My cousin Mary Jeannine with her mom ,my Aunt Jeannine (not to be confused with my sister Jeannine who comments on the blog) I know it is a lot of Jeannine's in the family!
I loved this picture of my Aunt J because it shows her high cheek bones and her gorgeous green eyes.
My Aunt Jeannine died unexpectedly this week, she is my grandma's youngest sister. I am so saddened by her passing. She is going to leave a legacy behind her. She was incredibly intelligent, well read and educated. I think of her as fearless, and tenacious without being a bulldog. My Aunt J graduated with a degree in Social Work from Loyola University and received her Masters degree from University of Illinois Chicago. All after raising 5 children. Her gift was that she was the world's best listener. She actively listened and always asked interesting and probing questions. She always made you feel that you were the only person in the room. She never was distracted by others conversation her total focus was always on who ever she was speaking with. It truly is a lost art...the art of listening. She traveled the world over and had interesting and funny stories. She has been one of the most supportive people of our adoptions. She would cut out articles about China or Chinese adoptions and send them to me to read. She worked as an adoption social worker in the Chicago area, so she understood the industry well.
There is definitely a hole in our family without her and it has only been a day. My Aunt was my Grandmother's youngest sister. Both of my grandma's sisters had children more in the age range of us. So we spent a lot of fun times with my grandma and her sisters with all of their kids. They were more like our first cousins, rather than our second cousins. My grandma and her two sisters taught all of us what family loyalty was about without being exclusive of others. They shared, they loved, they laughed and they cried together because they were sisters and they were family. The three of them were such an incredibly strong role model to us all.
My grandma and her sisters established our family dynamic where cousins, aunts and uncles celebrate every Christian holiday together in addition to Halloween, New Years and Birthdays. Not because it is an obligation but because we all support, love and enjoy one another. No generation is excluded and my family goes to great length to make sure everyone get's to the party. It is a family dynamic that most people would be envious of. Aunt Jeannine is going to be missed dearly by all of us, because of her authenticity, compassion and wonderful stories. She built a legacy that will continue past her time here on earth. Rest in Peace Aunt Jeannine...you loved and you were loved!