Tom's Letter

 

            SWARTHMORE MEMORIAL SERVICE

            April 7, 2001 

I WELCOME ALL OF YOU TO THIS LOVELY SPOT ON THIS BEAUTIFUL CAMPUS ON WHICH JANIE COULD BE SEEN REGULARLY WALKING FROM ONE TO FOUR OF OUR SHELTIES

PEOPLE FROM ALL THE COMMUNITIES SHE LOVED -- THE WONDERFUL DOG COMMUNITY, THE DEDICATED AND CARING MEDICAL COMMUNITY FROM THE PROFESSION SHE LOVED SO MUCH (BUT TALKED LITTLE ABOUT AND ONE THAT TOOK HER SOME TIME TO COME TO); THE BEAUTIFUL INCREDIBLE TOWN AND ITS PEOPLE -- ALL OF THEM FROM NEIGHBORS TO TEACHERS STORE OWNERS, PARENTS OF THE FRIENDS OF OUR TWO WONDERFUL CHILDREN; AND LAST BUT MORE INDIRECTLY THE PENN COMMUNITY THAT IS SO MUCH A PART OF MY LIFE, AGAIN ONE SHE TALKED ABOUT RARELY BUT I KNEW SHE CARED ABOUT DEEPLY BECAUSE IT WAS IMPORTANT TO ME.

WE GATHER IN THIS BEAUTIFUL WOODED AMPHITHEATRE TODAY FOR A TERRIBLY TRAGIC REASON, BUT ALSO I MUST STRESS THAT WE ARE HERE TO REMEMBER AND CELEBRATE THE LIFE OF A WONDERFUL BUT QUIET (EXCEPT, AS SOME OF THE DOGS FOLKS CAN ATTEST, IN SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES!!) PERSON, TO CELEBRATE THE LIFE AND THE WONDERFUL FAMILY WE CREATED TOGETHER IN OUR ALMOST 33 YEARS OF MARRIAGE

JANIE WAS A PERSON WHO OFTEN HELD HER MANY LIGHTS UNDER A BUSHEL WITH A QUIET THAT SOME TOOK, INCORRECTLY, AS ALOOFNESS. OTHERS KNEW DIFFERENTLY WHEN THEY SAW HER SMILE. SHE LIKE ALL OF THE REST OF US HAD DEMONS TO STRUGGLE WITH AND SHE WRESTLED THEM HARD AND WITH SUCCESS.

I AM SURE THAT SHE IS, AND I USE THAT TENSE INTENTIONALLY,

DEEPLY, EXTREMELY MOVED TO SEE HOW MANY PEOPLE HAVE COME OUT TO MOURN OUR LOSS OF HER AND TO CELEBRATE HER LIFE TO WARM HER SOUL AND OURS, ESPECIALLY ON SUCH A COLD DAY.

AS I HAVE ALREADY NOTED SHE HAD MANY LIGHTS AND EXPERIENCES THAT SHE OFTEN KEPT MOSTLY OR PARTLY COVERED.

FROM HER LOVE OF FRENCH AND BIOLOGY -- HER UNDERGRAD MAJORS AT BERKELEY -- SHE GENUINELY LOVED BOTH AND HAD A HARD TIME DECIDING WHICH TO MAKE A MAJOR AND WHICH A MINOR..

FROM TACKLING THE CHALLENGES OF LIFE IN CENTRAL AFRICA IN THE MID 1970, INCLUDING A TREK IN SEARCH OF GORILLAS IN THE EARLY MORNING MISTS ABOVE THE TEA PLANTATIONS IN LOVELY KIVU -- THE SITE OF SUCH TERRIBLE EVENTS THE LAST FIVE YEARS TO TEACHING IN A FOREIGN SCHOOL IN KOREA AND CLIMBING ITS MOUNTAINS.

FROM HER LOVE OF FRANCE TO HER APPRECIATION OF THE VARIETY OF PLACES IN THE EASTERN U.S. WHERE SHE SHOWED OUR DOGS -- FROM MAINE TO ATLANTA, PENNSYLVANIA TO OHIO.

FROM WAITING TABLES AT THE AWAHNEE HOTEL IN YOSEMITE THE SUMMER BEFORE WE GOT MARRIED TO RUNNING THE HUMAN RIGHTS CENTER AT COLUMBIA TO DELIVERING BABIES AND GIVING CARE AND COMFORT TO PARENTS OF ALL BACKGROUNDS.

FROM THE ALMOST UNFATHOMABLE RELATIONSHIP WITH OUR DOGS -- THE DAY TO DAY SHEER POWER OF THEIR LOVE TO THE RIGORS OF TRAINING AND INTENSE COMPETITION WHICH SHE SO LOVED BUT ABOUT WHICH SHE DEVELOPED A VERY BALANCED PERSPECTIVE -- ONE THAT MIXED THE EXCITEMENT WITH AN INTENSE LOVE OF THE SPORT, WHETHER WINNING OR NOT.

FROM KEEPING UP WITH THE MEDICAL NEWS AND KNOWLEDGE SHE LOVED SO MUCH [BOTH HUMAN AND ANIMAL -- HENCE THE SHELTIE RESEARCH FUND WE ARE SUGGESTING FOR MEMORIAL GIFTS] VIA HER MANY NEWSLETTERS, JOURNALS AND HER FAVORITE SECTION TO THE NEW YORK TIMES (FOR WHICH I WOULD BE CHIDED IF I DID NOT SEPARATE IT OUT ALONG WITH THE INTERNATIONAL SECTIONS FOR ME BEFORE PUTTING ON THE RECYCLING PILE).

