Not ordinary

This is Janine, our Nee-Nee.


My bright, quick, beautiful almost-sister died yesterday, suddenly and leaving an enormous wake in her passing.

I have known Nee-nee since the day of my birth and every sunburned, secret moment of my childhood, every desperate stupid moment of my adolescence and every thoughtful decent moment of my adulthood has Janine in it. My mother considered Neen to be her eldest child, my siblings and I counted her among our own.

I know that when this happens in a family, when a person is ripped from them with no warning or explanation, there are things that we all say. My Mum told me to sit down and to write this, and I started to say all of those things. That Janine was too young and that she had a good life and that she lived fully and that she was exceptional in every possible way and …. I could feel the cliché coming, all the things that every family feels and says when this unthinkable thing happens. Everyone knows that everybody always says them, but the loss of our Nee-nee is so painful that finding myself writing and saying these same ordinary things makes me want to scream. To stand on the street and scream in the rain and to rage out No. That this death, this time for this family it is not the same, this is not the same loss as other losses. That she was the best and the brightest and the most beautiful and she was too young and that I cannot bear for this loss to be ordinary….it can not be ordinary ….

and yet I know that it still is ordinary loss. That our grief is not worse or more or bigger…Last night Ian said that there are 20 000 families in Pakistan who would like to stand with us in the street and scream their own personal, unique loss and grief into the night rain and he is very right. This is the same, the same as every human loss, every heartbreaking unbearable, ordinary loss that adds up to a whole person who is gone now.

I started marking it down then. I started to write down the simple wee things that set her apart. A fraction of the million tiny things we have lost that added up to an extraordinary woman.

Nee-nee fed cheerios to the walrus sculpture in my mums living room when she was four. She couldn’t stand for him not to have a supper. Neen had an imaginary friend named JJ that she called on the phone every day when she was little. When my grandmother died my brother ran down the street and into Neen’s closet. It was Nee-nee who smoked secret cigarettes with me in the bathroom at my grandfathers wake. It was Neen who told me that I had to tell my mum when I failed french, and Neen who told me that I would be a good mum when I was expecting my first. Janine loved pussywillows. Janine bought Amanda skates. When Hank was born Nee-nee told Erin that “sleep was for pussies.” Janine was 40 in May. I never had a cross word with her and am blessed that there is not a moment I wish I could have back.

Nee-nee knew every secret that I ever had.

Nee-nee was beautiful.

Nee-nee read the blog and was a member of Knitters without borders – but she did not knit.

Nee-nee danced at family parties. (We are a dancing family. Few understand this.)

Janine was so good and whole and important a person that it has taken me hours to write her name in the past tense and it is going to take us forever to figure out what the shape the world is if Janine is not in it. If you are the sort, please take a few moments today to think of those who are feeling an extraordinary loss today, particularly Janine’s husband Stephen, her sister Julie, her mother Carol, and my own mum – Janine’s other-mother, Bonnie.

Obviously there will be some changes made to the tour schedule and Rhinebeck while I take this time with my family. My deepest apologies for any inconvenience.

602 thoughts on “Not ordinary

  1. Stephanie. Anything that I might say seems trite in the magnitude of your loss. Know that you are in my thoughts and prayers and that Janine was the luckiest sister in the world to have you as a kindred spirit.

  2. Oh Stephanie, you made me cry. You have written a touching tribute that transcends cliche.
    I am so sorry for your loss.

  3. Stephanie- Don’t you dare apologize for not being where you are “scheduled” to be. None of us will be inconvenienced in the least. My prayers are with you and your family right now. We’ll still be here when you can be back. Right now take the time that you need and don’t worry about your Fiber Family.

  4. I know sorry doesn’t help, but it is all I know how to do. Know that we are all thinking about you and Janine’s family

  5. That is the paradox, that each person is special and ordinary at the same time. Ordinary because there are billions of humans on the planet, but special because of the connections she shared with a select few.
    I honour your rage at her loss and your celebration of the blessings she brought you.
    My condolences.

  6. Oh Stephanie, I cannot tell you how sorry I am for your loss. You are very fortunate to have had such a close friend. I can only imagine how much she will be missed.

  7. Stephanie, your words about your sister in spirit are lovely. I am so sorry for your loss and will be thinking about you and Janine’s family. It’s never happy when a special person passes from us. I wish you peace and strength.

  8. Oh, Steph. I am so, so sorry.
    Thank you for telling us about her – I’m especially charmed about the walrus Cheerios, and the dancing. I’ll be thinking of you and her today.

  9. Stephanie, I am so, so sorry for your loss. My thoughts are with you and your entire family. I’m thinking a toast this weekend to honorary knitter Janine will be in order. And one for you too.

  10. Only you Stephanie, could write such a great piece that would make people cry not only for your loss, but for the mere fact that we did not get the opportunity to know her.
    My biggest hugs and deepest condolences go to you and yours. (I’m sorry if I sound like a fool, I’m never good at condolences. Big hugs though.)

  11. Loss is never easy. Close loss even less. Cleave to those who are close still and who remember with you. And know we’ll be with you in thought till you can return to us online. Take your time. Fill your needs as you deal with the now and what will come.
    Snargle’s Mom

  12. I am so so sorry. I lost my dad last year. I will keep you, your family, Janine and her family in my thoughts and prayers. And forget about the tour for as long as you need to, this is time to be spent with your loved ones.
    Janine seemed to be very loved and a great person (even though she wasn’t a knitter). Keep her in your heart forever.

  13. Know that our thoughts and prayers are with you and Janine’s family. You’ve written a very loving tribute and through the memories you and others have of her you’ll keep her alive in your hearts forever.

  14. You are right — our losses of loved ones are ordinary, yet they are extraordinarily our own. Sometimes I wonder why the pain doesn’t have a shape like a cloud over us, or why the sound of a heart breaking cannot be heard like a crack of thunder. All those who are devastated by Janine’s death are in my prayers.

  15. Stephanie – I am so, so sorry for you and your family and all who knew Janine. I’m sending a big ohm your way. Remember to breathe. xox Tree

  16. I am so, so sorry Stephanie. It is a rare thing in life to have such a friend and I know your life will never be the same without Neen. Find peace and comfort in our thoughts and prayers. Hugs to all who will share your loss.

  17. Death sucks – there’s a cliche for you. Grief is extrodinary painful, but there’s no way around it – you have to go through it. And though we’ve never met, know that I’m with you and Nee-Nee is with you also.

  18. Oh Stephanie, you have my deepest sympathies. It takes a while to figure out how to digest such sad news. The phrase �past tense� is so hard to wrap your head around. I’m still having a hard time with it when talking about my friend’s mom who passed on a couple of weeks ago. Take your time, celebrate her memory, and cherish your family all the more for it. We�ll miss you this weekend, but at least there will be enough yarn for the rest of us now.

  19. Stephanie, I am so sorry. Your post made me cry…yes each loss is ordinary, but to the people left behind it is anything but. I hope writing about it was at least a little bit cathartic. Thinking of you and your family.

  20. I lost my only sibling, my brother, without any warning. I’m sorry that your family has to go through this. You all will be in my prayers.

  21. Stephanie, I am so, so very sorry for the loss of Janine. As you said so eloquently — all losses are both “ordinary” and “extraordinary” at the same time.
    My mom has been gone for over a year. I still speak of her in the present tense. As long as I feel her in my heart, I know that she lives on.
    Janine will always live in your heart, and the hearts of those who love her. She will always be there for you — even when you can’t see her. Sometimes, when you close your eyes, you will even feel her presence, and know that she loves you too.
    Big hugs for you, your family, and Janine’s family.

  22. Stephanie, My deepest condolences to you, your family, and Janine’s family as well. What a terrible loss.

  23. So sorry Stephanie. Nee-Nee sounds like a wonderful person and an amazing friend. I’m sure she felt blessed to have you as her spirit-sister too. She knows you are thinking of her, as you should know that our thoughts are with you, your family and Janine’s family.
    With much love. x

  24. So sorry to hear of this terrible loss. Anyone who is loved is not ordinary. Thank you for taking time to share what you are feeling. Much love to you and your family.

  25. Mahalo for diving into the cliches and finding the truths buried there. What you wrote makes me feel: someone important is missing, someone who should be here is not, I got robbed of my chance to meet her.

  26. Best wishes Stephanie. I can barely imagine having someone who knew every single secret, let alone having that person taken away.

  27. Usually I have to fight laughter when I read your blog at work, today it’s tears. Thoughts and prayers go out to you and the rest of Janine’s family. And don’t you dare apologize, this is a time you need to be with family and everyone understands.

  28. I’m so sorry for your loss, especially with no warning and too young. Its good, however, that you had someone so unique and extraordinary in your life. My prayers and thoughts are with you and your family.

  29. Stephanie, I am so deeply sorry for your loss. I only hope that Janine will find a good place in heaven – right next to the cashmere and the angora… somewhere to the left of the Kid Silk Haze…
    Rest in peace Janine – although I did not know you I am sure your memory will be a blessing forever.

  30. Stephanie
    I read your touching and frank experience of the loss of your ‘sister’ and I remembered those raw and overwhelming feelings when unexpected, inexplicable loss has occurred.
    There are no words..
    I believe that all positive energies such as Janine’s are not extinguished but transformed. How could this not be so?
    She is part of you and yours and that is not changing. Take the time to grieve and find your peace.

  31. Every person that is lost to us, leaves a space that is too big to be ever filled up again. This was their own special space, formed by their own special personality, in this time and space.
    This day, four years ago my husband died.
    A special friend reminded me, when we die we go to heaven. This brings us grief, but brings joy in heaven. The angels have waited for this special person and they celebrate his or her arrival. When a baby is born, we rejoyce. But an angel leaves heaven and they cry.
    Death is a transition to heaven. People are not lost to us. Their soul is moved to a place where communication with us is difficult. But they are not lost to us.
    Thinking about death this way helpes me when I feel lost and lonely without my husband.
    I hope it can help you a little bit.
    Remember Paul Austin august 31,1962 – october 13 2001.

  32. It took me the longest time to get through the second sentence. I kept putting the almost in the wrong place. I wish I could have been right the first three or four times I read it.

  33. Stephanie, I am so terribly, terribly sorry for your loss. Janine sounds like a lovely person … thank you for telling us about her.

  34. My thoughts are with you and your family. Janine sounds like a wonderful person who will be missed by all those that knew her.

  35. I am very sorry to hear of your loss. She sounds like she was a wonderful person who was very well loved. My thoughts are with you and your families.

