Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Story of Lynne in Saginaw News

Death of sister-in-law brings thoughts of mortality

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The other day, I drove by the frosty green house on Cass where we spent many hours visiting my sister-in-law Lynne and her family.
The memory of one afternoon comes back so vividly, I almost can smell the brownies baking in the oven. We got there in time to watch her spread the batter, and then sat around the kitchen table while it cooked.

By the time the knife came out clean, even the kids had wandered down from the big playroom upstairs, waiting for a bite. And we now know that leaving the sugar out doesn't affect anything but the taste -- and that taste is gosh-awful, no matter how good they look and smell.

Memories keep Lynne alive. Death took her too early.

At the dinner following Lynne's memorial service earlier this month, her children invited people to come up and tell their favorite stories. But beyond a rousing toast, most of us quietly shared our memories.

Since then, well, it's interesting how the whole idea of your own mortality works its way around. This is something that happens to our parents' generation. She was only 55, she didn't smoke, where are the guarantees?

We know the answer.

Conversations drift to the past; a simple comment about the weather goes back to "Remember the time we drove up Mount Washington ..." Trips put off for one reason or another now find their way into being, as if we're making up for lost time. We see old friends, and hug and stare as if we're trying to memorize their faces for all time. Lesser worries take a back seat now, but ones that carry any risk, such as my grandson Alex's upcoming eye surgery, leap into overdrive, creating worst-case scenarios.

You start looking around and wondering who's next? Maybe it's time to tackle that basement, sort through the boxes, see what the kids want to keep when you're not there anymore to tell them why a three-legged milking stool has a plaque with your name on it.

Lynne and I didn't stay close after her brother and I divorced, but our lives once were tightly entwined. Back when my parents wouldn't allow me to go on car dates with my steady boyfriend -- imagine that! -- she drove us to proms and movies and the mall.

Lynne was my matron of honor, not terribly long after her own wedding. Her son Josh was born a few months before my Nicole. Her Jonathan came along less than a year before my Jennifer, and Jill was born just months before my Brian.

She was Nicole's godmother, and Jennifer's namesake -- Jennifer Lynne.
Maybe I should have taken better notice when she divorced, because it wasn't much longer before I was treading that path, too.

Maybe I shouldn't put that basement off for too long, either.

Lynne leaves a great legacy -- paintings, a children's book about her beloved Pogo, and three beautiful children who would make her very proud of the way they've stepped forward in these difficult times.

None of this seems real, and all too real at the same time. And until my time comes, I'm determined to make this a life that counts.

Lynne is sorely missed, says News Staff Writer Sue White.


At 8:19 PM, Blogger Julie said...

Oh wow, that is a very nice article. Were you able to get an original copy? It's amazing how much has been written about our famiy in the Saginaw news.

At 10:57 AM, Blogger Aunt Marsha said...

I loved Sue's article too.

At 11:11 AM, Blogger Aunt Marsha said...

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