FROM HER LOVE OF WINE AND FINE CUISINE, COMPLICATED BY THE LIQUOR SYSTEM IN THIS STATE AND HER LESS THAN ENTHUSIASTIC APPRECIATION FOR BIG CITIES (EXCEPT SAN FRANCISCO AND PARIS) TO HER PASSION FOR DANCE, ESPECIALLY BALLET, WHICH SHE DID UNTIL HER KNEES COULD NO LONGER STAND IT AND HER SUBSEQUENT SWITCH TO BALLET PHOTOGRAPHY (SOME OF WHICH WILL BE ON DISPLAY AT THE RECEPTION); TO HER RECENT EXPERIENCE WITH HER WEIGHT TRAINING OF WHICH SHE WAS (RIGHTLY) SO PROUD.

SO, FROM THE TUMULTUOUS DAYS IN BERKELEY IN 1968-69 IN THE MIDDLE OF A TERRIBLE WAR INTO WHICH WE WERE PERSONALLY SUCKED, ALTHOUGH FORTUNATE ENOUGH TO MISS THE HONORS OF VIETNAM FOR THE PEACEFUL JOYS OF KOREA, TO THE WONDERFUL AND MUCH MORE QUIET IF OFTEN OVERLY BUSY DAYS OF SWARTHMORE AND THE LIVES OF OUR WONDERFUL CHILDREN WHOM SHE LOVED DEEPLY AND IN WAYS SHE COULD SOMETIMES NOT FULLY EXPRESS, I HAD AN AMAZING PARTNER IN LIFE, WHO TERRIBLE LOSS I WILL STRUGGLE TO OVERCOME BUT NOT FORGET.

ABOUT SIX MONTHS AGO JANIE AND I HAD MADE A DIFFICULT DECISION FOR ME TO PULL BACK FROM MANY OF THE TASKS I WAS ENGAGED IN ON AT PENN IN ORDER TO HAVE MORE A "NORMAL" LIFE AGAIN. I WAS DOING THIS FOR HER AND FOR JOHN-MICHAEL AND KATHLEEN. IT WILL NOW COME TO PASS BUT WITHOUT HER -- A THOUGHT THAT IS ALMOST UNBEARABLE TO ME.

THANK YOU FOR BEARING WITH ME PROBABLY A LITTLE LONGER THAN I SHOULD HAVE TAKEN. I WILL HAVE A FEW MORE THINGS TO SAY AT THE END OF THIS SERVICE BEFORE WE MOVE TO THE FRIENDS MEETING HOUSE FOR THE RECEPTION IN HER HONOR AND THE HONOR OF ALL OF THOSE WHO LOVED HER.

            ***************

I WANT TO THANK ALL OF YOU AGAIN FOR COMING AND URGE ALL OF YOU TO JOIN US AT THE RECEPTION.

I ALSO WANT TO EXTEND A SPECIAL THANKS TO KAREN MC ANDRIS FOR HER WONDERFUL HELP IN THIS TERRIBLE TIME AND FOR ALL OF THOSE WHO HELPED PUT TOGETHER AND PARTICIPATE IN THIS SERVICE.

I HAVE ONE FINAL THING TO SAY:

MANY, MANY OF YOU HERE AND ELSEWHERE HAVE ASKED ME HOW YOU CAN HELP US. THERE IS ONE QUITE SIMPLY BUT SOMETIMES TRICKY WAY YOU CAN HELP TO EASE OUT PAIN, ESPECIALLY MINE. JANIE DIED IN A TERRIBLE ACCIDENT, BUT IT WAS AN ACCIDENT THAT DID NOT HAVE TO HAPPEN.

SO THE ONE SIMPLE BUT TRICKY THING: AND THAT IS THAT WHENEVER YOU GET SLEEPY WHILE DRIVING YOU DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT IMMEDIATELY, REGARDLESS OF WHETHER YOU HAVE TO WAKE A LOVED ONE OUT OF A SOUND AND PEACEFUL SLEEP OR ARE ALMOST HOME OR ALMOST TO A PLANED REST STOP; DO NOT HESITATE TO ACT SWIFTLY. WE HAVE ALL BEEN IN THIS POSITION AND HAVE SLIPPED THROUGH. BUT SOMETIMES WE DONíT SLIP THROUGH... SO I BEG OF YOU, IF YOU WANT TO DO ONE THING TO EASE MY PAIN AND LOSS, PLEASE HEED MY PLEA.

I HAVE ALREADY HAD ONE VICTORY ON THIS FRONT -- A CLOSE FRIEND OF MINE WHO WAS UNABLE TO COME TODAY WAS GOING TO DRIVE HER TWO CHILDREN AND HERSELF TO NEW YORK CELEBRATE PASSOVER WITH HER HUSBAND AND HIS FAMILY. A WRITER AND MOTHER, SHE HAD BEEN GETTING INADEQUATE SLEEP FOR THE LAST TWO WEEKS. SHE CALLED HER MOTHER-IN -LAW TO FLY TO WASHINGTON TO DRIVE THEM TO New York.

IF I COULD BELIEVE THAT MORE PEOPLE WOULD HEED THIS INJUNCTION AND AVOID OUR TERRIBLE LOSS IT WOULD BRING SOME SOLACE TO MY SOUL AND TO JOHN-MICHAEL AND KATHLEEN.

THANK YOU AGAIN.


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Revised: December 04, 2006 .