Tuesday, July 1, 2014

For Jane

Jane Lauer Maddox June 16, 1959 - May 31, 2014

Say not in grief that she is no more
but say in thankfulness that she was.

A death is not the extinguishing of a light,
but the putting out of the lamp
because the dawn has come.

-R. Tagore

Lamar and Clarke and John have asked me to express their heartfelt appreciation to Birdie Porter, who devotedly took care of Jane at home for the last three months, and to the incomparable Dr. Eric Minenberg, physician assistant Amy York, and the staff of Peachtree Hematology/Oncology.  Jane was their amazing patient – Dr. Minenberg called her one of a kind – and they worked together as a team for the last six and a half years.  A very special thank you to Stan Thomas, Jane’s unsung hero, and to everyone at Thomas Enterprises and the Jordan Company, and to all the family and friends who kept the Maddoxes company, as well as fed and watered, whenever they needed it.  Please accept my apologies to any of you special people I have inadvertently forgotten. 

I met Jane – appropriately - at a party on March 20, 1978.  She was 18 years old and had driven to Atlanta from her school in Virginia, to join the festivities surrounding the purchase of WPCH from her dad’s company by the Meredith Coporation, where my husband worked.

From then on, I watched her go from a carefree freshman in college to Lamar’s fiancé, and finally to the extraordinary woman she became - a dutiful daughter to Carolyn and John; a close sister to Amy and sister-in-law to Wright, Joel, and Laura; an exuberant aunt to Emily, Graham, Will, Kipp and Katie; a loving great-niece to Aunt Marjorie; and a supportive wife and devoted mother to her three darling boys, Lamar, Clarke, and John.

The rest of us were lucky enough to call her friend, including all these young men sitting here who came and went and ate and slept at what is basically their second home and her enduring legacy, the Happy House of Jane. 

Kerry Izzard once told me that every man who met Jane fell in love with her, and she should know since she has a husband and four sons, to a man, completely besotted with Jane.  But I think that is true of us girls too.  We all fell in love with Jane.  Throughout her illness, she was unwaveringly optimistic and unflinchingly brave. She saw only the flowers, never the weeds.

And she was magical.  After spending years of vacationing at Sea Island, hoping each and every morning at 6:00 a.m. to see a turtle as we walked on the beach, on the final morning of what we knew would be the last time the whole family was there for its annual vacation, we headed out for our walk and, not believing it was happening, stopped to watch a sea turtle as she headed back to the ocean after laying her eggs.

Jane was the happiest person I have ever known.  She lived by what turned out to, unfortunately, be her too true motto “Life is far too short not to have a little umbrella in your drink.”   

In time, Jane’s passing will seem real, but right now it doesn’t.  I can’t imagine I won’t hear her voice at the end of the telephone, or cook with her, or see her beautiful hair turn gray.  Jane and I have the same birthday, and one way or another have been celebrating them together for thirty-six years.

I always thought we would have many more.

Jane would surely scold me for ending my tribute to her on a sad note.  So I will leave you with what I know Jane would herself tell you today:

Think of me; miss me; but don’t mourn me.  And most of all, in the words of my second favorite, Jimmy Buffett, "count all your blessings, remember your dreams."

Spoken By Victoria for Jane at Her Memorial Service on June 6, 2014 

BG Christmas 2012 at Jane's

Jane's group of special friends is called the BG's, which stands for Birthday Girls.  They have been friends for the past eighteen years when they met as a result of having children in grammar school together.  In the photo they are Tiana, Judy, Betsy, Barbara, Lisa, Joanna, Jane, and Melody.  They celebrate each other's birthdays and get together every December for a Christmas party.   

Jane and Me
December 2012
Photo by Melody

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