Friday evening our family lost a part of what made us a family. Aunt Janis lost her brief yet very courageous fight against cancer. And with her loss our hearts are broken, saddened, and profoundly changed. Janis was married to my mother in law's brother, Al, and thus she became my aunt when I married Shawn. She welcomed me immediately with warmth and love and never strayed from that kindness that so made her who she was. She gave with such unselfishness and such love, always from her heart. She made us all laugh, and she always laughed with us. She made all things beautiful - her home, her garden, her meals, her life. She loved our boys wholeheartedly -- even when Jackson went through a period of being extremely bashful around her and Uncle Al. She loved them. She loved us. And we loved her.
I have dozens of memories of Janis reaching out in kindness. Even before I really "knew" her she made me feel a part of this family. I remember her beautiful smile all throughout our wedding -- beaming as if if were her own son marrying that day. I remember her calling me a few months after our miscarriage, just to check on me -- a sentiment that still sits snugly in my heart and gives me comfort. When we moved to Colorado 4 years ago Al and Janis became an even larger part of our lives -- they lived so close, and we had such fun times with them. They were a part of our holidays and birthdays and every day celebrations. She brought picnics to me and the boys when I was muddling through those first months as a mother of two. She took us to the zoo when Shawn was away with Al on a business trip. She made peanut butter and jelly crepes for the boys, just this past Easter, knowing seafood crepes would not be to their liking. Her kindness to us reached on and on, and we will never, ever forget her or how she made this world a more beautiful place. Shawn and I will always keep her in our hearts, and do all we can to keep her in our boys' hearts as well. I pray we can accomplish that. And I pray for peace for her life partner and true love, Al, to find his peace in time as well. Her stay on this earth was far too short, and she was taken from us far too quickly and far too soon. She will be missed, beyond words. We love you Aunt Janis, and will miss you.