  36. I’m sorry for the loss your family must endure. Peace to you, and all who loved Janine.

  37. My thoughts are with you and Janine’s family. What a tragic thing to have happen, but what a beautiful, deeply moving tribute.
    (When I was learning to talk, I called my aunt Nee Nee because I couldn’t say “Cindy”–not sure how the former derives from the latter, but it makes me happy that there was another Nee Nee out there.)

  38. Oh – this is so horrible! Sometimes it is really hard to understand what life is all about. I am just glad that she had such a wonderful friend. It seems she was happy and made others happy, too. What a gift!

  39. Stephanie, know that you are in our thoughts and prayers. Also, please know that your beautiful writing about her has inspired us to give careful thought and loving attention to the magnificent uniqueness in each of the people we love. May you be surrounded by loved ones during this awful time…

  40. I know what it’s like to have a friend so close that they are like another sister. I share that realtionship with a really good friend, I even call her parents mom and dad. I don’t know what it’s like to loose that friend, but I can imagine a little glimps of the pain. It is so terrible to hear about all of these deaths in the world, from your blog to the nightly news. I hope your family can be strong and maybe Janine is up there with Mike White in her hands.

  41. What a wonderful woman. Thanks for sharing her with us and we will remember her even though we didn’t meet her.
    My thoughts go out to all who Neen touched.
    Also, though death is a fact for all people, it is never ordinary and never a cliche. It is best for all to remember that so we can do justice to those who touched our lives and those who we seemingly had no contact with.

  42. I’m so very sorry. It’s so comforting to remember the good times and remember that she had just as many fond memories that she took with her.

  43. I am so sorry for your loss, words don’t help but please feel our hugs going out to you and your family in this very sad time.

  44. Oh Stephanie. I’m so sorry. Every one of us would show up at her funeral to tell you and all those who love Nee-Nee that she should still be here. That your loss is ours as well–yours so much the more so, and we know it; ours our own.

  45. Ah, Steph, I’m so, so sorry — you and your family and Janine and her family are in my prayers.

  46. Every comfort, and all my sympathy, to you and to your family. Your beautiful tribute makes quite plain the reasons Janine was an extraordinary person and a light in your lives.

  47. Prayers to you and your family at the loss of your precious Janine. God has what is obviously another angel upon your loss. We are all blessed to have someone like Janine to watch over us all.
    God Bless you and your family during this time of loss.

  48. oh stephanie. if my pain could take the place of yours for just a moment, then you would have reprieve right now. i am crying many tears for your loss. that strange empty feeling you have when someone is just gone … i can feel it as if it is mine and i’m so so sorry you will have to endure that for much longer than i can even imagine. it is truly almost unbearable. you are strong and you have humour – i imagine janine would want you to laugh whenever it comes to you. i can honestly ‘see’ her shaking her head and hurting that you are all hurting so much. sorry if i sound like a wingnut. you are surely in my thoughts and ‘prayers’ … love to all

  49. Stephanie, so so sorry for your terrible loss. You have enriched us all with your description of your wonderful Janine. Wish there were something that could ease your pain, besides our thoughts and prayers.

  50. Stephanie, my thoughts and prayers are with all of you as you figure out how your life is going to be from now on…

  51. Dear Stephanie, Nothing we can say can make it better, but you and all those who love Janine are in our thoughts and prayers. Your post is the most beautiful restatement of one of my favorite poems ever, hope it’s OK if I include it here. Hugs, Edith
    No man is an island,
    Entire of itself.
    Each is a piece of the continent,
    A part of the main.
    If a clod be washed away by the sea,
    Europe is the less.
    As well as if a promontory were.
    As well as if a manner of thine own
    Or of thine friend’s were.
    Each man’s death diminishes me,
    For I am involved in mankind.
    Therefore, send not to know
    For whom the bell tolls,
    It tolls for thee.
    For Whom the Bell Tolls
    by John Donne

  52. Stephanie…my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during this trying time. Take what comfort you can in the arms of your family and friends. Janine sounds like she was an amazing woman.

  53. go ahead – holler yell scream rage at the heavens there is nothing ordinary about loss and nothing ordinary about an extraordinary person in our lives – and remember sometime in the next few days you will laugh and then feel guilty for doing it – don’t – Janine laughed – you can see that – she would want you to as well.

  54. Sorry Sorry Sorry! How blessed you are to have such a beautiful friendship. Thanks for giving us a small glimpse into the joys she brought to your life.

  55. Dear Stephanie, I don’t know what to say. I am glad there are so many beautiful things you can remember Janine by. I’ll just say that you are in my thoughts. Wish you all the strength you need right now.
    Big hug from across the pond

  56. Thank you for sharing some of your memories of Nee-nee with us. My thoughts and prayers go out to your family and hers.

  57. Dance Steph-and celebrate-Nee-Nee is obviously someone who deserves a wonderful happy laugh filled Irish wake-you are so lucky for having had someone like that in your life…

  58. Oh, Stephanie, I’m so sorry. I’ve felt the loss you feel.
    All I can think to say is … It sucks that she’s gone.

  59. I don’t know how you managed to post about this when it is still so fresh. My deepest sympathies for your pain and loss. Grief is a bond as much as joy, and I know we all hold you in our hearts.

  60. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during this difficult time. This lost is NOT like any other loss, for it is your own personal loss to endure. Simply in writing this entry you have displayed the inner strength you already possess, which is what will help you to survive this tragedy. I am so sorry for your loss.

  61. Damn, Damn, Damn. A flood of memories and pain washed over me when I read your blog. Nothing, nothing can relieve this pain, but time, and I bleed for you and yours. Be good to yourselves. It seems so bloody simple, but truly, be good to yourselves.

  62. I’m very sorry for your loss Stephanie. My partner just lost his mother last week, so I know the pain of unexpected loss. May you have all your memories to remind you of her fondly and that all those moments will remain sweet to you in your time of loss.

  63. Oh, Stephanie. I’m so sorry. For your loss, for your familys loss, for the worlds loss of what sounds like such a lovely human being. Take your time. We’re all here for you.

  64. It is my belief that she will be walking beside you through life. I hope this thought will help you to smile. With thoughts of your pain and loss…

  65. I am so very sorry for your loss. I will keep you all in my thoughts and prayers. May the good memories you have of Janine help to mend your heart and ease your sorrow. {{{Hugs}}}

  66. My god, Stephanie. I’m so very sorry. I’m sending warm thoughts for healing.
    This Emily Dickinson poem echoes in my mind when I am grieving:
    The bustle in a house
    The morning after death
    Is solemnest of industries
    Enacted upon earth.
    The sweeping up the heart
    And putting love away
    We shall not want to use again
    Until Eternity.
    Sweep, my friend, when you’re ready. I’m sorry.

  67. What a truly remarkable woman she must have been to inspire such thought and love.
    My prayers and thoughts are with you, and your entire family.

  68. I’ve tried over and over to post — but my words are all trite. I just want you to know that I am sorry for your loss.

  69. I mourn all those who have lost someone dear to them today. I mourn your loss with you. She may be out of sight for now, but she’ll never be out of mind. All the best to you and your family through this difficult time.

  70. I’m very sorry to hear this. My beloved uncle died last week, and a friend of mine sent this remark to me in email, and I found it a comfort, and perhaps you will, too:
    “I have found that being prepared for the death of a friend/relative is no help at all. There are so few special people who enter our lives, or whose lives we enter, that losing them by any means – long expected or suddenly – is equally painful. It takes so long to get past the loss and appreciate the blessing of having known them at all.”
    It sounds as if Janine was a great blessing in your life. May she continue to be so. So long as you remember her, she lives.

  71. Steph, there are no words. However, the words you chose were eloquent and lovely, as I’m sure Nee-Nee was. Live your life the way she wants you to. I wish I had known her, but I feel like I did – thank you for sharing her.
    My deepest sympathy to her family and yours.

  72. Sending the warmest, fuzziest hug I can, sweetiepie. And thank you for sharing the things about Janine that made her so special–your tribute is a wonderful reminder to think, often, of those small things about the people we love, and hold those small things dear. Not ordinary, indeed.

  73. Steph.. lots and lots of hugs.. as the others have said nothing said can be enough to dull the pain.. but know that we think of you always and are happy for the joy that you have brought to our lives.. and to NeeNee’s and the joy she brought to your’s… lots and lots more hugs.. karola

  74. It is hard to find words that will comfort, especially when pain is so raw and deep…but know that your “fiber family” is here, and is supporting you, and that each of us feels for you. A toast to Neen, for being the friend we all wish we could be. A toast to you, for celebrating her life, and sharing a glimpse of it with us. Many, many cyber hugs, and sincere sympathies.

  75. There are no comments that can be said when someone you love is taken for you. I know your pain.

  76. I don’t consider myself religious, and I am constantly reevaluating whether or not I believe in God and what kind of God it is. But I will say that when my grandmother died (and I was extremely close to her), I started to believe in Heaven because she did have a strong belief in God and I just couldn’t picture her anyplace else. I couldn’t accept the idea that she was just gone. I still like to think of her, “up there”, watching my family grow and experiencing everything with us as if she were still alive…
    This is not an ordinary loss, because it is not ordinary to you. It is not ordinary to your family. It is not ordinary to me, because I’ve read your wonderful post and, even though I’ve never met Janine, I feel like I know her, if only just a little tiny bit.
    Hugs to you and your family. What else can I say but – that really sucks!

  77. Stephanie, I am so sorry to hear of your loss. Janine’s entire family (extended/adopted) is in my thoughts.
    Your tribute to her was absolutely lovely.

  78. I am so very sorry for your loss. What a wonderful, touching tribute you’ve written for a very special lady.
    May she rest in peace.
    Hugs and prayers for you all.

  79. No words of mine can offer you any real comfort. I understand and accept that. But please know that I am holding you all in my heart, even as I cry my eyes out for the shimmering uniqueness of a person I never met.

  80. my deepest sympathy for your loss, Stephanie. This is a moving and personal post at a time when there are no words. take care

  81. Stephanie, I cried with you when I read your writing. Thank you for sharing such an intimate moment with us all.
    Don�t feel ashamed because you are able to tell us about your soul-family member.
    The thousands of dead people in Pakistan are too much for a human being to be understood. To be honest, one lost person is still too much loss for the most of us .
    Your friend will be remembered by us all.

