Absent …. from the body, my sweet Gigi is present with her Lord and Savior. Three years ago today, at 5:30 in the morning, surrounded by family, and hand in hand with the man she had faithfully loved for 64 years, my dear Gigi stepped into eternity. Her faith became sight, she sorrowed no more.
I will say again what I said when I marked 2 years and will probably think for years to come. In some ways these 3 years have gone so quickly and at other times the moments have seemed to drag. I cannot imagine what these last years have been like for my Gigi. In Heaven with all its splendor, glory, and beauty and being face to face with her Savior; I can hardly wrap my mind around it. Three years in Heaven is not even a dot on the page in the book of eternity. To see the physical realities of the faith you treasured, what an amazing hope we have in Christ.
I miss having Gigi in the kitchen with me. Over the years she taught me to cook. She was the consummate hostess and passed on to me her desire to show love through food. I miss having her living example, but will always have the legacy, of how she selflessly loved her husband. I miss how Gigi cried every time she spoke of her daddy. He died when she was 14. I miss the sounds and smells of them living in our home. I miss sharing Christmas with them. The hard part is living with the familiarity of what once was. We are still here, in this home we shared with them, and while many things are much the same they are so very, very different. I miss seeing both Gigi and Papa with our children; they each took so much joy and delight in the lives of those around them. I loved watching Chad and the kids help them both to the table for dinner. I miss having every one of our dining chairs full.
Once again, we will have Top Ramen and Garlic English Muffins tonight for dinner. A funny memorial dinner isn’t it? Definitely not because that was all she could cook … no way! She was an amazing cook! We really could be having Stuffed Mushrooms, homemade pasta, Italian Chicken or steak and spaghetti with oil and vinegar salad, Manicotti or one of my favorite birthday dinners she used to make me as an adult …. Calzones! She was a masterful cook. No, we are having Top Ramen and Garlic English Muffins because that is what the children remember most that she made for Papa and for them. The years they lived with us she didn’t cook much at all but Papa loved Top Ramen and Garlic English Muffins, and she loved Papa, so she made him those as often as she could in the early years of living with us. Mitchell and Isabelle especially have memories of slipping next door to the trailer and joining Papa and Gigi for a lunch of Top Ramen and Garlic English Muffins. Silly dinner I know, but it fits the memories and gives us a little part of Gigi for the day.
Last year I was still having a hard time looking at their photos. Recently, for the first time since her memorial service, I was able to watch the slideshow we played at her service. I thought I would share it again. I love the photos and memories associated with them and I love, love, love the music it plays to. Tennessee Ernie Ford singing the old Hymns was a favorite of Papa and Gigi’s. We played those CD’s for them for days on end, literally for months. William and JD still love the CD’s and they are part of what they listen to every night as they are drifting off to sleep. Every song brings a flood of memories for me. As Tennessee sings those beautiful words, I can see them and what our lives were together. Bittersweet memories I will treasure forever.