I shelved my planned blog for this week, so that I could tell you a little about my sister and best friend. She deserves a write-up, since she was probably the most humble person I’ve ever known. She never realized how special she really was.
My sister, Connie (Miller) Desjardins, died the early evening of February 5, 2015 after being rushed to the hospital that afternoon. On January 10, she celebrated her 74th birthday. The last few years, she fought serious health issues. Her battle is now over and she can rest in peace.
Connie Miller was born in Windsor and moved to St. Clair Shores, Michigan shortly after her marriage. As a young girl she enjoyed acting in school plays, singing in the church choir, and loved dancing. She excelled at tap in her dance classes and enjoyed the new rock’n roll music in her teens.
My sister was an exceptional woman, who married very young, worked very hard, and survived a heart-breaking divorce. She raised five children and enjoyed numerous grandchildren, and even a handful of great-grandchildren. Her sewing and knitting were exceptional and she designed and made beautiful unique baby items. Connie owned the kitchen and proved to be a masterful cook. Her baking was absolutely the best and her Bar-B-Qs were legendary in her neighborhood. Her backyard was always filled with kids either swimming in the pool all summer or skating on the ice rink all winter.
My sister with her five children: Jim, Chuck, Kathy, Connie, Karen, and Ken (her 70th Birthday party)
The majority of her time she spent raising her children. All she ever cared about was their happiness and welfare. They became self-sufficient adults and moved on with their own lives. She was very proud of all of them. Connie lived alone for many years. Suffering from COPD, she enjoyed a quiet life, doting on her growing family, and enjoying her close friends. She was in her seventies when her health took a serious turn and the COPD affected her heart. She did the little things she could do herself, but required help for many everyday things.
When her children stepped in to help, she bragged to anyone who would listen, how wonderful they treated her. Their efforts made her very proud, but what uplifted her spirits most was just seeing them. They were the most important people in her life. Having a conversation and laughing with them always put a big smile on her face. She was the proud mother and that would never change.
I spoke to her on the phone, the day before she died. Her health was getting worse. She told me she felt very tired, and that most of the things she loved to do, she just couldn’t do anymore. She explained how hard it was to even eat and sleep. Life had become a never-ending battle of survival. Last summer, the doctors had given her only a few months. She had seen her priest and felt very comfortable in her faith. She never complained very much. She would give me a quick rundown of her health, and then change the subject and talk about other things.
No conversation was complete until she brought me up to speed on her family’s activities. She was going to be a great-grandma again. Bragging about how her kids had really stepped up and helped her to feel loved and very special. Jim called or visited almost every day – she loved that. Kathy was her best friend and spent so much time with her mother. She raved about the soup Karen made for her and loved the new recliner. She told me how proud she was of Ken and Chuck. They were helping in any way they could, to make her life easier.
Her objective this fall was to get through one more Christmas and she succeeded. This Christmas Eve she spent with all her children. It was exactly what she had hoped for – an evening of laughter and love.
My sister with her grandchildren:
Back row: Brett, Christopher, Kimberley, Keira, Anthony, Sam, Brandon
Front row: Katie, Nicholas, Eva and Connie.
Connie worried about Kathy. She knew how hard it would be for her daughter when she was gone. They spent so much time together confiding in each other. She prayed all her children would get through her death, confident in the fact their mother loved and respected them.
We spent a long time on the phone that day – but we could talk for hours. She seemed very satisfied and quite peaceful when we ended our conversation with the usual “love you, we’ll talk again soon”… I never thought it would be our last conversation.
Connie and I shared everything from the time we were quite young. We loved, trusted, and protected each other. We talked all the time, and about everything. I know her passing will leave a hole in my life, but I also know she will always be close. I’ll hold her in my heart, and cherish every memory. I believe her children and her brothers will know she is there for them too – that she is never far away. She will always be in our hearts and minds, ready to listen and share, and give us whatever comfort or encouragement we might need.
I’m sure she is dancing in heaven and probably organizing the occasional Bar-B-Q, swim, and baseball game. I’m sure the cherubs are all getting their own custom-knitted bonnets, sweaters, and booties. St. Peter definitely has a new confidant.
My sister made a wonderful impression on people wherever she went…