Craig-731 On “Ms. Sandy Anne Passes On”
Craig note- A leisurely Sunday during a three-day weekend has us writing a bit and enjoying life.
Cover Photo- Unsplash
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Sandy Anne died in her sleep one morning. Jeannie took her mother’s death hard. It was not unexpected. Still, there was something about the finality of losing a mother Jeannie found difficult. Her son, Andy, provided solace.
“Mama, Grandma Sandy Anne is in a better place. She’s singing with the angels of God and making a joyful noise unto the Lord.”
“Yeah, I am sure she is.”
“No doubt. ‘This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice.’”
“‘And let us be glad in it.’”
Jeannie spent the next several days planning Sandy Anne’s funeral. She reached out to her younger sister, Marleen, but like always she did not get an answer. The next Monday everyone gathered at the cemetery to say their final goodbyes to Sandy Anne.
Andy gave a stirring eulogy for his beloved Grandma Sandy Anne. He spoke for several minutes on life, God, and his family. It was a mesmerizing oration.
“When God calls a loved one home, we should not be so selfish as to question the will of our Creator. Instead, it is our obligation as devout believers in Jesus Christ, God, and the Holy Spirit to rejoice. One of God’s precious children has returned home. Amen.”
Andy would go on to college and later get a graduate degree in theology. He started a small church in a senior citizen’s nursing home. The church grew to become the largest megachurch in the state. He and his wife, Lindsey, had three kids, all girls.
Sandy Anne’s service ended. The rain came down something fierce. Jeannie pulled on Andy’s light blue suit jacket.
“We should get going. You are probably starved.”
“Yeah. I’m famished.”
The pair got back to their car and saw a familiar face. Jeannie stopped. She could not believe who was standing before her in the rain.
“Aunt Marleen! What are you doing here?”
“Hey, there puddin’! And Jea-”
There was an awkward silence. Marleen shuffled and swayed. Her shoulders sank, and she let out a long sigh.
“Hey, there Jeannie. I just wanted to. Well, you know…”
“Yeah. Something like that.”
“Hey, you want to come back with us, Aunt Marleen?”
“Nah, Andy, you two go on ahead. I want to walk around here a bit. It’s been a long time.”
“You sure, Aunt Marleen?”
“Yeah, I’m sure You two go on.”
“At least, take my umbrella.”
“Thanks, Andy. That’s a sweet boy you got there, Jeannie.”
“Thank you, I know. Not that you have been around to see him.”
“Oh, yeah, well, I am sorry about that.”
“Save it, Marleen. Just save it!”
Jeannie and Andy got in the car, and they left the cemetery. The rain stopped as quickly as it had started. Marleen put away her umbrella. She stood at Sandy Anne’s grave. Her shoulders sank, and she wept.
“Sandy Anne. I just want to say I am sorry. I’m so sorry I was not there for you.”
Marleen dropped to her knees, and she prayed. He prayed for Sandy Anne. She prayed for Jeannie and Andy, but most of all she prayed for herself.
“Dear God, if you can hear me, please answer.”
But there was no epiphany coming on this day. Marleen walked around the small cemetery for hours. She saw the grass-covered graves of Rose and Pastor Nathan.
“I wonder what mom and dad think about being stuck side by side for all eternity.”
Marleen walked further to the older section of the cemetery. She stood for several minutes in front of her older sister Bertha’s grave and Bertha’s daughter, Vernia.
“Always look forward, never backward.”
Marleen hailed a taxi back to the airport. She enjoyed her life adventures. Marleen met a great man in Africa. She fell in love, and Marleen spent the last years of her life writing travel books. Many of them became best-sellers. She died while scuba diving for pearls in the sea. Marleen was 71.
Jeannie and Andy had a wonderful fast food Indian lunch in town after the service. They stopped at a bakery shop to pick up some strawberry doughnuts. Jeannie returned to her computer software company a month later. She rose up the corporate ladder to become president, but there was still something missing in her life.
Once Andy graduated from college, Jeannie retired. She looked deep within herself for something more. It was difficult to be patient in that process. Marriage appeared not to be in the cards for her life.
Jeannie set high standards for what she wanted in a husband. She said multiple times, “ He would have to be perfect.”
There were multiple opportunities to lower her standards, especially as she got older. Jeannie refused, but she found being retired and single boring at her age.
On a lark, Jeannie took trumpet lessons downtown at the local community center. She was terrible at first. Three years later after hours of practice, she was good enough to join the community jazz band.
The group practiced every Wednesday evening. The director, David Lehman, took a liking to Jeannie. David was a former food critic who had been widowed for several years. He got up the courage to ask Jeannie out one day after a long practice.
“Would you like to get a cup of hot, black coffee?”
“Are you asking me out on a date?”
“Whether you say yes or not?”
“Oh, yeah. Yes.”
The pair enjoyed a lovely afternoon and several more after that. Jeannie fell in love for the first time in her life. David got the local community jazz band together to help him pop the question to Jeannie during one of their concerts.
“Jeannie Allen, will you marry me?”
The band gave a drum roll. The crowd cheered, and David waited for an answer. Jeannie shook her head.
The band stopped playing. And, the crowd fell silent. David’s face turned a deep shade of red. Jeannie’s shoulders raised, and she smirked.
The band broke into some traditional wedding music, and the crowd roared. Reverend Andy Allen came out from off stage. David planned to marry Jeannie on stage.
“Now? You want to get married right now?”
Andy married his mother and new step-father right on the stage. He was thrilled to see his mother find love. Jeannie and David spent a month on a honeymoon to Europe.
Jeannie and David enjoyed several happy years of marriage. They never had a fight the entire time they were married. Jeannie loved him until David died years later in his sleep. Soon after, Jeannie moved in with Andy and his family.
Jeannie had a wonderful time being a grandmother to Cassie, Darla, and Manoka. She enjoyed going to their school events. Those kids loved Grandma Jeannie with all their hearts until she passed away after a short battle with pancreatic cancer.
Jeannie died with a sweet smile on her face at the age of 87.
Grey, Grizzled, and Gaijin
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“”We all die. The goal isn’t to live forever, the goal is to create something that will.”- Chuck Palahniuk
Originally published at http://craiginjapan.wordpress.com on January 9, 2022.