Empty, Numb, Thankful, Blessed are not four words that you see connected very often, if at all. These are the four words that come to mind as I write for/to you today. This past weekend we lost a very special person to a stroke. Her name was Jeanne Schmidt, the Director of Camp Kemo. Jeanne's husband and daughters are experiencing a sudden and great loss. Her family and the Camp Kemo family are experiencing a great loss.
The empty and numb feelings come from losing someone that had such a profound impact on MY life and on the lives of all she touched. She had so much to give all of us and gave of herself constantly. That is gone now. Gone in an instant! As we all try to make sense of it, we turn to God and pray he shows us the way and makes sense of it for us. For, Jeanne is one of those people that is not replaced in our life. When someone like Jeanne leaves you the void is tremendous and leaves you feeling sucker punched. It leaves you wondering who will fill the void? Or, will the void be filled? Can it be filled?
With the emptiness and numbness beginning to overwhelm me I turned to what I always need to turn to with God's help and that is counting my Blessings and being Thankful. It is hard at a time like this but necessary. So I am thankful for:
- Having known Jeanne and working closely with her these past 13 years on something that is near and dear to my heart, Camp Kemo.
- seeing Camp Kemo and people through Jeanne's eyes. (so special)
- Jeanne's infectious smile, voice, and laugh. (I can still see and hear her when I close my eyes)
- all of the other people Jeanne brought into my life that make it so full, so special.
- Jeanne's ability to make Camp Kemo even more special to me than it already was when I met her.
- seeing her TRUE concern for all people
- And the most fulfilling and maddening of all was Jeanne's wanting everyone to be happy! I would try but always accepted the fact that 'you can't make everyone happy'! Well, Jeanne did not know this or accept this as fact! She did not just work to make 115 campers happy each year. She worked to make every one of 50 counselors happy by doing things like making sure EACH, yes each, counselor had their favorite snacks in the counselor snack room. She worked to make sure ALL of the nurses were happy which worked for me since I am married to a nurse. She even wanted to make, now get this, all of the doctors happy! Imagine that, making ALL of the doctors happy. I am thinking if there are 2 doctors in a room and you make one happy, you are doing something special. NOPE, Jeanne wanted all of the doctors happy. Anyway, if you had anything to do with Camp Kemo, Jeanne was going to work to make you happy, make you feel part of the Camp Kemo Family, and smile every step of the way. She did this from the time she got up each day to the time she turned in at night. I know because I was there with her trying to figure out how to make everyone happy. She would question me constantly, is so & so doing OK, do we need to get this for that person, can you start a list of all of the people we need to make happy today! As much as it drove me crazy, I LOVED IT! I LOVED JEANNE!
- Having had even one Jeanne Schmidt in my life is something to be Thankful for and feel Blessed!
This list could go on for quite some time, as did the receiving line at the funeral home last night. A 2 hour line existed from 4 PM until I left at almost 9 PM. All people touched by Jeanne, Ralph, and there family. A Testament to God's reach through one very special person. A person that I have been all to fortunate to have in my life. I am Thankful and Blessed!
Note to ME and YOU: If you are fortunate enough to have someone like Jeanne Schmidt in your life, cherish her, learn from her, love her, and thank her. She will definitely enhance your journey through life!
PS Watch over us, Jeanne!