inner Sex and the City character. We went to indoor concerts, outdoor concerts, baseball games from t-ball to the Atlanta Braves to the Boston Red Sox and touching the Green Monster. She took countless Road trips with her sisters, Millie and Tammy, and they all typically resulted with them getting lost in some form or fashion.
We snow skied, climbed Pike’s Peak (well we drove), experienced Las Vegas, sunbathed on many different beaches, snorkeled in the Abacos, drank beer in Germany, cruised to the Caribbean, ate pasta in Italy, visited Graceland, rode the Alpine Slide in Winter Park, traveled in style in Chris’s RV, watched many sunsets, awoke to beautiful sunrises, watched many firework shows, sang karaoke, shucked oysters, played rummy, ate Lobster in Maine, drank wine in Napa. Boy did we drink wine in Napa. I could go on and on. We had so many adventures, but there were so many more on our bucket list. We needed more time. `
We all know that music was a big part of her life. I remember years ago when she introduced me to the Tricia Yearwood song, “The Song Remembers When”. She made me listen to it over and over, as she was explaining the truth and beauty of the lyrics and how different songs in our life are tied to our life experiences. Now, I can’t turn on a playlist, or hear a song that is not attached to a memory of Jackie. That will be a daily blessing. That is a gift.
I know there is something that she found to love in every one of us. She was always bright, colorful, creative, vibrant and full of life. She was outspoken; never bullied. Always a truth-teller, she was kind with her words, never with meanness or malice and always generous with her grace. Merciful in everything because she was always true to herself.
She was born to Alma and Harlan Morris. She was the second to youngest of nine children. She loved her brothers and sisters. There are not adequate words to describe the closeness of her family. They love each other immensely. They loved Jackie and she loved them back, in spades. She was especially close to her Mama. It nearly broke Jackie’s heart when she lost her mother. It brings comfort to know that they are together again in Heaven.
I am only her sister-in-law, but boy she made me feel like a sister. She was a sister to me. She was my friend. She loved, worried, and took care of me better than any sister could ask for. She was always there when I needed her. During my recent health challenges, she and Rick were a huge source of comfort and support. They helped me, but more importantly they were there for my husband Jamie and my son Mason. And I never had to ask.
She fiercely loved her family. Although she came from humble beginnings, Jackie always appreciated her life and her ability to live her best life. She took nothing for granted. She did not care about status or material things, she cared about time. Time. The time she could spend with her loved ones. It was very important to her to reach out to her loved ones and be present in their lives. She was known for calling you on your day, and when you answered you heard her sweet voice singing “Happy Birthday”. She needed more time.
She especially loved her daughters. She considered them her finest accomplishment, her greatest joy. She was so proud of the women that they both have become. Corey, Meghan, your mother loved you very much. She spoke of both of you daily, many times to all of us. You both were always on her mind and forever in her heart.
She was also one proud Nana. She cherished and loved being a Nana. She had so much love and pride for her grandchildren, Gavin, Riley, Camryn, and Bri. It was such a joy to see Jackie with her grandkids. She truly loved spending time with them, whether it was teaching them to play rummy, or just snuggling and watching movies.
She adored all of her nieces and nephews. They all hold a special place in her heart. I know Jackie is so proud that Matt is officiating and leading this service. She wouldn’t have it any other way. One nephew, my son Mason, loved his Aunt Jackie hard. They both loved to give each other big big hugs – really tight squeezes. He may miss those hugs, but Jackie will forever be in his heart.
And, she loved my brother Rick. They shared a great love for each other. There was kindness and respect, comfort, compassion and a deep love. They took care of each other for 37 years.. 37 years may seem like a long time to be together, but there were just getting started.
Words cannot describe how much she will be missed. I feel like we still had so much left to teach one another, to give one another, to share with one another. We had more adventures in our future. We just needed more Time.
We must remind ourselves that when we miss her, we don’t have to look far. We can look into the eyes and hearts of everyone here and find a little piece of her. She will live on forever. Her love of life and family should be an inspiration to us all. I know it is for me.
I love you Jackie. My sweet Jackalina, you will be in my heart forever.