  82. I’m so sorry! Heaven is a better place. I cried too. She will obviously be missed very much. Hugs to you.

  83. ” You would know the secret of Death.
    But, how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life?
    The owl whose night-bound eyes are blinded unto the day canot unveil the mystery of light.
    If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, open your heart wide unto the body of life.
    For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.”
    Kahlil Girban
    The Prophet
    steph, your heart wide as open, and your graciousness in sharing touches everyone.
    marie in texas

  84. Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
    Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
    Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
    Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.
    Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
    Scribbling on the sky the message He is Dead.
    Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
    Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.
    He was my North, my South, my East and West,
    My working week and my Sunday rest,
    My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
    I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.
    The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
    Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,
    Pour away the ocean and sweep up the woods;
    For nothing now can ever come to any good.
    — Funeral Blues, by W. H. Auden
    Oh, Stephanie; I am so very sorry for your loss. For everyone’s loss.

  85. I’m so sorry for your loss. You and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers.
    [[[[hugs to all]]]]

  86. I’m so sorry, Stephanie.
    Almost three weeks ago, my family lost its best friend very suddenly — he was only 44. It’s been hard to explain why it hurt so much to lose someone who wasn’t “really family.” I grew up thinking everyone had a sister by choice and an other-mother and two extra sets of grandparents — my family just sort of adopted people, or they adopted us. Sometimes these people just “get” us better than the people born with the same last name…and would totally understand if we kept their ashes in a polar-bear-shaped cookie jar.
    I hope.
    I am the sort, and you’re all in my prayers. Scream all you want — this is a terrible loss.
    Thinking of you,

  87. Oh, Stephanie. I’ve no idea what to say that will help, but every death is big. Mourn as much as you need to. If we could, we would wrap you up in yarn to help ease your pain.

  88. My condolences to you and yours in this dark hour.
    Thoughts and prayers are with you, as you mourn the loss of someone so special.

  89. ‘Acting strong’ when you need to let out a scream is for pussies.
    Scream and cry if you need to.

  90. Stephanie,
    Even though, I am sure, you truely feel sorry for changing your tour schedule (you are a Canadian after all…), you have absolutely no reason to apologize and feel sorry. Taking time to be with your family and Janine’s is more than understandable.
    And your words about Janine are far from clich� and ordinary. She seems pretty unique and wonderful to me. (She was and always will be.)
    I am truely sorry for your lost.
    BIG French Canadian hugs,

  91. We know how it goes. Cry until you can’t cry, then cry some more. Eventually the laughter finds its way back in. So sorry for your loss. Take good care.

  92. Oh, Stephanie, I weep at your loss. You, your family and Neen’s are in my prayers and good thoughts. I will rage with you.

  93. “Incovenience”??? Stephanie, I’m clearly in good company in saying that you should take all the time away you need. We’ll all (universe willing) be here when you come back.

  94. Cry, scream, write, rage if need be. Do not hold back. Honor your feelings, your grief. Losing someone is as hard as it gets. Do not apologize.
    Sending virtual hugs to you and all your family.

  95. My condolences to you and your family. She sounds like she was a wonderful person.
    Thank you for taking the time to share her with us, and remind us to treasure the people in our own lives.

  96. Sending healing thoughts to you and your family in your time of grief. Healing takes time, take your time, don’t rush things.

  97. What a wonderful person. I’m so glad you had her in your life, and sorry she is gone. God’s blessings to you and yours.

  98. I hope you have the freedom to not feel you have to be strong now. My mom is in a similar situation, and I think that’s been the hardest part for her.

  99. If only you could e-mail hugs. I am so sorry for your loss, it is so hard to say goodbye, I lost someone very dear to me last month and there is a hole that will never be filled.

  100. YOur love for Janine shines. My deepest sympathy for your loss. Please take good care of yourself. You deeply touch the life of many people.

  101. Stephanie there are no words, no magic formula to make this all go away. I’m sorry sounds trite yet it is meant from the bottom of my heart. Life is short and there are no guarantees, so please, take as much time as you need for you – to do whatever you and your family need.

  102. You and your extended family have my deepest sympathies. You have written so eloquently of your sister-by-love that I feel tears and loss as well.

  103. My deepest and most heartfelt sympathy for you and yours today. Deep love and deep loss walk hand in hand. Be gentle with yourself while you walk through the grief.

  104. Oh, Stephanie, my heart goes out to you & your family. I’m so sorry for this immeasurable loss of yours.

  105. Your post threw me back in time to the phone call that cut my legs out from under me, sucked all the air out of my world and thrust me into a black hole. You WILL come out on the other side eventually, grateful for the time spent with the person whose heart mirrored your own, who shared your life like no other, with a different view of your world and a deeper appreciation for those you love, forever changed. My heart, my thoughts, my prayers are with all of you.
    Cathy M.

  106. Your post brought me to tears, and I relived (for the umpty-gazillionth time) the pain of losing my grandfather. He was almost 91 and it didn’t hurt any of us a damn bit less just because he had a long and fulfilling life. Loss just blows, plain and simple. I’m *so* sorry you have to go through this. You and yours have my thoughts and sympathy. You take all the time you need.

  107. My most sincere sympathies to you and yours. Those are familiar and ordinary wishes too but they are meant from the bottom of my heart.

  108. All that I have to say is that my heart is breaking for you. I lost my “almost sister” over 30 years ago (we were 15) and I still feel the loss. Take care of yourself.

  109. i’m so sorry for your loss, but nonetheless glad that you had such a wonderful wonderful sister in your life…how unexplicably sad that she left so soon.
    take care of yourself.

  110. There are no words that arent’ cliche…
    Sit with those bright and wonderful memories, cherish her marvelouslness… spend countless hours with your family celebrating the wonderful bright star that was .. that IS Janine….

  111. Stephanie – I am so sorry that your Jenine is not here. I know this pain, as we had the same happen to us in August. And the “unique” parts of people speek to others in strange ways. My one thought when I realized that Aunt Susie would not be coming out of the hospital was “who is going to make the peanut brittle for Christmas?” I’m going to be doing this year. I hope I don’t screw it up!

  112. I am so sorry, Stephanie. There are no words that can make this better, but cliches are cliches because they are so often true. Yes, this is just like every untimely death everywhere, anytime. What makes this loss different to you is that it’s YOUR loss, and it brings home to you just how fragile these bodies are and how unfair life can be. The hole your friend leaves behind can never be filled.
    We lost a dear friend-of-our-youth two years ago in a motorcycle accident. It fills me with sadness every day. We miss him dreadfully, and are so angry that he’s gone, just when his life was getting good — kids grown, grandkids coming, and finally, FINALLY enough money to pay the bills every month and for the wonderful bike trips he took with his wife of thirty years, just when we are finally in a financial situation that allows us to make the five-hour trips to visit them on a regular basis.
    Be strong. Talk about her. Tell your grandchildren about her. Keep her safe in your heart every day. It never will get ‘better,’ but I promise, it will get ‘easier.’ Another cliche: celebrate the life that she lived, the love that she showered on everyone.
    You’re in my heart today, and I share your grief.

  113. Oh sweetie, I’m so sorry.
    You amaze me with your eloquence even while your heart is breaking. Take care of yourself, ‘K?

  114. You mentioned wanting to stand on the street and scream “no!” When my Dad died I broke down in the shower and cried and sobbed and talked and screamed…my loss was still there, but it seemed to satisfy some primal need to protest, to do something, anything to show that I was not going to take this laying down! (And the water muffles sound so it wasn’t so disturbing to other people that the men in white coats were sent out!) I am so sorry. I will pray. Thank you for sharing.

  115. Oh, Stephanie. Don’t worry about us.
    *hugs* Take your time, and when you’re ready to come back, we’ll be here, and we’ll buy you wine and chocolates and yarn and you can tell us stories about Janine, who is both gone and never gone.
    She looks beautiful.

  116. I don’t often write, but I just wanted to say that my thoughts are with you. Know that none of us are “inconvenienced” by you not going on a book tour and that you are allowed a personal life, even if you write about it for all of us to read. Especially if you write about it for all of us to read. Know also that I for one do not expect a personal response, I just want you to know that even though I have met you only once, I feel like I’ve known you for years, and my thoughts go out to you.

  117. Stephanie and family,
    I am so sorry. Words are hollow at this time. Take the time with your family and celebrate the life of your dear one.

  118. I’m so sorry for your loss. May this time of mourning and sadness, also be touched by the spontaneous rays of joy as you tell and retell your stories to one another

  119. so so sorry
    it reminds us all that what we have is right now
    what you wrote about Janine was very beautiful and so brave

  120. My deepest condolences to you and all of Janine’s loved ones. Your tribute to Janine makes me wish I had known her.

  121. Lord- bring Stephanie and her family- and those so affected by this loss- peace and comfort- through your self- and the loving arms of your children here- on earth—
    Steph- you beautifully honored your sister with your memories and thoughts shared- thnx so much.

  122. oh dear, stephanie. my heart goes out to you and all of those around you. i’m glad to know that you’re “bien entour�e.” courage,

  123. I’m so sorry, Stephanie.
    I am definitely the sort, and I will say some prayers for everyone who is mourning Janine today.

  124. My heart is breaking for you and your family. Please accept my deepest and sincere condolences.

  125. It is impossible to bear having our hearts ripped out when someone dies. We do, in the end, but not willingly.
    I’m so sorry you and your family have to live with this void.

  126. Stephanie – I’m so sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  127. Oh, Stephanie, I send you my prayers. I can only hope that, in some way, you and yours (and hers) will find some peace in these coming days.

  128. Stephanie – I’m truly sorry for your loss & your family’s loss. I didn’t know Janine at BSS but I knew of her – knew she was smart, funny & talented – and the beautiful memories you shared with us show that she continued to be all those things.

  129. There is nothing that I can say that hasn’t already been said. I’m sorry for your loss, and there is nothing easy about it. Scream, yell, jump up and down, and rejoice in the time you had with her.
    My thoughts are with you and your family.
    Becca from Chicago

  130. Dear Stephanie, you make us all smile on a daily basis, and now my heart breaks for you. I am *so* sorry, and wish you and your almost-family members peace. {{{{{{{hugs}}}}}}

  131. Oh, Stephanie. I’m so sorry! Losing a heart-sister like that is just as bad as losing a real one, and I am just so sorry. I wish there was something I could say, but you’ve already said it all. Sometimes pouring out such a tribute can help–cathartic, don’t you know. And not as worrying to the neighbors as screaming in the street.
    And yes–don’t give Rhinebeck a second thought. I admit I was looking forward to meeting you, but, oh no, this so very comes first. My sympathies.

  132. No loss is ordinary, and the fact that there are thousands or millions of them is exactly why it is necessary for each of us to remember our own losses, and to share them when appropriate as you have done, so that this loss that is ours will never fade into a meaningless number. I am so sorry for your loss, and glad you had Janine in your life.

