So many things remind me of her. When I drink a glass of red wine, I think of the spots on her white shirts. We used to joke about giving her a shirt with wine spots already on it. It wasn’t that she was messy – just that someone was always bumping into her and spilling it.
I think of her when I walk past a Black/White store. Jan, Lori and I spent a day shopping, and Lori and I sat on a bench and chatted while we waited for Jan. We finally realized she’d been gone a really long time, and thought she had continued shopping without us. But it turned out she found some great bargains in Black/White, and was STILL in the same store where we left her, shopping for a Disney cruise they were taking with their family.
There was Halloween, when she stuffed a couple of huge balloons under her shirt and went as the winner of a wet t-shirt contest. Listening to her explain how she painted glasses. The hours we talked at the Nav-A-Gator, at parties, and concerts. And the last time I saw her, when she explained how her life was going to change because of her diagnosis, and how she’d miss her wine, but it was a small price to pay.
Jan was warm, friendly, caring. Patient. Funny. Bright. You always knew where you stood with her. But overall, I remember her offering her friendship to the new girl in town, when I didn’t know many people.
I like to think that she’s still out there somewhere, laughing, drinking wine, walking on the beach. Loving her family. Being a friend.
Wherever she is, I hope she knows how much she was, and is, loved.
Miss you, my friend.