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The first time I saw Jean, she was walking down the street pretty as could be, hair done up like a Marilyn Monroe lookalike. I nearly collapsed from nerves. When she passed by me, a smiled weakly, palms sweating and knees shaking. I am not sure what she thought of me at that point in time, but my eyes were fixed to her as she continued to walk by, and I made it my plan to marry her right then and there, whether she knew it or not.

The next time I saw Jean, she was sitting downtown in the local diner, ordering a cheeseburger and fries. It was a Saturday evening, and not much was going on. I couldn’t figure out what such a pretty girl like that was doing all by her lonesome. So, mustering up all of the strength that I could, I approached her booth. I was running a bunch of lines through my head, trying to figure out which one would sound the least planned out, and certain least cheesy.

When I finally made it to her table I came up with the extraordinary, “Hi, I’m Jack, mind if I sit with you?” As it turns out, Jean had no problems enjoying some company. Turns out she knew who I was, and had seen me plenty of times around town. I guess not many people approached her, perhaps they had the same nervous disorder that I had, and I was just lucky enough to have a minute of strength to step in and take charge.

Jean and I hit it off, and began getting together about once each week. Word got around that we were dating, inspiring a lot of envy among town. That did a lot for my self-esteem, although I must admit, I still felt a flutter of butterflies every time I rang that doorbell to pick up my Jean.
Jean was known for her great personality. She was indeed a bit of a movie star. She changed her look up often. She actually worked as a nurse at the local hospital. Her greatest pleasure came from serving others, and making them feel loved, cared for and adored. This feeling came across not just in her work, but in the way she treated her family.

Jean would often surprise those she loved, including me, with small handmade gifts. She had a knack with a sewing machine, and with writing poetry. Once she got to know someone, she would take the time to create a personalized document that included words stealthily put together, reflecting something unique about that person’s personality, quirks, interests, or life story.

I’ll never forget the first time that Jean wrote me a love poem. I still have it to this day. It was the most romantic and loving gift I ever received. Most women would expect something like that from their husband. I have to admit I felt a little awkward, not having something so incredible to offer my Jean. But that was just who Jean was. The caregiver in her wouldn’t think of having me attempt feebly to write something in return.

Instead, I did what I do best for Jean. I cooked her an amazing cheeseburger, with a strawberry malts. They were her favorite. Jean had a knack for bringing out the best in everyone. She had an infectious laugh, and once she started, you couldn’t hold back.
One of the lines she wrote always stuck with me. I will never forget this one, short, simple and poignant:

“You are a milky way, a starry night of bliss; when I look at you, I find myself, whole…”

In memory of Jean, we are celebrating after with a reception that includes cheeseburgers and her favorite, strawberry malts. I hope you can all attend. Thank you Jean, for making life so interesting, and for loving everyone with such a great intensity, that you brought out the best in all of us. We hope that you find the peace in heaven, that you so very much deserve. We’ll miss you!

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