  133. Stephanie, you and your family will be in my thoughts. One of the greatest parts of love is how unique and absolutely uncommon it makes those we care most about.

  134. Dear one,
    Had Anyone asked me, I would not have suggested building a universe in which people – or even hamsters – die. It is wrong and bitter and hard. (One of the benefits of being a hemi-Semite is being able to argue with the Holy One and point out her obvious oversights.)
    Your love for your Nee Nee is perfect, concrete, particular. She and all who love her will be in my prayers. Thank you for the joy your blog has given me.
    Abrazos fuertes,
    Rebecca in San Francisco

  135. this is the first time i’ve read your blog. i’m glad to have started today, when you’ve written such a beautiful tribute to a women that you love deeply. you’ve captured all the important details, you know. the secret things that made you cherish her. i hope her memory burns bright and true.

  136. You found the words I didn’t have when my beautiful, smart, sweet and much-too-young stepdaughter died suddenly a year ago. You are right about how hard the past tense can be. My heart goes out to you and her family and friends, especially the two moms; I don’t think there is any grief as strong as the loss of a child. It isn’t something you ‘get over’ but you will learn to live with it, and remember her with smiles and not tears. Lots of hugs and prayers, and thank you for sharing Nee Nee with us.

  137. Oh Stephanie! I am so sorry for your loss. It was clear to me the first time I read your blog that you care deeply for the people in your life and your family is more than just the people you are linked to biology or ceremony. I greive for you and for the rest of Janine’s family. My sympathies.

  138. My sympathies for your loss. Grieving is important. Take the time for yourself and your family. We’ll all be here when you get back. HUGS!

  139. My thoughts and prayers are with your family and friends during this difficult time.
    Lis in New Castle, Pennsylvania

  140. I am awed by the fact that you are willing to share this with us. Thank you, Stephanie, for allowing us to be part of your very, very extended family both during the good times and the excruciatingly tragic.
    We will be thinking about you, your family and Janine’s family.

  141. I am so sorry Stephanie… peace for you and your family, and peace for Janine’s spirit.

  142. Stephanie,
    I am so so sorry for your loss. Her memory and her spirit will stay with you forever and give you strength during this difficult time. I will ask my son to give her a hug in Heaven.

  143. This is an extraordinarty loss as it is your loss and the loss of your family. You need to embrace the anger and feel the pain for someone is missing from your life who was very important. Soon that anger gives way to saddness and then to peace but all in time. Though I did not know Janine, the love that I hear in your words is overwhelming and powerful. We should all be so lucky to have such a person if only for 40 years. Take your time to mourn and then to celebrate the passing and the life of this special person.

  144. Dear Stephanie,
    Thank you for the wonderful tribute to your “sister”. Celebrate her and her life with gusto in the days ahead. I have lost so, so many family members to cancer but what seemed to get us through the painful, searing hot, stupid, senseless losses were the memories. After the tears we would gather in a circle, hold each other and start telling THE stories. Soon our tears of grief were tears of unbelievable joy that we were so blessed to have these people as a part of our lives. They were on this journey with us to shape our lives and make us better, more loving people. I am sure Janine is smiling down on you and your loved ones at this very moment. I am so sorry for your pain and loss and grief. I pray that you will be uplifted by all the love sent to you in these posts.

  145. Stephanie, Knowing how you have touched my life. I cannot help but write and express my deepest feelings of respect for what you and those around you are feeling, also I want to share my sympathy. When my Dad died, I think I may have actually ran into the street and screamed NO! It was sudden and tragic and he was too young… sooo… if screaming is what you need to do… then do it. All losses are personal to us when we are experiencing them… I am so sorry. Our thought and prayers are with you, and all those around you who are also suffering.

  146. My deepest condolences to you and your family. I was going to send the Auden poem but see that somebody already did. Take good care of each other.

  147. I am so sorry, My thoughts are with you and your family. You are so right; this loss is universal and intensly personal. May we all be so loved.

  148. dear stephanie, my thoughts are with you and your family. Time will help it hurt less and she will not be forgotten living on in your memories and your heart but she will clearly be missed.

  149. Stephanie, I read your blog all the time but never posted before…Condolences and prayers are going your way in your time of loss. Pat K, Arizona

  150. I found the following poem a great help to express my anger during a year of griefs. I hope it helps as much as anything can. You have my sympathy.
    Dirge without Music
    I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving
    hearts in the hard ground
    So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time
    out of mind
    Into the darkness they go, the wise and the
    lovely. Crowned
    With lilies and with laurel they go; but I am not
    Lovers and thinkers, into the earth with you.
    Be one with the dull, the indiscriminate dust.
    A fragment of what you felt, of what you knew,
    A formula, a phrase remains � but the best is
    The answers quick and keen, the honest look, the
    laughter, the love, –
    They are gone. They are gone to feed the roses.
    Elegant and curled
    Is the blossom. Fragrant is the blossom. I know.
    But I do not approve.
    More precious was the light in your eyes than all
    the roses in the world.
    Down, down, down into the darkness of the
    Gently they go, the beautiful the tender, the
    Quietly they go, the intelligent the witty , the
    I know. But I do not approve. And I am not
    Edna St. Vincent Millay

  151. And now we all can know Nee Nee through your poignant eulogy. Not ordinary indeed.
    Thank you for sharing her story, and my condolences to you and your family.

  152. Thank you for letting me “know” Nee-Nee just a little bit too.
    I wish comfort and solace to you and yours, Stephanie and weep tears for your loss.

  153. In our family we send radar hugs when we are away from one another or when we must send them across the room and I have noticed many doing the same. Here are many hugs sent out from a transmitter in California.
    >( {{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{

  154. I am so sorry to hear your pain. Each loss is different yet absolute. I notice that someone upthread sent you a bit of John Donne — here is another one that has comforted me (a little!)
    “All [hu]mankind is one volume. When one [person] dies, one chapter is torn out of the book and translated into a better language. And every chapter must be so translated. God employs several translators. Some pieces are translated by age, some by sickness, some by war, some by justice. But God’s hand shall bind up all our scattered leaves again for that library where every book shall lie open to another.”

  155. Forgive me for posting twice. I had to add:
    And you all notice? The kind of person Stephanie is? That she and Janine both grew up together to be? The kind of person who, at such a time, worries about disappointing us, people whom mostly she doesn’t even know, people who have taken the time to write a comment or buy her books or even just quietly read her blog in the silence of our own spaces.
    That, to you, Stephanie, brings enough of a connection that you felt a need to reach out to us, both in writing this post, and in regretting causing disappointments. And that is the best of you: you care. Deeply. You make us each feel we matter.
    And we treasure you for it. And treasure now the Janine we didn’t get a chance to meet.
    She will always matter.

  156. My deepeest condolences to you and your family, and to your dear Janine’s family, too. Thank you for sharing her with us, and sharing your sorrow. As you probably have guessed by now, we all would like to help you carry it, even while we know that’s not possible. I hope, though, that you can feel some of the love we are all sending to you all in this hardest of times.

  157. Dear dear Stephanie- Believe me when I tell you I feel your pain. A very wonderful man who shaped an important part of my life came home last week, sat down …. and died. from no apparent reason. When I received the phone call, I suspiciously asked “Anthony who?” I only know one Anthony and it just couldn’t possibly be. It was. We are left with a vast emptiness that he once filled and we shall experience over and over as time goes on. Memories and shared funny stories help, but all in all he made our lives more full and we will never be the same without him. May your god bless you and keep you and yours both now and as time goes on.
    Sincerely, Mary

  158. Just wanted to add my condolences to everyone else’s so that you would know that by your writing you have immortalized her spirit, her life, and therefore made her passing anything but ordinary. And that, dear Stephanie, is the biggest gift and tribute anyone could ever give a friend.
    Please know that you all are in our thoughts and prayers.

  159. May I add my voice to those offering condolences on your profound loss. You are eloquent even in grief. My prayers are with you, your family, and all who are grieving tonight.

  160. I’m so glad you had your Janine to love and she had you all. To having experienced each other fully and daily, a lovely, uncommon thing.

  161. I am so sorry for your loss and so moved by the things you wrote about your dear friend, your “sister”. Each of us knows there are no words to bring you comfort, we simply want you to know that we are thinking of you often and wish we could do something to ease the pain of your loss.

  162. My thoughts are with you and, as you said, with all the others in the world right now who need them. Let this be a reminder to all of us to support one another.

  163. Ji-jang Bosal. May the Earth Womb Bodhisattva embrace your Janine.
    Kwan Seum Bosal. May the Bodhisattva of Compassion hold you and your loved ones in the palm of her hand.

  164. It is extremely rare to be able to say “(I) am blessed that there is not a moment I wish I could have back”. I am humbled and my heart hurts for you.

  165. Stephanie, I started to write a long note with what I thought was an idea to comfort you, but realized now is not the time. The only comfort that could be found now is in the love and shared rememberances of your family and Janine’s. Thank you for sharing her so beautifully with us. Not ordinary indeed. Please know that you are all in our thoughts and prayers through this time. Take good care of yourselves.

  166. You know, I was thinking about this earlier, after I’d read this post for the first time, and I just want to tell you that YOU are an amazing person. Not only can you write this sweet, loving tribute to your friend, but you can still find the time to apologize for not being able to tourtourtour. Oh, Stephanie. That’s amazing. First, I just thought, “Well, she’s Canadian. They’re thoughtful people; she’s just being polite.” But no . . . this transcends that. It’s you. No wonder you had and kept such an incredible friend all these years, who must have as proud of you as you are of her. So many, many people come by and read your blog daily. And because of that, we feel like we know you–and yet, there’s almost no way you could know all of us, there are too many of us, and you’re only human–at least, most of the time. (You’re too popular for our own good, sometimes.)
    But even so, I’m astounded that one of your thoughts today was for us, the (somewhat) faceless masses who were looking forward to being near knitting greatness for a little while this weekend. I knew you were a great and inspiring knitter, Stephanie. But this just proves that you are a great human being, too, because not just anyone would bother to think of her blog-readers’ disappointment in the face of this news. Spend as much time as YOU need, giving and getting strength from your family and friends. I think more of you for doing that this weekend than I would have if you’d gone on tourtourtour anyway. Your friendship with Janine deserves no less. I am, as ever, in awe.

  167. I’m so sorry for your loss. Please take good care of yourself and your family. I wish you comfort. Thank you for sharing Janine with us.

