As I grow older, I am finding it hard to let go of people I have grown to love. This includes people I have never met but have been a part of my life...not many, but a few. Oh, there are people that were famous, people that we grew up with and are no longer with us. You find yourself thinking that your life is altered a bit since you no longer hear of them, can see them or hear their voices.
But Jeanne touched my life so much more than that. I would guess that for the past twenty or so years, I would look forward to her words of wisdom, her homey sayings, like.."like pull yourself up by your bra straps, kid and enjoy life!" Jeanne envisioned happiness. She enjoyed life. She enjoyed her friends. She enjoyed her two children Tim and Lee, especially her daughter Lee. Finding herself a widow quite unexpectedly, with her beloved husband Butch, dying suddenly of a heart attack, she wondered how she would live her life with two small children and no skill to speak of. What an inspiration to us all that she began to design clothes and her small business grew into a dynamo of a company. It started as what the "Divine Miss M", calls, "Mommie dressing." A corduroy jacket with pumpkins for fall, a fat snowman wrapped in a knitted scarf for Christmas, a glittery snowflake for Winter and an animal print martini glass for summer. Yep! I love them all.
Mother and I used to watch her together as she laughed and chatted her way through an hour of "schlepping" her clothing line, sharing her memories along the way. Memories of life on a farm in Wisconsin, her children trick or treating, family Christmases or dying Easter eggs with Lee and Tim. Whatever holiday came round', she had a reason to decorate her home and celebrate. Her glass was always half-full, never half-empty. Jeanne loved to laugh and at times, revealed her wicked sense of humor, telling risque jokes and acting coy as her belly laugh filled the room. I have watched her monthly videos as she sits with a favorite girlfriend and most often with Lee, telling all of her followers about that particular month's activity. I watch as Lee looks at her mother, revealing the joy in her eyes, as she listens to her mother spin her stories and share her memories. She often will turn to Lee and ask her what her memories are? They laugh often and they laugh together. The videos are all filmed at Jeanne's Boca Raton home, at her kitchen table, the bright yellow floral sofa in her living room, or by the pool surrounded by garden whimsy's! This will be very hard on Lee, I know.
Jeanne passed away at the age of 71 last Friday. She often spoke of angels. She felt they were surrounding you here on earth.
I figured out that Jeanne reminded me so much of Mother. Her beautiful, yet aged face, almost wrinkle free with that peaches and cream complexion. Some of her expressions. The way she would place her hand lovingly on her daughter's arm, as she was reminded of a funny story.....
It's funny isn't it that you can touch someone's life and not even know it?
Jeanne always said that she finally discovered that happy wasn't a destination in life.
"Happy comes from the choices we make and the way we think on life's journey."