Thursday, November 18, 2010

Malmo, Sweden: REST IN PEACE Georgette!!!

Life is constant, and with that come highs and lows. It is magnified even more when you're on the road and at a distance.  I happen to be in Malmo, Sweden.
Today is a dark day for me.... Yesterday, Wednesday evening, I received word from home, via Skype, that my dearest cousin, Georgette, was in her final hours after her long battle with breast cancer. It is to her, my hero, that I dedicate today's post.
The family came together last night in prayer, as she lay in her hospital bed peaceful and still, waiting for her turn to be called. It was announced that she passed at 11:52pm. Being petite in frame, but strong in character, she always showed resilience, strength and determination, never waivering, remaining positive and optimistic throughout her fight with cancer over these past few years.
Georgette is the second oldest of my first cousins, on my dads side of the family. As kids, life was different. Her being seven and half years my senior, she was then the "big" cousin I looked up to and admired but didn't really know. I am grateful for our time as adults, having shared a bond and closeness.
It is now that I reminisce of times past when we were all young and vibrant, when three generations of Chennault's would come together at Aunt Shirley's house every Thanksgiving and Christmas for a "Norman Rockwell-esque" holiday event. We would feast on a turkey dinner, drink eggnog and spirits and share good laughs. The house was full of love, with Grandma and Grandpa Chennault, Aunt Kat, and Grandma Wahls perched on the landing at the dinette table watching over the shenanigan's going on in the oversized family room. Uncle Mike would randomly play a jazz tune on the piano, filling the room with ambient music, while "us kids", would run around the house playing with toys and games, as Georgette and the older cousins did "older cousin things". We were all so present and in the moment. Those were definitely better days, near and dear to my heart, that I am truly grateful for!!!
Years passed and times changed, distance strained family relationships, we all grew and blossomed into who we were born to be, developed families of our own and were consumed with everyday life, but, my and Georgette's kinship seemed to strengthen. "She essentially became the sister I never had". She would share how proud she was of me and my accomplishments, stating, "girl, you've lived the lives of three people". Hearing that sentiment ring in my ears today, makes me wish I truly had a reserve of years to give to her.
I last visited Georgette this past August while in Detroit. I happened to be on a break from the tour. I had no idea that that time would be my last. I knew she was ailing, but she always stayed positive, never indicating that her time might be near. The visit was brief, as we didn't want to overwehlm and exhaust her. My mom, dad and I sat quietly sharing Dunkin' Donut breakfast sandwiches, orange juice and coffee. It was nice.
These past months, with me touring and being in Europe, we've had the luxury of sending the occassional text or two, sharing a simple shout out to say, "I <3 u" and "ur n my thoughts".
Georgette was a restless soul, low in patience and tolerence, was private, abrupt and always busy, but never lacked generosity, honesty, or candor. She would openly and often, tell me how much she loved and admired me, and for that I am eternally grateful. With her being gone, I feel as though there is no stone left unturned. I will miss her and all that she is.
Now, more than ever, there is one memory that sticks with me most.  It is that of our time spent on the beach on Tybee Island, Georgia.  It was last year and the final day of the Chennault Family Reunion weekend.  It was Georgette's turn to play host to our bi-annual family event, and despite being tired, having organized a spectacular weekend of activities for all, it was time for her to exhale.  Feeling relief from her hosting duties, myself, cousin Bobby, mom, dad and Georgette, quietly spent that Sunday afternoon under beach umbrellas and on lounge chairs, drinking wine coolers and beer. We reflected on the good time had that weekend, the beauty of having "family", and our lives together years past.
Today, I will cherish that moment that I spent with "my cousin, sister and friend", the vibrant and seemingly more healthy Georgette, who I'd always known and loved.  It gives me great peace and solice to know that even though she has been robbed of her years, I have memories that will be with me a lifetime. RIP Georgette!!! You are missed already. With love... ;)


1 comment:

  1. That was beautiful Barb. Thanks for sharing the memories.