  168. Stephanie, I am so very sorry for your loss. Your tribute to Janine made me feel how much she was loved by all of you. My thoughts are with you… –Carol in North Bend, WA

  169. These hard, grey days will pass though knowing that is utterly useless. Wake her well and be gentle with yourself as the grief comes and goes.

  170. Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this time of loss. Your tribute to her will help her live on with those that knew her and those who have missed out on the chance to know her.

  171. Steph ((hugs)) and prayers for you all during this hard time. I’m sorry for your loss.
    Do not stand at my grave and weep,
    I am not there, I do not sleep.
    I am a thousand winds that blow.
    I am the diamond glint on snow.
    I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
    I am the gentle autumn rain.
    When you wake in the morning hush,
    I am the swift, uplifting rush
    Of quiet birds in circling flight.
    I am the soft starlight at night.
    Do not stand at my grave and weep.
    I am not there, I do not sleep.
    (Do not stand at my grave and cry.
    I am not there, I did not die!
    Mary Frye (1932)

  172. Please accept our deepest sympaties during these hard times.
    When my father died very unexpectedly, it helped me to remember that although memories now seem almost more painfull to have, rather not to have, there indeed does come a time when the memories are what keeps our spirit afloat.
    Take your time to grief and take the thread of life to sew close the huge gape left by your Nee-nee…
    Love and hugs.

  173. dearest Stephanie – sooo very sorry for your loss… this poem seems to bring a bit of peace to me when I long for my loved ones.
    Life is Eternal
    I am standing upon the seashore, a ship
    at my side spreads her white sails
    to the morning breeze and starts for
    the blue ocean. She is an object of
    beauty and strength and I stand and
    watch her until at length she hangs
    like a speck of white cloud just where
    the sea and the sky come down to
    mingle with each other.
    Then someone at my side says
    �There! She�s Gone.� Gone where?
    Gone from my sight � that is all.
    She is just as large in mast
    and hull and spar as she was
    when she left my side, and just
    as able to bear her load of living freight to the place of destination.
    Her diminished size is in me, not in her;
    and just at the moment when some one
    at my side says
    �There! She�s Gone,�
    there are other eyes watching her coming,
    and other voices ready to take up the glad shout �There She Comes!�

  174. My heart breaks for you, Stephanie. Please take as much time as you need to grieve this loss, and know my thoughts are with you and your family tonight.

  175. …i have lived thru 46 summers…and they have all been lovely, full of light.. until this past one.. there were bereavements, losses and terror for my precious beautiful child, …depressed until i was practically unable to leave the sofa, you helped me to sit up and sometimes smile with your banter and your honest heart… i wish i could do the same for you…you are in my prayers tonight….

  176. Stephanie, look at all the comments, I think I am 315. I lost my brother 27yrs old a year ago…in his sleep, unexpectly. The loss is unbelievable…I wish I could say that it will get easier…
    You will think of her often. The wonderful memories I am sure that you have. The loss is not ordinary…no…it is happening to you and it is hard. I wish you and your family peace.

  177. So very sorry for your loss, Steph. Your most eloquent tribute at such a difficult and sad time is amazing. My thoughts are with you.
    Elaine in NYC

  178. Stephanie, I’m very sorry for your loss. As it was with you, the words fail me in their ordinariness. My heart goes out to you and everyone who loved Janine.

  179. I am so sorry for your loss. I will remember your Nee-Nee, her family and yours, and you in my prayers tonight.

  180. There are no words to heal your broken heart, but know that we all understand your pain and sorrow for things left undone and words not spoken. Consider naming a star after Janine; I find comfort in knowing where to look in the sky for my grandmother’s star. From all your fans, we wish you peace and comfort from the hurt.

  181. There are no words to ease your pain and I am sorry for that. You and your family will be in my thoughts as you grieve your loss. I hope you all find some peace.

  182. Many hugs and warm thoughts your way.
    I’m crying, too. I know I am not the only one. It is your words, and the meaning they posses, that keep me reading … and laughing, and crying.
    Be well, dear friend.

  183. I remember the rollercoaster of emotions I went on. Your heart will be breaking and you’ll be weeping one moment, absolutely furious the next, stunned, numb and even sometimes laughing at how absolutely absurd and impossible it seems.
    I’m so terribly sorry. 🙁

  184. You’ve spoken words that touch our hearts again Steph, as if you’ve looked into our hearts and seen what probably nearly all of us have felt and cannot articulate. Thank you for writing how we feel about those ‘not ordinary’ loves we’ve lost. My heart is with you and yours through this time.

  185. Please give yourself permission to feel and time to heal. Just know an awful lot of people care.

  186. My thoughts are with you and your family. You all have much fuller lives from having been able to share time with such a special person as your NeeNee!

  187. So sorry for your loss. This one is a tough one, take all the time you need to grieve, you need not make any apologies.

  188. It is a beautiful thing that you have done for your almost sister. The words and the feelings that you have expressed are priceless beyond belief. I can only hope that when my time comes someone will write about me as eloquently.
    Thoughts and Prayers for you all.

  189. For every moment of wrenching sadness in your life without Janine, know there was an equal moment in Janine’s life when you brought her untold joy.

  190. I am so sorry for your loss. I cried the first time I read it this afternoon. I cried tonight as I read it again. Thank you for sharing this amazing woman with us. Thank you for sharing your life with us on this blog – I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been touched by your writing. Life is precious. You and your loved ones are in my prayers.

  191. May God bless you and keep you. May God welcome Janine into the kingdom of Heaven.
    I will pray for you and your family, that you may know peace.

  192. Dear Stephanie,
    How very sad for you to lose your irreplaceable, almost sister. I wish I could find words that would comfort you, but there are none. Just know that there is still laughter, there is still love and there are and will always be her stories and you can tell them and keep them. Write them in words, sentences and paragraphs and work them into your knits, purls and yarn overs. Janine’s story lives in that gaping hole she left in your heart and some day when you are ready you will tell it. Till then hold tight to the people you love and let them love you back.

  193. Oh, Stephanie, I am so sorry. I send prayers for your family, for Stephen and Julie, Carol and Bonnie and Ian and for all of you. With love. xxx

  194. Dear Stephanie
    I too don’t have the words. Sorry just doesn’t seem enough.
    Love and Hugs

  195. *hugs* and prayers. Janine sounds like the big sister everyone wants to have. ~x~

  196. No personal loss is ordinary. It is as extraordinary and unique as every individual is.
    I am sorry for your loss.

  197. So sorry to hear of the death of Janine. Thank you for sharing your sweet memories with us. Scream your No in thunder.

  198. O Steph…We will keep her and you in our hearts and thoughts. Collectively and individually, we wrap our arms around you…

  199. I am so sorry for your loss. Your and Neen’s families will be in our prayers today. I will do a little dance of my own to honor her spirit.

  200. Stephanie,
    I am so terribly, terribly sorry for your loss. And very grateful for your having had such a person in your life. It is a rare and precious gift.
    How blessed you have been to love and been loved in return.
    Your eulogy was moving and heartfelt.
    Please know that you are in our prayers.

  201. It is a true reflection of the amazing woman that you are, that you not only wrote and shared your beautiful memories with us today, but that you had a wonderful friend like Janeen in the first place. You and yours are in my thoughts, take time to greive, we will wait for you……
    Lots of love and hugs, Tye.

  202. Please accept my sympathy on the loss of your beloved sister-of-the-heart. My prayers are with your families.

  203. I am so sad with you. I wish for you the time to reflect and enjoy the memories that will come after the shock and grief fade a bit. Loss is so very hard, and anger is so very appropriate, at times. Please consider the advice to take good care of yourself and of your family during this difficult time. Take care. Truly Nee-Nee was not ordinary, and neither are you.

  204. Stephanie,
    I’ve never commented before. You don’t know me. However, I am a loyal fan and reader of yours.
    As I sit here at work, waiting for the day to begin, reading your blog, I cry. I am so, so sorry for your loss. Many years ago, my mother, who was my best friend and true soul mate, died of cancer. Unlike your Nee-nee, it was a long death. I truly don’t think it matters the circumstances. One is never prepared for the void that comes, and never leaves. Like you, I was lucky to have many wonderful memories. Probably like you, I will never fully get over her death. I still can’t say, “I loved her”. My love still is, now, in the present tense. I love her. You love Nee-nee.
    Please accept my sincere apologies. Please extend them to Janine’s husband Stephen, her sister Julie, her mother Carol, and your mom, Bonnie. Please tell them that if you all were here, we’d be hugging, and sharing good thoughts about our loved ones missing, and the fact that we had never met before would not even be remembered.
    Take care,

  205. There’s nothing I can say that others haven’t already said, but I am truly sorry for your loss. My prayers are with you.

  206. Oh Stephanie, I’m so sorry for this loss to you and your family and to the rest of the world. She sounds like a wonderful woman. I wish you all peace and healing. Take time, be with family. Know that you are in our thoughts and hearts and that we mourn with you, not because we knew her, but because we never had the chance.

  207. My deepest sympathies. It is never easy to lose someone, and no death is ordinary. Each and every one is unique and painful, just as each and every person who died was a unique and beautiful person. {{{hug}}}

  208. Stephanie, I can only add what has already been said – my deepest sympathies and prayers for you, your family and Janine’s family at this sudden and tragic loss. May the memories you have help you through this very difficult time.

  209. Peace Be With You and your family. Take all the time you need to rage and cry and remember.

    Do You Realize – that you have the most beautiful face
    Do You Realize – we’re floating in space –
    Do You Realize – that happiness makes you cry
    Do You Realize – that everyone you know someday will die
    And instead of saying all of your goodbyes – let them know
    You realize that life goes fast
    It’s hard to make the good things last
    You realize the sun doesn’t go down
    It’s just an illusion caused by the world spinning round.
    ~The Flaming Lips

  210. Your blog (and book) have brought me such laughter. And yet you remind us from time to time of more serious concerns as well. I’m deeply sorry for your loss. May you and her loved ones left behind find comfort in one another and the wonderful memories of her well lived and well loved life.

  211. I’m keeping your family and near-family in my thoughts, Stephanie. I’m so sorry for this tragedy. How wonderful it must have been to have such a brilliant, deep friendship all your life. I’m glad you have marvelous memories to cherish.

  212. Stephanie – Usually, your blog makes me cry – but only because I am laughing so hard. Today I got teary-eyed because it is hard to imagine the loss you are going through. I am so sorry. Thanks for reminding me not to take my close ones for granted.

  213. Nothing I can say will make you feel better, I feel your aching sorrow, just know my thoughts are with you at this time.

