I want to thank all of those that have offered their sympaties, the caring from the fire community has been overwhelming. It's been a tough week and your support has been much appreciated.
I'd like to tell anyone that would like to listen (or read in this case) a little about my sister Janice. She was 55 years old and had been battling cancer for nearly five years. She was the nicest and most kind hearted person you could ever meet. She never thought of herself, only of others. She is the only person I know that donated a portion of every pay check to churches and charities, and would frequently donate above that when the occasion called for it. And that didn't include what she did for people every day, especially her family. She would often want to help or contribute funds and would say that she wanted to "bless you". I would often say no one sneezed, which she would just giggle at. I've never met anyone so insistent on helping others. But, she would never want anything for herself.
Janice was an avid hockey fan and was dedicated to her beloved Boston Bruins. Even when a band of five year olds that couldn't skate could play better than them, she would find some reason to praise the team. Even if it was just one player doing one thing right. It was because of Janice that I saw so many Bruins games growing up and came to love the Bruins as well. Despite not making a lot of money, she took me to as many games as she could. One time we had seats down by the glass and she fell down after slipping on an area that was wet. The EMTs wanted her to go to the hospital, but she refused. She didn't want me to miss the game. She cared so much, that she sat there in pain so I didn't miss the game. And even though I said she should go, she wouldn't budge. She had known I had been looking forward to it.
My cultural growth was not limited to hockey games. Janice took me many places so I could experience new things. I saw a number of plays in the theater district of Boston, the Nutcracker, and along with my mother, even Disney World when I was small. I even experienced Tom Jones and that Humperdink guy. And when I was going into the Coast Guard, she took me to the Top of the Hub restaurant in Boston for dinner. Good, bad, or indifferent, I owe a lot of my experiences growing up to her. She thought nothing of taking me to see something new. And she never asked for anything in return.
Janice was a big fan of penguins, so it was no surprise that her "2nd favorite" team was the Pittsburgh Penguins. She loved the logo and would cheer for them, so long as they weren't playing the Bruins. Last year I purchased her a game worn Penguins jersey that was used by Mark Eaton. Her favorite number is 3 because she was born on November 3rd. The Bruins 3 is retired, so I thought this would be cool since it has the logo on the front that she loved so much and the number 3 since that was the number Mark wore. You would have thought I had given her gold; she was so honored that I would get that for her. She had it hung up in her room so that she could look at it all the time. A hockey fan that I had corresponded with a few times from Toronto emailed me to say that she was having a beer with Eddie Shore in heaven. Lionel Hitchman wore the Bruins 3 which has been retired for many years, so I'm sure he's joining them too. While Janice didn't drink, she might have a glass of ginger ale with them.
These are just a few of the insights on a woman that to me was the epitome of a decent human being. She loved my children like they were her own and you could see the joy in her face every time they came over the house. My children adored her as well and I think that kept her going for possibly longer than she might have otherwise. She wore her heart on her sleeve and it was no secret what I meant to her. I just hope that she knows what she meant to me. There is a gaping hole in my heart that will not easily be repaired. The number 3 will forever be retired in my heart and the ping of puck hitting the goal post will never be the same. Janice was not just my sister, but my friend and I will miss her more than these words could possibly describe. Godspeed my friend, I love you.