Click here for Best of 2020-2021 pics. Tap or click each set of pics for higher resolution.
Our shortlist of the things we loved about the last few years:
December 2019: We loved watching the Broadway hit musical, Come From Away. Tickets for the President’s Box at the Kennedy Center were compliments of the Canadian Embassy and preceded by an event where we met the producers and an actual passenger from one of the 38 flights grounded in Newfoundland by the FAA on Sept 11th. It’s a rousing, creative, touching recounting of how the small town of Gander took care of 7000 passengers for an entire week. We met the cast afterward and came away with Maple Leaf mittens and other fun swag.
February 2020: I loved that Carl finally retired the day before Leap Day, saying goodbye to over 30 years of faithful service at the FAA—and saying hello to full time life in C’ville. I loved the colorful array of retirement refreshments so creatively planned to reflect all my true love’s favorite things. JB, Katie, Will and Elizabeth joined us to listen as FAA and aviation industry folks heaped heartfelt accolades on Carl. Click this link to see his favorite!
March – December 2020 Silver Linings: Carl’s retirement came with uncanny timing; little did we imagine that his first few months of freedom before he began to consult would be in quarantine. I loved having him home full time to hike with friends, take in a C’ville graffiti tour, host his sister and BIL in The CharlottesVilla, explore a few local wineries and share our stay at home Christmas Eve with Carol and JinJan!
Speaking of mom, I loved having her close by at an independent living apartment 1/2 mile away, so that when Covid shut down the world, we could still fetch her and bring her with us on long drives to see spring unfurl across the mountains. Or over to our house for one of Chef Carl’s grilled dinners. She was undeterred by Covid, kept attending Sunday School each week in person, did Charlottesville Women’s Community Bible Study (CBS) via Zoom and had long phone calls with friends and family.
I loved rolling out Zoom MomsHooPray in September, allowing moms not only from all over VA but also from PA, NJ, MD, SC, GA, FL and TX to join us. The NoVA group is still going strong; they are in their 12th year of prayer for UVA students, faculty and fellowships. I loved that Carl became the Charlottesville Men’s CBS Assistant Teaching Director. (He leads a Zoom core group; JB and friends from NoVA and CT join him weekly.)
January – April 2021 Bittersweet Days: We loved when JinJan got her vaccine, followed by Carl and finally me—feeling grateful for a light at the end of the tunnel. Sadly, that tunnel stayed dark because my mom’s stage 4 lung cancer finally caught up with her in March 2021. After a harrowing night in the ER and 2 nights in the ICU, she chose to come home to hospice. Carol drove up from Atlanta and we put a plan in place. JinJan’s three kids, along with two spouses and two out of three grandkids had one-on-one special time with her in the first week home when she was still talking a blue streak and enjoying all the attention after so much Covid isolation.
On April 12, 2021 she went peacefully to her heavenly home. I loved how her final days were happy—even facing death—because she was surrounded by family, receiving lots of sweet cards and enjoying conversations with the Home Healthcare workers late into the night. I love that she had such a strong faith so she wasn’t fearful as her body weakened. I love how she never stopped telling us, “I love you” even when she could barely speak. I loved seeing my brother and sister over the course of those 3 weeks. I loved how my husband was such a strong sacrificial support to Carol and I, cooking and delivering meals, sitting with JinJan and taking many night shifts.
May – December 2021 – We loved that Mom’s memorial service on May 22 was a celebration of all the seeds of love that she planted. We loved that the mask mandate was lifted a day before her service so we could see each other’s faces. You can hear memories shared by Carl, JB and Will in this video of her service, listen to some of her favorite music on Spotify, or watch a slideshow of her life.
May 27, Carl and I celebrated 42 years of learning to love each other well in good and bad times. We loved being treated to a wonderful anniversary meal here in C’ville by Will and Elizabeth while they visited.
We love that Will and Elizabeth got engaged at Crater Lake, Oregon in July! (I especially loved the look of shock on E’s face when Will took her by surprise!)
We loved offering some of JinJan’s furniture to JB and Katie. I loved setting up a beautiful guest room so that I could return several times in the fall and help them find and utilize hidden space and do a bit of decorating.
I love that my sister Carol moved from Atlanta to C’ville—only 1/2 a mile from me—at the end of August; I love walking and talking with her several times every week. We are so much alike in temperament. I love when people ask if we are twins or sisters. (We don’t see the twin thing—but sisters—for sure!) I love Carol’s sense of humor and getting the giggles with her. She wisely surmised in March, before mom was sent home on hospice, that we were going to need more help than Hospice was going to give us. She astutely remarked that even with the two of us working together, “Two bad nurses do not equal one good nurse!”
I love that this letter has ended and that you know (in case you were wondering) that we are alive and well—extremely grateful for your love and friendship!
“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” Jeremiah 31:3