Today we gathered to place Jaime’s ashes in the ground. It was a hard day for all of us, though it was nice to be able to have a live event to bookend last year’s online memorial service. Several people eulogized her beautifully today and, since I have been a little preoccupied, I decided to share one of them here in lieu of my own post. So, this is what my big sister had to say today. Love you, Heather.
Caleb asked me to say a few words at your burial. Saying those words feels so surreal. Your burial? How can that be? And how has it been over a year since you died? There has been so much in this year that has happened for all of your friends and family, and I know the ways you would show up for people is missed for all of us who have experienced so much since you died. Last year at your funeral, your sister said the most beautiful and most brave things about life and about you – and she also reminded us of what a gift time is. It’s precious. She’s right. And the fact that a year without you has happened seems impossible. And now, because you are no longer living, we will all mark time as before or after you died. That’s what happens when you lose someone as important as you are.
I decided to write these words in the format of a letter to you. I’m stealing Caleb’s ways, he’s been blogging letters to Evander for awhile now and those letters are the most incredible gifts to Evander one day, and to all of us now.
I have such great memories of times with you, Jaime. I loved getting to take trips to see you, first in Southern California before either of us were moms, and then later when you were in the Bay Area. I loved grabbing coffee with you and the kinds of questions we would ask each other as we drove to each next fun destination. I miss planning next trips with you and coming up with ideas for where we could meet or what we could do for the next Webster family vacation.
Jaime, I miss so many things about you. I miss your laugh. I miss how you would randomly text me to check in, or randomly text me with some question on my thoughts on something going on. I miss that you were never satisfied with your jobs. That’s not to say you were unhappy with your employers or the work you were doing, but you were never satisfied. You always knew the organization, or the leadership, or the board, could do better, or do more. You always knew there was more. And I miss that determination and drive to get more out of something.
I miss what an amazing auntie you were to my kids. You always asked how they were doing. You made them beautiful things. One of our last set of texts was you telling me you admired the strong women I am raising. I was able to thank you for being a strong woman in my life who had helped support raising strong women. You responded and said you hoped you had inspired a little good and a little hope for them. You most certainly did. And do still. They miss you and they love you so much.
I miss watching you interact with Caleb. You two had such sweet inside jokes and admired each other’s strengths. And you knew the areas you both needed support and I know you did your best to always offer that support and vice versa.
I also miss watching you as a mom to Evander. I loved how proud you were of him and how you found him so fun and interesting and delightful. Remember how early he walked? I couldn’t believe it when he was 9 months old and was toddling all over the place! You were so proud of those steps and all kinds of other steps Evander took during your life. I also love how you supported and helped him grow relationships to everyone else around him. You loved his time with his cousins and his aunties and uncles and grandparents and friends and his dad. And you knew how important it was for him to have connections to everyone in his life…which makes sense because you knew how to keep connected to all your people.
One thing I’ve been thinking about is all of your connections you had to people. I was thinking about how incredible it is to know how many lives you touched with your kindness and your smile and how many people carry a piece of you with them because of those memories. I was thinking how each of us here today misses a particular thing about you, or a particular thing we would do with you. And then the people who aren’t here today in person, but who were on the zoom for your funeral. They all miss a particular thing about you. And of course, Jaime, there were more people than those people too. So, while I certainly don’t know what happens to us when we die, I do know for certain part of you, and parts of your energy, live on with us.
I hope that you know you are missed and loved tremendously. That there was and is no one like you and that we are all better people for having known you, Jaime. Thank you for being such an incredible friend and mom and spouse and sister and daughter and auntie Jaime. I promise you that you did inspire goodness and hope in all of us here, and so many more. And while your life was inexplicably short, you mattered a great deal and will always be a part of us. I love you, Jaime. And I will always miss you.