|I finally get to put
something on her page!
It's a shame, that it has to be her eulogy.
We pay our respects to a woman whose strength, sweetness, and love of life has drawn us to her like a moth to a flame.
She was born Jean Elnora Garrison, daughter of James and Sonja Garrison, on the 21st of October, 1959,
This past Thursday, after a monumental battle with the cancer which had plagued her these past two years, that flame flickered, and went out.
And like that proverbial moth, we find ourselves without center, flying helplessly through the dark.
In July of 1985, I had just moved to the city of Grand Rapids, Michigan, and my new bishop, recommended that I go to the Pioneer Day Picnic, at a local park.
There I met a rather striking young lady with a four year old son. And at that moment, a set of parenthesis opened on my life.
We all know what a parenthesis is, it’s that little curved bracket that contains an afterthought, or a clarification, in the middle of, or at the end of a sentence.
I wasn’t looking for a girlfriend, and after several hours of conversation, I understood that she wasn’t looking for a boyfriend either. We had both been through bad marriages, and had experienced first hand that love and marriage only led to grief and heartbreak.
But regardless, a word had formed in our parenthesis, and that word was “maybe”.
Our parenthesis grew and expanded to include words like “dating” and the long-forgotten word, “happiness”. I began to think of her son as my own, and found myself thinking of them, more than I thought of myself, which for me, was quite a novel way of thinking.
It was then that I finally noticed the parenthesis, and as I looked at it, I saw crazy words, such as “love” and “family”, complete with definitions.
Over the last twenty-seven years, Jean has filled my parenthesis with such words as JOY and LAUGHTER, Oh, the GRIEF, and HEARTBREAK were still there, but I also learned the meaning of the word ETERNAL, and all those things just didn’t matter anymore.
Tears are expected today, as in life. But as we go on, as we invariably will, let us celebrate the life that has taught us so much. Go for ice cream, kiss your children, or your grandchildren, find a good uplifting book, and read it until you smile.
To be honest, I will not find it easy to heed my own words here today, I will miss her terribly, as I know my family will, but I know it’s what she would have wanted.
Besides, Jean and I aren’t finished yet, this set of parenthesis is not closed, oh no, not by a long shot. You see, we are an eternal family.
We will see her again when we pass through this veil of mortality, and she and I will laugh together, and know again, the true meaning of love.