  214. Prayers for you, your family and Neen’s family (acknowledging that you’re all one big family). A moment of silent prayer for your heart’s best friend. May you always find comfort in the memories of your dearest friend and know that she is looking out for you and yours from on high. Jennifer

  215. Stephanie, I am so sorry. I wish I had something to say to help ease the pain, but nothing comes to mind except to repeat that I’m sorry.

  216. I know you will miss her, but you are the perfect person to assure that she stays alive in memory. Her spirit is in good hands with you,

  217. Stepahie, I am so sorry to hear of your loss. Your narrative about Janine was beautiful. I feel greatful to have that little insight into her life. What a wonderful person. You’ll be in my thoughts and prayers.

  218. You are lucky to have had such a wonderful sister and thank you for sharing Janine with us. My thoughts and prayers are with you and yours. Hugs to you all.

  219. Thank you for sharing your Nee-Nee with me. You showed me the beautiful essence of who she was…and still is in a different form. Because you loved her so you were the only one who could make me care at her passing.
    We are all with you in spirit. Please remember to turn to those closest to you when you hurt. That’s what they’re there for.
    Peace be with you.

  220. My deepest condolences to you and your family for the loss of your sister. What a wonderful way to say all the great important little things (it’s the little things that make us important)about your sister. While yelling “no” into the wind may sound strange, I say yell. scream. get mad. cry. laugh. share stories. do it all… a celebration of a life is not without the emotions that accompany it. You and your family are in my prayers.

  221. I add my one wee voice to the over 400 comments – I’m so sorry. And a bittersweet thank you. For now I’m at work, choking back my tears while I remember my mother who died 5 years ago. For the death of that extraordinary woman was not like other losses.
    I wish I had known Janine like you knew her – just as I wish everyone in the world had known my mother like I knew her.

  222. Stephanie, I’m so sorry for you and your family and you will be in my thoughts. Thank you for sharing just a little bit of what made Janine such a special person to you and this world. What a beautiful soul. Take care, Tori

  223. My deepest sympathies, Stephanie. You brought tears to my eyes. Truly you have honored your dear friend Jeanine with your beautiful, poignant words.

  224. {{{Hugs}}}} I am so sorry to hear this sad news. It is just so much eaiser when you have a reason for a loss or at the least time to prepare. Without that it really is that much harder, there is no where to place the blame. If you need anything I am just an ear away!

  225. I am so very pleased that you have had someone like Janine in your life. My sincere condonlences as you enter this new phase in your relationship.
    My tears are with you now and my hopes that your good memories and good friends will be a source of strength for you and the families in the days ahead.

  226. Deepest and heartfelt condolences. 18 months ago my 40 year old stepson chose to end his life, for reasons we intellectually understood but emotionally grieved for. I feel that we never really understand why people die, regardless of the means of death. However, YOU and your family were part of your friend, and you will recover and live on, carrying forth her spirit and comfort. Despite the anger, the disbelief and the sorrow, we live on to grow and to appreciate precious life even more. The deep pain, unfortunately, is part of our lives and it is to be treasured because it means we have loved and we were loved, deeply.
    With prayers, Gail

  227. I wish that there were words that would help your family to feel better.
    My deepest sympathies to you all at this time.

  228. Blessings, warm thoughts and prayers being sent your way. May you find light in Janine’s memories during your time of sorrow.

  229. My heart goes out to you, Stephanie. You are a funny, warm and compassionate person. It is no wonder that you attract and have shared your life with the same type of people. Nee-Nee was a special person and your tribute to your almost-sister was beautiful and heart-wrenching. I miss her, without having known her. The feeding-cheerios-to-the-hippo story reminded me so much of my own dear sister, that I smiled through my tears. Many, many condolences to you and yours.

  230. Don’t you dare apologize for taking time for yourself. Take that time, and take it along with my condolences. I know this is going to be hard, and I wish I could make it easier. Be strong, and know your Nee-Nee is watching over you.

  231. I am so sorry for your lost. This is your time to take all the time and energy you need for yourself and your family. Life always goes on, and I believe Nee-Nee will always be with you, but transitions are tremendously hard to weather sometimes.
    Many condolences.

  232. I am so sorry for your loss, Stephanie. I offer this blessing to you:
    May God bless you and watch over you
    May God’s face shine upon and be gracious to you
    May God’s face turn to you and give you peace

  233. I’m so sorry Stephanie. I lost my dad suddenly — he was 49. I’m going to tell you something — it will get better and you will be stronger. Just take time to grieve. It is good for you — really. No matter how awful it feels. Please give yourself the time you need to do it.

  234. You probably won’t even see this, it’s so far down on the list. But you’re the first person I’ve ever seen who seemed to get it. When someone you love passes on, especially if it’s sudden, it’s as though the whole world changes – but you’re the only one who notices.
    It sucks pond scum but you do get through it. It’s incredibly, profoundly and unbelievably difficult and painful – but if you don’t shut down and turn everything off, you do get through it. It’s the only thing I can think of that might explain why grief exists. Because when you come out the other side (and even then, not for a while), you know you’ve really done something and that you’re stronger than you could have ever imagined.
    My profound condolences to you and your family. wish I could give all of you a hug.

  235. fair seas and following winds in her new journey.
    warm thoughts and long distance hugs for those whom she was taken from…you are all in my thoughts and prayers…

  236. Stephanie,
    What a moving tribute to your sister, I am in tears. I am so sorry for your loss, and just said a prayer for you and your family.
    ((HUGS)) Heidi

  237. Dear Stephanie:
    I am so sorry for your loss. In your grief you have eloquently described your sister so that all who did not know her personally will know her now. This act of loving kindness on your part ensures that her memory and goodness will not be forgotten. In my Jewish traditions it is understood that the best way to honor those who have passed is to continue to talk about them so that their memory stays alive forever.
    I hope that you and your family find some comfort and peace during these dark days.
    Elise H.

  238. The world changes with each loss. The quote about when a person passes a chapter is torn out is one of my favorites. It reminds me that the loss does make a hole, there’s nothing to ‘get over’ and that’s the point. The world is not the same. Somehow that’s comforting to me. I hope that made sense.
    My sympathy, you and the families are in my thoughts. I wish you peace and vivid memories of your dear friend.

  239. This is my fourth attempt to write something meaningful. But all I can really come up with is, hang in there. We love you, and hope you can draw some energy from all the power thoughts we’re sending your way.

  240. I am so sorry for your loss. Everyone will be thinking of you and your family these next few days.

  241. Like everyone else, I’m so sorry.
    It can seem so hard to communicate sympathy through words, but please know, I understand — there is now a Janine-shaped hole in your heart that no one else can fill. It seems empty and hurtful now, but someday the love and memories will flood in and make you smile through the tears when you think of her.
    love and blessings to you and yours,

  242. Stephanie, I’m so sorry to hear about Janine. Take care and our prayers here will be with you and your family.

  243. Take all the time you need for yourself. No matter if it is an expected passing or sudden, the feelings of you and your family will take time to process and deal with. You’re in my prayers.

  244. Like everyone, I am incredibly saddened to read about your loss; someone who was such a beloved part of your life. Your willingness to put her passing into the larger context of loss in this world is astounding, and we all love you for that. I hope that your lifetime of memories of this wonderful person will comfort you for years to come. Know that the spirit of her life will live on in the lives of those who loved her.

  245. ((((Stephanie)))), I have a friend like your Neen. Mine is an Elly Belly. I was just telling her an hour ago how lucky we are to have each other, and now I read about your pain. I feel guilty that I still have my friend, but glad to realize that I’m appreciating her all along, and counting my blessings as we go, as you no doubt did with your friend, too. I’m sorry for your loss, and you and yours and hers are in my prayers.

  246. I am profoundly sorry that you have lost such a wonderful person. May the light of her life continue to shine always, for you, your family and her family.

  247. You have touched so many lives with your writing. You have reminded us of many things, and made us laugh often. I think that your beautiful tribute to your sister reminds us all to leave no time lost in anger or misunderstandings, to be able to say there were no moments with Nee-Nee that you regret, is a powerful lesson that the entire world would be well off learning. My deepest sympathy and prayers to you, your families, and everyone who knows Nee-Nee.
    Linda in Colorado Springs, CO

  248. Steph, I’m so sorry for your loss, but grateful to you for taking the time to write about it.
    My gentlest regards to you and your family. Be kind with yourself and one another.

  249. Oh Stephanie:
    I know there is nothing I can say to ease your pain. Please know you and everyone who loved Janine are in my thoughts.
    There is no need to acknowledge this note. Just take the time and grieve.
    Susan G. in Dayton, Ohio

  250. I am so sorry, Stephanie. I’ll be thinking of you, and of Janine, whom I wish I had known.

  251. So very very sorry to log on and find this sad news, this deep loss in your and your family’s life. On the one hand, it seems senseless…yet, how blessed you were to have this amazing friend/sister this far in your life.
    I forget who wrote it, but “This world is not conclusion; A sequel waits beyond”
    It’s hard to find words to comfort such deep loss but there’s a lot of good energy, a lot of love being sent your way today and the next days to come. You wrote so beautifully about your dear friend, Stephanie….Thank you for sharing this with all of us. Strength for today to you.

  252. I am so very sorry for the loss of your Janine. My thoughts and prayers are with you and with your family.

  253. When I met you six days ago (through a book review > your blog > your books) I knew I had tapped into a unique and special person with a unique and special following. My b&n order arrived yesterday, and there was no saving for a rainy day. Before my husband left to do an errand I was laughing, and asked him to wait while I read a couple entries from �At Knit�s End �. When he returned I was silent, staring at the laptop. Janine�s beautiful photo, your beautiful eulogy, and this extraordinary outpouring of raw emotion from your beautiful blogging fans. I feel privileged to be witnessing this rare and magnificent tribute.

  254. I’m so very sorry for your loss. I, too, don’t write frequently, but you are very loved. Try to remember to eat, and look after each other.

  255. Everyone should be lucky enough to have a friend like your Janine. She sounds like a wonderful lady.
    All my sympathy,

  256. Just as there are no words that define the sweet & sublime moments, there are none that truly encompass the empty and grief-stricken. I hope there is comfort in the many prayers that have been sent out for you and yours and Janine’s. I pray the Lord will bless you all with peace.

  257. Stephanie, I’m so, so sorry for your loss. I never met Janine, but your words of tribute are so beautiful that I feel as though I’ve lost someone too.
    Take care. {{{hug}}}

  258. It is so often so difficult to be a human being. How it seems we only know how deep our grief is in relation to how sublime our joy can be. You can not have truly know one without knowing the other. Yesterday joy, today sorrow. So it is with us.
    Heartfelt hugs to you dearest Stephanie and all of the family on this great and tragic loss of a so dearly loved and honorable Nee-Nee. I am very sad for your loss.

