Good morning and thank you everyone for coming to be here with our family. Words can’t begin to describe how much we appreciate the love and support we’ve received over the last several days. Please know that even if we have not yet been able to thank you personally we know how much our family is loved and are blessed by the prayers for us and the girls. K and I would especially like to thank our friends and K's family for helping us get through this and taking care of our boys. We are truly blessed to have you in our lives.
Several times during the last few days, as appointments have been made and jobs have been doled out amongst ourselves, I’ve found myself going through my head making a plan and deciding who is going to do what. Whenever it involves us sisters together I’ve automatically thought, me, CA, Jeanne, C and S. The five us have always been a unit. Moving forward without Jeanne is still unbelievable.
As those of you who know us well, we are an extremely close family. C and I joke sometimes that at times we’re in each others lives a little too much. From E’s latest swimming achievement, to A’s broken arm to the latest antics from W and I, the family communication system goes into effect and within hours or sometimes even minutes, we all know what’s going on and a shared laugh is circulating or help is on the way.
The family communication system is never more effective than when we are sharing the sporting lives of our kids. And Jeanne and Mike were the ultimate sports parents, whether it was showing a good example to their kids of a healthy lifestyle with their running and biking (usually with a dog in tow and jog stroller), or cheering loudly from the sidelines or pool decks. One of my favorite things is our Monday morning phone conversations recounting scores from the day before and how our respective little athletes had performed. This is actually one of the only areas that I was able to give Jeanne some advice and I liked that my "big" sister would listen to me when it came to soccer and the girls.
It goes without saying that Jeanne and Mike were amazing people and parents. Jeanne taught me how to be a mom. She is always my go-to person with questions, from how to set up a nap schedule to what to do with fevers and homework. She has been my lifeline. I wouldn’t be the mother I am today without her.
But Mike and Jeanne also had their wild side. My sons A and D love me to tell the Aunt Jeanne legend about when she ate her entire hotdog dinner before we had even said grace. I’ll never forget the phone call mom received one Monday afternoon from the principal at O’Connell that Jeanne was in trouble for going off-campus during lunch and getting a diet coke. When I was a senior in high school, my sister-in-law Sonya and I travelled to James Madison to see the campus and stay with Zhea and she actually bought us beer. Mike taught me how to smoke a cigar. Or who doesn’t recently remember K’s 40th birthday party or any of the McNutt Christmas parties, where Jeanne and Mike were the life of the party and more often than not the last ones to leave. Even then, they both showed us how important family and friends were to them. I can’t remember any party or family get together that didn’t end with a huge hug from Mike and him telling me we have to do this more often, getting our families together to share a meal, drink a beer (or two), play some waffle-ball or just share time together.
Mom and Dad, I am so sorry for your loss. As a parent myself, I can only imagine what you’re going through. But please know, that our closeness and the love we have shared as sisters is because of you. Your example of love, patience, humor, and forgiveness has helped us beyond measure. Even though our world is forever changed I have faith that this bond you’ve created between us will never be broken and will help us in the days, months and years to come.
Mike Sr., Molly, Tim, Sara, Joe, John, and Andrew I am also so sorry for your loss. Please know how much Mike was loved by all of us. He had the great honor of being the first brother-in-law. And he truly was our brother. His love, patience and kindness to all of us sisters was amazing. From early on he was at every soccer game, family event, home project and important family moment. I know that he has helped K, DG and CS be the wonderful brother-in-laws, husbands and fathers that they are today.
E, M, MG and KT. All four of us were there within minutes after each of you were born. I have never seen your parents happier than on each of those days. Your parents loved you the moment you came into their lives and it has multiplied each and every moment of every day. You were the center of their lives. Please remember that even though they’re not here, that love will never go away. Their immense love pulled all of us into your lives. Your parents left us that legacy and we will always love you and will do our very best each day to remind you of that love and take care of you.
I really don’t know what else to say and then at the same time there is still so much to say. Jeanne and Mike I love you and I miss you. Again, everyone thank you for all of your love and support, please keep us and girls in your prayers.