I received the phone call on Sunday morning when I was working in Vernon, that my beloved brother-in-law Jack had passed away. As all my family, except my ex-husbands and children live in New Zealand I knew the time I got the phone call - interestingly enough my phone battery had died and so I did not get the battery recharged and finally listen to the message nearly 12 hours after it came in - everyone would still be asleep. So decided to wait to 'phone my brother first (who left the message) and my sister (whose husband had just past) until after I was home. So I kept on working at the Body Soul & Wellness Fair I was exhibiting at.
Upon arriving home I phoned both my brother and sister. I immediately was in the picture and knew what was going on.
My brother-in-law Jack had experienced two strokes many months ago, the second one being quite severe and so was hospitalized as he needed 24 hour care. As my sister said it was a blessing really, as he was not a good patient and it had been hard on her as she had visited every day with him requesting to go 'home' which he knew could not be done, but wanted it anyway.
Jack had been like a second Dad to me. Every school holiday I would go and stay at the 'farm' with my sister Beryl and her husband Jack and their five children. In some ways as their eldest child is not much younger than me I always felt like their first born. My sister was nearly sixteen when I came along, and she married Jack 18 months later. He had been a prescence in my life since the beginning. I do not remember a time when he was not there.
Jack had a talent. That talent was he was great with kids. I loved him as a child and even though as an adult could see some faults due to his childhood, I loved him dearly. As an adult I could see he was not always easy to live with, but as a child I adored him.
The same happened with my children. There was a time, when I spent six months in New Zealand with the two kids. They were aged eight and six and we spent most of that time living on the 'farm' with them. At that time their two youngest were still home and they both (Beryl & Jack) took us in. My children's memory of that time is still bright and we talk about it often. Jack became a favorite Uncle during those months. My brother says his children felt the same. He had three of them, and they loved going to visit the farm and Uncle Jack.
As adults, when Rob went to do his traveling around the world (well New Zealand and Australia) Bridget and I went down to join him for his first Christmas away from us in Canada. Then came January, which was hot summer and hay baling time, we were all down at the 'farm' there was Rob helping with the hay (grass allergies and all) and then the three of us visiting the cousins and her other Aunt & Uncle. The way we traveled around visiting people was in my Dad's old car which needed lots of car and attention - thanks to Rob we managed it and it is truly another story.
I think everyone needs a Jack in their lives. Someone who loves you unconditionally. Someone who you know is there for you. They don't say a lot, but you know you are loved.
Everytime I went back to New Zealand for a visit, I could feel the acceptance and desire for you to know you were special to him. My dear Jack will be missed by many of us, but when I go back to visit this coming Christmas there will definately be a big space left because he will not be there in person.
Luckily, I am able to see and speak with him from the other side, and I look forward to the day (as it will happen) that he will come 'visit'. He would not fly to Canada to visit. But as my daughter says, "now he can come visit". I await that day with loving patience.
I went to see the movie 'Doubt' Tuesday night. As the credits rolled, there with space on either side (and you know how they usually list the names all bunched together in the credits at the end of the movie) was the name John Rusk. Jack was born John, but called Jack. I felt it was a sign .... all is well. I knew that, but it was good to see.
In the meantime Jack, until we get to speak, rest in peace, heal and know you left many people loving you.
Your loving sister,
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