  259. I am so sorry and am keeping a good thought for you, your family and Janines family.
    this is especially hard for me to read because my mom’s bestest friend and “sister” and my pseudo-aunt is dying of lung cancer. We know that the end is near, and all of the cliches you write of apply to her as well; it will be very hard when she is no longer here. I am so sorry for your loss.

  260. dear Stephanie-you don’t know me but I feel that I know you-Bless your heart and Janine’s too. So very sorry.

  261. So sad. I’m sorry for your loss. I am glad you have good memories and were fortunate to know and love her.
    P.S. I found you via another blog recommending you and saying you are also a doula.

  262. Words cannot express the sorrow in my heart for you. Gather those you love around you, and know that you are in the thoughts of many more than you probably realize.
    We’ll see you when you get back. We’ll keep the coffee warm.

  263. I am so very sorry for your terrible loss. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. I wish you some peace and comfort through this time of sadness.

  264. I’m so sorry Stephanie. My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family, and Janine’s.
    I send hugs as well.
    The pain will dim (though it doesn’t seem like it now), but her memory never will so long as those who love her keep her near their hearts.

  265. I’m sitting here in front of my computer weeping for you. I do not know you and I read your blog infrequently. I happened, tonight, to sit down while my soup is simmering on the stove, and catch up on my blogs. Little did I know that I would find you in this moment of greif. I am in awe of the number of comments you have. You will probably never read mine, but I want you to know that your memory of Nee-nee is so lovely, so raw and so poignant, that it touched a very sensitive nerve in me. I am crying as I write this, sloppily and lustfuly, with snot running down my face. I feel for you and I understand your greif. You are not alone.

  266. Having not read the 480 previous comments, I am sure that I will be repeating what someone said. I am so sorry for your loss. No grief is ordinary. Grief is always the biggest grief in the world. I am sorry that you lost someone so wonderful. I am glad you had each other- how lucky she was to have been loved so well by someone who would say such beautiful things about her.

  267. I am so sorry to learn of your loss. The picture of Janine looks like she was SO MUCH FUN! Maybe she is still dancing!

  268. I am so sorry to learn of your loss. The picture of Janine looks like she was SO MUCH FUN! I bet she is still dancing!

  269. The next time I see a walrus sculpture, I’m gonna feed it cheerios.
    It’s hard when it’s sudden. Take care.

  270. I am so very sorry to hear of your dear friend’s passing. It just seems unfair when one passes so young – especially someone as kind & precious as Janine was to you. My thoughts are with you & yours. Hold on to each other & take time to share some memories together.

  271. This is such a difficult time for you but “we” are here supporting you…………
    I am so glad you are able to have such wonderful memories of Neen……our sympathies to you & family

  272. BIG HUGS !!! So sorry for the loss of your friend-sister. My prayers are with you and your family.

  273. I am so sorry. Our thoughts and prayers are with you, Janine’s family and everyone that knew her.

  274. As I stand on a mountaintop,
    As the great bird approaches,
    She is small in my sight
    but grows larger on approach,
    Until I am blessed
    with the full sight of her graceful wings,
    proud countenance and good company
    All too quickly,
    she grows small again on the horizon
    and disappears from view
    and I call out,
    �There! She is gone�
    But there are other mountaintops beyond me.
    And at the precise moment
    when I note the great bird�s departure from my view,
    I know there are new eyes taking up the sight of her
    And fresh voices calling out,
    �Here she comes.�
    You are all in my prayers.

  275. I knew the wrinkle in the universe I felt yesterday had to be my spirit reacting to the dark space left by the keeper of a brilliant light travelling to the spirit world. I am devestated to find that dark space is the loss of your dear Nee-Nee. May you and your family find peace during this difficult time and the memory of Nee-Nee’s brilliant light warm your hearts for eternity. She no longer walks this world, but she will never be gone. My thoughts are with you, and your Nee-Nee.

  276. Not fair, Steph. Not. Fair. There are no words to lessen the pain, let the tears flow, babe.

  277. Stephanie,
    I’ve never posted a comment here before, but please know that so many people are keeping you and your family in their hearts right now. I am so sorry for your loss.

  278. Many years ago, there was a priest that was sentenced to a Gulag. Before he was a priest, he was a famous art critic and historian. He said he could no longer be just an art critic when he knew he could see God in everything. He had a vision, once, and this is how he described it: All the people in the gulag were transparent, and he could see their hearts. In their hearts were small flames, and large flames, flames where he thought there were none, and no flames where he figured there would have been. This was supposed to be their faith he saw. You had such firey faith in your friend.
    Don’t let your flame go out. Remember.

  279. In my wedding vows – said just a few hours less than a year ago – I said something in praise of my now-husband that I very firmly believe in all my life…he too feels that friends are the family you choose. No words will be enough for any of you, but you reminded a few thousand people to show love to those who hold a place in their hearts like Neen does in yours – words and actions if they’re here, thoughts and prayers if they’re not. I’m always grateful to know that there are other people in the world who love their friends this much. Peace and blessings to you and your family – blood-related and chosen alike.

  280. Oh, I’m so terribly sorry for the pain you are all feeling. My deepest sympathies. I wish I had a chance to meet Neen. She was special.

  281. Stephanie, I am so very, very sorry for your loss. Losses leave holes in the fabrics of our lives I am so sad for you that you have lost someone so special. People say the same things over and over because those same things are always true.

  282. Your beautiful tribute to Janine brought me to tears. We lost 2 long-time, but not so close, friends suddenly last month, and we’re still reeling from the shock. It will take a while before you and your family feel like you can function normally again — but it will never be the “same.” My heart and prayers reach out to you, and I wish you peace with the beautiful memories and lessons you have from your lovely heart-sister.

  283. Deep breath. Tears can help with the healing and most importantly…listen for her…watch for her. She will be with you. Pay attention Steph and all who loved your NeeNee…she will send you ripples of energy right now, while she is fighting the pull to the other side. If stuff moves or a bird feather falls in front of you, say thank you and smile knowingly to yourself that your sister/friend is just in another form. My tears for your physical loss Steph. You will be together on the other side.

  284. My heartfelt sympathy. The burden of grief is almost too much to bear. Nothing any of us can say will be the thing you want to hear… that this has all just been a bad dream. I hope you will find comfort in all the condolences from all the knitters who care about you.

  285. My heartfelt sympathy. The burden of grief is almost too much to bear. Nothing any of us can say will be the thing you want to hear… that this has all just been a bad dream. I hope you will find comfort in all the condolences from all the knitters who care about you.

  286. My deepest sympathy to you and your family for such a sudden loss is hard; no, impossible to comprehend.
    I lost both parents this year (just 10 weeks apart) and wanted to share the poem that has been my mantra these months, but someone already posted it – here it is anyway:
    Life is Eternal
    I am standing upon the seashore, a ship
    at my side spreads her white sails
    to the morning breeze and starts for
    the blue ocean. She is an object of
    beauty and strength and I stand and
    watch her until at length she hangs
    like a speck of white cloud just where
    the sea and the sky come down to
    mingle with each other.
    Then someone at my side says
    �There! She�s Gone.� Gone where?
    Gone from my sight � that is all.
    She is just as large in mast
    and hull and spar as she was
    when she left my side, and just
    as able to bear her load of living freight to the place of destination.
    Her diminished size is in me, not in her;
    and just at the moment when some one
    at my side says
    �There! She�s Gone,�
    there are other eyes watching her coming,
    and other voices ready to take up the glad shout �There She Comes!�
    Suffice to say the angels in heaven are singing “here she comes!” with great joy as Neen approaches…
    Hugs and love, dear Steph.

  287. So sorry Steph. I know it’s going to be hard. Just try to hold on to the memories. I think it’s will help a lot.

  288. Stephanie,
    I beleive the words do help. Your words about Nee-Nee have opened her up to all of us. We get a glimpse of who she is by your wonderful memories. And now as you read our words of peace please know we will share your pain. We are all praying for her and her loved ones. I hope this lifts your burden of grief if only a tiny bit.
    Blessed Be.

  289. From the anticipated first cry of a newborn until the shattering silence of a breath stilled, it is the depth of one’s love for that single, distinct, sometimes odd, but funny and endearing grain of sand in the universe which makes the burden of grief so incredibly heavy.
    So sorry for the loss of your beloved Janine.
    Be gentle with yourselves.

  290. I am so, so sorry to hear about your loss, Stephanie. She was a wonderful friend, and lucky to have you in her life as well! As cliche as it sounds, now you will have an angel looking out for you. When something funny and unexpected happens in your life for no reason – it will be from her. 🙂

  291. i’m terribly, terribly sorry to hear about the loss in your family! my heart breaks for you. my prayers will be for strength for you and your family.

  292. I’m so sorry for you loss, Stephanie. I know that nothing I can say will make the pain any less but please know that I am thinking of you and your family.
    And thank you for writing such a beautiful, heartfelt post that reminded me to take a little time out of my day to appreciate the lives of those I love.

  293. Dear Stephanie,
    Because of you, there are knitters all over the world thinking of Nee-Nee today. And because of you, I thought about all of the people who are special to me….so much a part of my world that I can’t imagine it without them. I called them all yesterday and told them how much I loved them, because you and Jeanine reminded me how quickly the world can change. Thank you for that.

  294. So sorry to hear of your loss, my thoughts are with you, your family and Nee-Nee’s family at this sad time.

  295. Oh, Stephanie. You go run into the street and rage and scream; for your loss isn’t ordinary. It’s YOURS; and each individual’s feelings and grief and pain are distinct and different. I am so sorry for your loss. I know the anguish you feel, the pain that is so heavy you feel like it will crush your chest and make you collapse. My prayers are with you and yours.

  296. I’m here. Just another friend signing in to let you know I’m thinking about you and I am sorry for your suffering, and the pain of those that you love.

  297. Just another knitter who has felt losses like this lately:
    You are very insightful and balanced and I commend you for that. And I know the deep hole that you are gazing into is not your Janine but the disbelief that she could be invisible to you, but soon we learn to look to where they really are in our hearts and then we do see them, even now…changed by our not having days with them presently…but unchanged by those we shared. I can’t express it, but that is really is, them being alive with us even now.
    Heal in Love, feel her love embracing you, and all her friends and family. We are really still united in the web of life, that is why I love to spin, we are connected still and always.
    Love to you.

