Sunday, July 15

MY SISTER JO ~ as spoken by Ceci

I dearly loved my sister, Jo. 

Her sudden and tragic death left me shocked, stunned, sad, mad, confused and hopefully, ultimately at peace - much like the life of my sister Jo. For Jo was unique, unconventional and always seemed most comfortable choosing her own path in life.

Jo was always a true and loving sister, no matter what the turmoil in our lives as young children or through various life situations in our adult lives.

In the last few years since the passing of our beloved Daddy, Jo seemed to have more inner peace within her and wished that for others.

Jo was a giver and would gladly stop to help anyone who had a need. Jo’s spiritual strength seemed to come from the many selfless acts she did for others. But, Jo also had an amazing physical strength as well. If you were walking along the beach with her and collecting shells and hurt your foot, she would take the bag of shells out of your hand, throw it over her shoulder. Then, without missing a beat, she would bend down, pick you up and throw you over her other shoulder. 

Even as Jo’s physical strength faded a little in the last couple of years - her spiritual strength grew stronger to fill that void.

Those of you who have small children or grandchildren are probably familiar with the words and works of Hermie and Wormie. Hermie and Wormie is one of my favorite books to read to my grandchildren about two common little worms - who didn’t understand why GOD had made them so common. As they struggle through the many obstacles in their daily lives, they finally realize one day that “GOD wasn’t through with them yet”. 

Jo had so many obstacles in her life that would have broken most people but, Jo just seemed to take it all in stride. “It’s all in GOD’S hands,” she would say.

Today I feel a deep personal sadness, and that is my own selfish feelings showing. Not just because Jo is gone but also because I have lost another sister.  Jo was a true sister, who always remembered my birthday, ands would always call or text me with a wish for a “Happy_____ (day) whatever the special day was, no matter how insignificant the special day was. I personally will miss those texts and those phone calls from her. But, I will also always remember her especially on all those special days too!

Jo so dearly loved my son, Ryan. She understood more completely than anyone else just how special Ryan is. He was her ring bearer at her wedding to Thom Brock. Jo always kept a special place in her heart for Ryan and never missed a chance to ask about him or to send her love to him.

A few years ago I was relating to someone how thankful I am that even though Ryan survived a head injury, he is almost always happy, positive and helpful to others. As, most often persons with head injuries tend to be left with belligerent, difficult, and trying personalities.

That thought reminded me of an incident that happened to Jo early in her life. I am not sure if even her own family members know this. One day as my mother was driving the car, Martha and I were sitting in the back seat. As mother turned the corner close to our home in Freeport, Texas the doors on the old Lincoln were suddenly flung open. Mother exclaimed, “Oh my purse just fell out of the car!” I said, “No, mother, it was the baby”. Baby Joyce had been thrown out of the moving car unto the pavement. Head injuries weren’t taken as serious 60 years ago as they are now. I have often wondered if that accident so many years ago may have contributed to some of my sister Jo’s many obstacles in her life.

In closing, I would like to read a poem that to me is the essence of what I believe Jo would want us to come away with today. - Not to be sad at her passing but, to look into yourselves to seek a better you!

THE DASH   A poem by Linda Ellis copyright 1998
I read of a man who stood to speak
At the funeral of a friend
He referred to the dates on her tombstone 
From the beginning to the end
He noted that first came the date of her birth
And spoke the following date with tears,
But he said what mattered most of all
Was the dash between those years
For that dash represents all the time
That she spent alive on earth.
And now only those who loved her
Know what that little line is worth.
For it matters not how much we own;
The cars,the house, the cash,
What matters is how we live and love
And how we spend our dash.
So think about this long and hard.
Are there things you’d like to change?
For you never know how much time is left,
That can still be rearranged.
If we could just slow down long enough
To consider what’s true and real
And always try to understand
The way other people feel.
And be less quick to anger,
And show appreciation more
And love the people in our lives
Like we’ve never loved before.
If we treat each other with respect,
And more often wear a smile
Remembering that this special dash
Might only last a little while.
So, when your eulogy is being read
With your life’s actions to rehash
Would you be proud of the things they say
About how you spent your dash?
All Jo’s struggles are over, for she is truly with the angels now. I’ll miss you, my sister, Jo and you were right, it is indeed “ALL IN GOD’S HANDS”.  I Love you, dearly, my sister, Jo.

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