In my January 15 reflection posted on this blog I wrote:
“Finally, I received a small package in the mail today from Jan Crawford in California. She included a bag full of little glass hearts and her card read, “Just a little BAG OF LOVE to remind you how many hearts are behind you…” I have been handing out glass hearts to people this afternoon. I know Jan will understand my impulse to “share the love”; so often we assume that others know we care without any outward expression of it. Please know, whether you received a little glass heart today or not, you are loved.”
This morning Jan Crawford passed away from cancer. Jan, my friend Wendy’s mother, was a woman with a huge personality — when people say someone is a “force of nature”, Jan is the type of person they are describing. The size of her personality was matched only by the size of her heart. She loved Wendy, and took into her heart every person who was part of Wendy’s life…which is how Jan came into my life.
For Christmas a year ago, Jan sent me 12 t-shirts, each bearing a different sassy phrase: “I am currently away from my office”, “Teamwork means a bunch of people doing what I say”, “Sarcasm, just another service I offer.” When I joined Sister’s Health Club last March, I wore a different shirt each of my first twelve workouts. The other women at the club said they couldn’t wait each morning to see what my shirt would say, and their curiousity and enjoyment broke the ice and helped us develop a sense of comaraderie. No one knew what to say the day I wore my personal favorite — “Egrets…I’ve had a few…”
In January, when Jan sent the package I wrote about, she was already well into her fight with cancer. That she took the time to encourage me when she was feeling so ill meant a great deal. In February and early March, I received several small packages, each containing items Jan was passing on to me: a book of poetry, napkins with a humorous theme, a favorite quote that had been hanging on the wall in her office. While it is true that Jan, like all of us, had her idiosynchrasies and flaws, what I have come back to again and again is one characteristic that will stick with me: Jan was fiercely generous.
Tonight, those who were close to Jan are, I imagine, feeling many things. My heart goes out to them. What I am feeling is gratitude for the many generous gifts Jan brought to the lives of those around her, including mine. May we all discover this fierce generosity within our own hearts!