  298. Dear Stephanie,
    Your eloquent reminder of the fragility of life will help all of us who know you through your writing live better lives. Though it may seem impossible now you will heal, older and wiser and taking less for granted. Saying “I’m so sorry” seems completely inadequate, so I offer this Buddhist meditation:
    May all beings dwell in the heart.
    May all beings be free from suffering
    May all beings be healed.
    May all beings be at peace.

  299. Words really aren’t adequate, but I am thinking of you and your entire family and wishing there was something nice to say that would make it better. Hugs all around is the best I can do tho.

  300. I have felt your pain and cried those tears. In time you will shed a tear each day – and go on to smile and remember the good things about her. We cry you know not for the one who has died – but for the pain and loss we feel without them. Tears however are necessary – grieving is necessary. Don’t be afraid to feel it.
    Take care –

  301. Stephanie, you are wrong. This was NOT an ordinary loss. There is no such thing. Each of us is on this planet once and nobody else is or was or ever will be the same as anyone else.
    I have experienced painful loss and I know that there is nothing to say that will “help”, but I do know that you will go through this grief and express it and not deny it. That is as good as it gets.

  302. Stephanie,
    I’m standing there on the street with you screaming! Thank you for sending gentle thoughts to all of us who have lost somebody in our lives. It’s beautiful how you express that each loss is an extraordinary loss.
    Hugs, Christine

  303. Stephanie, I am so so sorry about your loss. You are in my heart and prayers and I am sending you hugs and love across the miles. -Jennifer (Mintlipgloss)

  304. We are all ordinary people who strive to be extraordinary in the eyes of those we love. Jeannine was your extraordinary person. The loss of her prescence in your life and in the lives of her family is not ordinary to any of you nor should it be.
    Scream all you want and all you need to. My heart screams along with you when I remember the “extraordinary” people whom I have known and loved.

  305. You know I’m praying for you, right? You protested against this being ordinary, but I would say ordinary only in the sense that death is universal, not that your grief is not special–actually it is, not everyone gets such a tribute. And universal words for a universal experience are not hollow. If only there were more that we could do when someone dies. She still IS, by the way. I wish that I could sit by you on the couch and just listen and be quiet for you.

  306. The losses that are so terribly unexpected are always the most difficult. We have no sense of “preparation” and are often left feeling in shock as well as grieving the loss.
    There was nothing ordinary about your tribute to a special person in your life. It was beautiful, and touching and you made me wish that I had known her.
    My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  307. I lost my dear friend Claire too young and much too soon, I feel sorrow with you for a world without these precious souls. I rage too, and I am so very sorry.

  308. Just back from visiting a friend of mine in Canuckland and read this post, Steph. It’s always difficult to know what to say at these times in a person’s life. I’m so very sorry for your grief, and please know that you and your family are in my thoughts and heart this evening.

  309. Stephanie~
    I am so sorry for the loss of your sister, Nee-Nee. It is so hard to lose someone that you love. Try to find some solace in the memories you shared with the lovely Nee-Nee and take good care of yourself.

  310. In my family we “send pink light” when there is healing or grieving or hugging or love to be sent. Consider it sent, dear one.

  311. Dear Stephanie, Thank you for expressing so movingly your grief over the loss of your friend. I just had to add my voice to all the others who are thinking of you at this awful time. I’m so sorry.

  312. My sympathies on the death of your sister. It seems different when it is a young person’s unexpected death. I always thought I managed the death of a loved one with grace, well, my brother died June21,2005 unexpectedly and alone- he way way too young. I am doing a very poor job of being the sister of a dead sibling and I give you love and permission to do a bad job of it, too. God bless your mother.

  313. I am so so so sorry for your lost. I send lots of love to you and your family and hope that you simply keep all the wonderful memories in your heart forever.

  314. October 15 will always be my brother’s birthday despite the fact that he was suddenly, inexplicably pulled off the face of the earth 14 years ago. You will be walking down the street wondering how the people around you can so casually be talking and laughing and acting so normal when the world has fallen off its axis. Nothing will ever be quite the same. And it will take time to get used to that fact.
    The memories are painful now, but will become very, very precious with time. Make sure you pass on those memories; there will be a lot of comfort in that over time.
    P.S. Don’t ever apologize for changing your schedule. Family takes precedence over everything, and anyone who doesn’t understand that is someone I don’t want to know.
    {{{Stephanie}}} Unfortunately, that’s the best I can do from So. Cal.

  315. Stephanie, I am immensely sorry for your loss. Janine does not sound like an ordinary person at all because she held such a special place in your lives and those of others who loved her. You are the good person you are today because of her. You will still be a good person tomorrow because that part of her resides in you. May the love from strangers and the security of family help you through your loss.

  316. My love to you, your family, and your sister’s family – no need to put quotes around “sister” — such sisterhood is too deep to require them.

  317. you have touched all our hearts.. may our caring love for you touch yours back.. thank you.. and we are so deeply sorry for your great loss.

  318. I’m so very sorry, Stephanie.
    Screaming has helped me deal with the death of the guy who didn’t believe math was a rat bastard.
    Writing letters to him helped, too.
    My best wishes will go with you through every step you’re taking.
    -Robin in Bethesda

  319. I am so sorry for your family’s loss. Words cannot express, as you have found. I send you a psychic hug…..

  320. Please know that we are all thinking about you and are so sorry for your loss. Such love is never ordinary.

  321. No loss is ever ordinary and you should go out and scream and yell if you need to. My brother died suddenly almost 30 years ago and even though I don’t need to run and hide like I did the day I heard, it still makes me incredibly sad and still feels like such a waste to lose someone who was so young and had everything ahead of him. I don’t think of it everyday but when I do, I cry like I am doing now. I have never met you but am sending you hugs and keeping you in my thoughts.

  322. Ohhhhhh, I am so so sorry. Diane above is right- the memories that are so painful now will someday bring bittersweet joy. My brother passed 10 years ago- and I know there are no words for describing the feeling of knowing that a light has gone out forever. Be kind to yourself, grieve as much as you need to, and even though, as you acknowledged, everyone at sometime has this horrible grief- yours IS unique- everyone’s is unique TO THEM. Please believe that the memories that are kicking you in the gut now, will someday bring smiles. Tons of hugs to you, your family, and hers.

  323. Oh… my heart just breaks for you. I know that there is no consolation that could express how sad it is t0 have someone so wonderful and bright taken so young and unexpectedly.
    I, from across the US border, am sending you thoughts of comfort and will think of Nee-Nee when I am knitting today.
    I wish you peace.

  324. Not a day passes over the earth but men and women of no note do great deeds, speak great words, and suffer noble sorrows.
    -Charles Reade
    Thank you for sharing the great deeds of Janie with us, it is a challenge to make words express how one feels at a time like this. My thoughts are with you.

  325. Stephanie…the words aren’t there for how sorry I am for you and your family. Your tribute to your sister is lovely, and heartbreaking. My love and thoughts are with you.

  326. Peace be with you and yours as you fling your arms out at the injustice, the unfairness at the seeming impossible loss and its void.
    Prayers be with you and yours to fill your hearts with soothing thoughts and happy memories.
    Hugs are sent to surround you and yours with comfort and soft warmth of the human touch.
    So sorry for such a loss.

  327. there are no words stephanie to make the pain go away only time will do that and you will hate it when the pain goes away.
    she sounds like she was an extraordinary person and i hope that she is and will be remembered by all who knew her.
    thank you for sharing
    i cant do more than that for you are very far away.

  328. I’ve never commented here before and you don�t know me, but I wanted to let you know how very much your post moved me and how sorry I am for your loss. If it helps you at all to know that other people are thinking of you and your family, then here�s a little bit more. I was scrolling through the comments and reading others� shared experiences of their losses, and I am just amazed at how truly resilient the human race is – such an immense amount of collective pain for people to live through, but somehow we do, and we go on to love some more. For me, there still is (and always will be) a void from the loss of my father 6 years ago, but it has filled in around the edges with recalled memories and the love given to and received from friends and family.
    That�s the polite part – now I�ll just say that it more than bites that you and your extended family have to deal with this loss when it shouldn�t have happened for another 40 or 50 years. I�m truly sorry.

  329. Stephanie — You give joy to so many, and you wouldn’t be the gift you are to all of us, without Janine’s gifts of herself to you. So we love her too. And all of us who read your blog lift you up and support you during this raw, wretched moment. Peace be with you, and fond, joyful memories of your beloved sister/friend…
    Plant something beautiful that will return each spring, in honor of her.

  330. When I was told you were not attending the Rhinebeck signing due to family tragedy, I instantly prayed it was not to bad…now I’ve read that it is…you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers…I’m truly sorry. And never apologize for taking care of you and yours, no matter what.

  331. My brother died suddenly six years ago. We were able to make it through mostly because he never had a serious moment in his entire existence. We just repeated stories about him for comfort and it really did help. Don’t let anyone tell you that you shouldn’t talk about your Janine.
    Reach for humor where you can, it seems to be a theme for you and a strong support. You have my prayers.

  332. My sympathies are with you and your family on your loss. I know your pain having lost my sister 29 years ago. “she left footprints where her feet had trod” . Soon , when you least expect it the sun will break through and you will know.

  333. No-one is ever gone as long as someone remebers them. Thanks to your loving and heartfelt post, hundreds more remember Nee-Nee too. She will never be gone…

  334. thinking of you and yours…
    Who knows what kind of reality the soul occupies,
    and where it goes when the body ceases to function?
    It has been my experience that all things follow patterns.
    Miracles happen through the consistency of nature.
    I choose to believe that this same principle carries on beyond this reality – that life is unending, but ever changing…
    — The Cruxshadows, “Roman”

  335. I am so sorry for your tremendous loss. I know the hole it tore in your heart and the pain you are suffering. You are blessed for having had such a wonderful more-than-friend.

  336. Belated hugs, I’ve been away…
    Nature’s first green is gold,
    Her hardest hue to hold.
    Her early leaf’s a flower;
    but only so an hour.
    Then leaf subsides to leaf.
    So Eden sank to grief,
    So dawn goes down to day.
    Nothing gold can stay.
    — Robert Frost

  337. I am so sorry for your loss. My thoughts along with so many others knitters, readers of your blog and your book will be with you.

  338. You are so very brave to tell the world of your loss. I am in mourning for my baby boy who died in June and I just can’t find the words yet to write down how I feel. He didn’t have a life as such to celebrate but will always be loved. There isn’t anything anyone can say that can take the pain away from you but I’m thinking of you and sending big hugs.

  339. I’m so sorry. I hate to say that, as it sounds so cliched, as well, but there aren’t any words that make people feel better, truly at a time like this. My thoughts are with you.

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