"I can't speak!!" is the phrase I can't stop thinking of. I hear the incredulous exclamation in my mind. There was always a hint of laughter when Jane said it after hearing about an outrageous thing that someone had done in public.
But now, with the phrase ringing over and over in my head, I find that I really can't speak.
And yet there are so many things to say.
I met Jane shortly before marrying her oldest son. She immediately welcomed me into the family. I felt embraced. And I always felt embraced whenever I was with her.
Jane and I didn't just share a love for her son. We also shared a love for music, gardening, books and movies. And we shared our admiration for Ken Burns' documentary "The Civil War". It wasn't just the documentary. It was that haunting violin playing throughout the series.
The first time we talked about "The Ashokan Farewell", Jane announced that she wanted it played at her funeral. That was years before there was any hint that that time would ever come. I still cannot believe that time has come. Not at all.
Really. I can't speak.
Jane Sayler Heffelfinger, the 'mother' of Pacific Opera Victoria died at home on Wednesday 22 June, 2011. She is survived by her beloved husband of over 60 years, 2 daughters, 3 sons, and 6 grandchildren.