Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A Tear and a Smile

Tommie Jann Burns
May 31, 1940 - February 25, 2008

My Mother-in-Law, my Friend, my Role Model.
I loved you in Life; I will surely love you in Death.

I would that my life remain a tear and a smile.

A tear to purify my heart and give me understanding
of life's secrets and hidden things.
A smile to draw me nigh to the sons of my kind and
to be a symbol of my glorification of the gods.

A tear to unite me with those of broken heart;
a smile to be a sign of my joy in existence.
(From A Tear and a Smile, by Kahlil Gibran, 1883-1931)

[Photo taken December 25, 2007.]

Mom's memorial service will be on Saturday, March 1, at 2p. Between now and then, we will start cleaning out the house, getting it ready to be sold. Donica will start back to work on Monday, after a clean bill of health on her shoulder surgery yesterday morning.

Life will go on. We all feel a sense of release/relief. We will grieve. We will cry. And we will remember the good times.

For all your support and condolences, thank you!


  1. Dear Donica and Ginnie, my condolences with the passing away of your mother and mother-in-law, my thoughts are with you both. Knowing that your mom is without pain and sorrow now, may that thought be of comfort to you. Cherish the good moments with her and let that be a happy memory, heel veel sterkte for the time to come.

  2. I join Astrid in sending my love wishes to Donica and you, and to all the family. It's a treasure, all those hours together you had in Atlanta these past few years, you must be very grateful. It's true, those memories, and knowing she suffers no more, are the comfort now. I know how perfect the timing was for Donica to be home and actually have so much time to attend to all the details surrounding this. I also know you will treasure the hours you had sitting by Jann's bed, touching her and caring for her. I hope you'll find out some day what that meant to her.

    These Gibran lines are so lovely.

  3. Dear Ginnie and Donica,

    Hereby I send you my condoleances with the death of your MOM, all the strenght you need, take the time to be with your family, of course life will continue and you must go on...

    But now you can or may, stand still and grieve now and later a bit, and remember the good times.

    The end and the start of a new life, will make the life-circle round. It all belongs to life. Of course you will cry.

    Use (maybe) your camera to help you with your grieve, take all the time you need dear Ginnie, also for Donica , take care.

    Many warm wishes and a BIG hug from JoAnn (HOLLAND)

  4. I believe so much that death is not the end but a new beginning. We miss those who pass on, but truthfully it should be a time of celebration.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and Donica as you move through the emotions surrounding the changes in your lives.

    Peace, and Love,

  5. Ginnie - I know this is more of a relief to you both and know that she is now in the right place and you will find things of her everywhere while you are out hunting photos. Best of luck in the next couple of weeks. I will be thinking of you for sure! (As I have been during the last week.)

  6. No words can express how sorry I am for you both, but know it must be a great relief to know Tommie Jann is now at rest and the suffering for her is now over.
    You are both in my thoughts daily.

  7. Ginnie and Donica,
    As all the words have been appropriately said above and more shall be said below, I wish you both peace through the next few days and weeks ahead. Love surrounds you.

  8. I'm so sorry, Ginnie, but I know it was a release for you all. My condolences to all who knew and loved Donica's mom.

  9. Oh, I'm so sorry Ginnie. Your photo captures Donica's mom so beautifully. I almost feel like she was someone I knew personally. She was taken far too soon by this cruel disease, but at least she is at peace now and no longer suffering. My heart is with you all.

  10. Astrid: We have nothing but good memories now and our hearts are full of Mom! We love her in death as we have loved her in life. Thank you.

    Ruth: We had almost 5 years with Mom here in Atlanta and that has been our biggest blessing. She could have still been in CA. I will never forget the time at her bedside, watching her breathe her last, even as I watched Dad. Those memories last a lifetime.

    JoAnn: This is a good bonding time with the family. A time to grieve together! Thank you.

    T1: Absolutely, Kim. This is the beginning for all of us. Things will never be the same without her. Things will never be the same for her either. We are having great moments remembering Mom and sharing our stories. This is what celebrating her is all about.

    ET: Thank you, Jen. I will find her everywhere I go, I'm sure!

    Lurch: Your words of comfort uphold us these days, Tracy. Thank you!

    Mad: Thank you. Love is everything. Thank you.

    Christina: You are with me, dear friend. Thank you for your thoughts.

    Karen: She is so free now and we love it for her. She was in much suffering these last 3 weeks. I agree with you that looking at this image makes you feel like you know her. She had the most beautiful smile in the world. Thank you.

  11. Bless you all , Ginnie. I didn't realize your mother in law was so young! Take care, and my thoughts are with you and Donica.

  12. Wow, I see so much of Donica in Jann's face in this picture . . . and it immediately brings tears to my eyes. What I knew about Jann I knew through knowing Donica. Donica's strength, thoughtfulness and caring nature came from somewhere and it's clear that Jann epitomized all of those qualities and more. I am glad that both Dennis and I (and Nicholas) will be able to join you on Saturday for the memorial service where we'll all cry together! Much love to you both.

  13. Ginnie and Donica, Our hearts, our prayers and our love go out to you and the entire family. We all shed a tear and share a smile knowing that Jann is at peace now and that we will be blessed for our lifetimes with wonderful memories of her and all that she meant to so many people. All our love, Dennis, Noelle and Brooke

  14. My thoughts and prayers go out to you both and to the extended family. I've always thought it was great that you two were able to visit Jann so often in the past few years as you came and went in your busy schedule. I'm sure it meant the world to her to have you so close.

    I wish you both peace and comfort.


  15. A well deserved rest has finally come. Ginnie and Donica - as we've shared this journey with you we've felt the sadness - but as I felt when I lost my Dad so similarly - when you have wonderful memories you are so blessed. Our thoughts, prayers and love will continue to be with you and the rest of your family. Judy and Dave

  16. RRD: She was just 5 years older than me, Stacey. And that feels way too young, yes. Thank you for your loving thoughts.

    Amy: Oh yes, it's in their mouths and smiles. I will always be reminded of Mom through Donica.

    Dennis: Thank you. Thank you. You being here this weekend will be pure gift for both of us.

    Mark: Thank you, dear son, for your thoughts and comment!

    Judy: You have been with us all the way, and that means the world to us. Thank you.

  17. My thoughts and condolences are with you both and the family. You will grieve and cry, but I know you will smile again thinking of her. I an glad that Donica's mom didn't have to suffer too long and now has peace.

    We'll see you in Holland soon. I'll send a separate e-mail with details.
    Love to you both.

  18. My condolences, it's allways very hard when one of our dearest and most loved ones passes away.
    But as you so bravely wrote: Life will go on. Keep the good memories, forever.

  19. I'm very sorry to hear about your mother-in-law - what a lovely woman she was!

    "May her soul be bound up in the bonds of eternal life(Tehei nafshecha tzerurah bitzeror hachaim)".

    May G-d give the two of you stregnth during this difficult time and comfort in her memory as time goes on.


  20. Dear, dear Bootsie and Donica,

    I have gone back and forth between picking up the phone or leaving a message here....

    What a blessing God gave you both in time for good-byes and not a prolonged struggle. I trust you will be comforted in the knowledge of Who is in control and His peace.

    I love you both,

  21. CS: We, too, are so glad she did not suffer long. The "bad" time was only 3-1/2 weeks. Unbelievable. Yes, we will see you soon in Holland, God willing and the creek don't rise!

    Tor: We're at that age when death will happen around us more and more. It's Life's Journey, as you know. Thank you, Tor.

    Steve: Her soul is indeed bound up in the bonds of eternal life where Yahweh G-d holds her in G-d's everlasting arms. Thank you for your loving thoughts, Steve!

    Mrs. M: We feel your loving care, Shari, and know what YOU are going through with your own dad. Please know we hold you at this time. Thanks for holding us! We love you, too.

  22. Dear Ginnie and Donica,
    My deepest condolences! It must be a great loss for you and I will be thinking of you at the 1st of March.
    Be strong and think of all the good memories and all the good things you have experienced together.

  23. My thoughts are with you and Donica and your extended families.
    So sorry.

  24. She is beautiful... I see so much of her in Donica. Hugs.

  25. I only just read this. My sincere sympathy to the two of you. Thinking of you both.