Remembrance of my sister, Jacqueline Therese Massey
The following is the remembrance that I read at the service we held to celebrate my sister Jackie’s life on December 10, 2016.
It’s hard to encapsulate a life, especially one like Jackie’s, in a few minutes or a few pages. Her life was not boring, nor was it easy. Yet she faced each challenge with her faith knowing that no matter what, God was with her. Her faith, her love, and her desire to be loved, her service and her loyalty….these are all things that anyone who knew Jackie could speak to, because they were so much a part of her. Today I’ll share a bit about being her baby sister, because when she didn’t mind me hanging around, that’s what she would call me.
When you are the last of four girls and your sisters are 10, 9, and 7 years older than you are, you develop coping mechanisms to survive. You learn which sister you have a chance of beating in a fight, and which ones not to even try fighting.
Jackie was the one who couldn’t fight. I easily beat her whenever we fought, but she always had the last laugh – she would report to Mummy, who would then take her side, and I was left wondering what ever happened to the rule that the baby got away with everything. So really, even though I had won the battle, Jackie always won the war.
Jackie loved showing her authoritative side in other ways. One day when I was in 7th grade and she was in 13th, I was in the lunch line. She was the prefect and as such, was doing a spot check of uniforms (we attended an all girls Catholic high school). Since I was not wearing my house badge, she wrote my name down and told me I would have to go to detention. She would not be swayed by my pleas, until a friend of hers whispered to her that she should not put her own baby sister in detention.
Jackie was full of quirks – she hated legumes, so whenever she ate rice and peas, she would leave the peas – it didn’t matter whether they were kidney beans or pigeon peas, she was an equal opportunity bean hater – and eat only the rice. Later she discovered that I loved peas, so she would leave them for me.
In sixth form, some of Miss Jacks’s poems were published by her literature teacher, who saw promise in her writing. It was no surprise, since our mother wrote poetry and each of us had a creative side.
Jackie loved children. Her dream had always been to teach, so when she landed a job as a kindergarten grade teacher at a private school in Naples , her joy was complete. One of the pictures in the program shows her with her class. Kids loved her and she loved them.
Her insatiable curiosity was dwarfed only by her unfailing ability to tell you EXACTLY how she felt about something. You never had to guess where you stood with her. One of the first real interactions she had with my husband was after she had left a message on the answering machine to ask what his intentions were toward her baby sister. We had been dating for a while, and she wanted to make sure he had honorable intentions. Dennis called her back and told her in no uncertain terms that his intentions were no concern of hers. I think that was the only time I ever heard her go speechless.
Another time, she asked the gentleman friend of another of our sisters what his feelings were toward her sister. When she got an answer she didn’t like (because he had not understood what she had asked), she showed her unhappiness until he amended his answer. We could tell she was still weighing what he had said the second time to see if it were true.
Our family used to travel to the U.S. practically every summer for two weeks and we would stay at my uncle’s house. The year that I was 17, something happened and we did not get to travel as a family. By that time, Jackie was working full time, and she bought me a plane ticket to travel to Florida. During that month-long stay, I visited family and friends and had my first small taste of independence, and of traveling alone. It was a feeling I have enjoyed ever since.
Jackie was fiercely loyal. Anyone who was fortunate enough to be loved by Jackie was loved fiercely and unconditionally. None of us who were loved by her – her family and friends – ever doubted her feelings for us.
She had a wicked sense of humor and an infectious laugh. There wasn’t a person who met her who didn’t enjoy being around her, or who didn’t enjoy her sharp wit, her contagious laughter, the sparkle in her eyes, and constant bustling activity. To be around Jackie was to be energized and entertained. Jackie was never short on admirers. Not too many could withstand her charm and wit or the mischievous twinkle in her eyes.
No matter what Jackie went through, the one thing she clung to was her faith. She knew her Savior and knew that He would never let her down. As much as it pains us that she is no longer with us on earth, we are blessed and thankful to know that she is with Him, and that she is now free from pain and suffering.
Jacks, I miss you and I love you forever.
Jackie’s dear friend, Natalia Stultz-Fong Kong wrote this remembrance of her:
Memorial to my old friend Jackie Jacobs
Jackie and I met at Immaculate Conception High School in Jamaica approximately 40 years ago. For those of you who don’t know – Immaculate is THE top rated High School for girls in Jamaica. So for us to be there meant that we were one of the “chosen few”, blessed and highly favoured!!! I considered myself to be even more blessed in that I met young ladies like me who arrived unsure of themselves, maybe a little shy, but by the time we left we were filled with confidence and ready to take on the world. The Jackie I remember was a confident young lady, full of life and “sassy”. She had a mouth and a way with words! She always stayed true to who God had made her to be.
There are so many wonderful memories of my time at Immaculate and she was one of the persons who I always remember. At lunchtime our little group could be found under a tree on the front lawn where our talks ranged from stressful teachers and assignments to politics and the economy. We all had an opinion and our discussions were vibrant. After high school, we sometimes couldn’t talk everyday but Saturday mornings was our time to talk about what had happened that week, Jordan, jobs, you name it – we talked about it. Unfortunately after she migrated to the US, those talks became fewer until we lost touch with each other, but in spite of this, 19 years ago when I was getting married I was so happy that she came home for the wedding. Our conversation that weekend was as if we had never been apart. And whenever we spoke afterwards it was the same.
Jackie had one of the most infectious laughs and smile. One of our classmates remembered her as “sweet Jackie”, another recalled her as “THE queen of the Meadowbrook area” – where she lived with her family – walking home from school like a queen with perfect posture, full of dignity and with her head held high.
Jackie – thanks for being my friend. You will be greatly missed!
May God grant unto Jackie eternal rest and may her soul rest in peace.
Another of Jackie’s dearest friends, Denise Stokes, wrote this memorial of her:
MY FRIEND, MY SISTER, JACKIE
Someone once said, “Time is perhaps our most precious commodity, and once it passes, it is lost forever.”
Jackie, there was indeed a time we hung out, ate, talked, gossiped and emailed but all of that is gone now and all that is left now are the memories.
I met Jackie at Swallowfield Chapel over 20 years ago through my brother Michael to whom she was a devoted friend.
I was a harried mother of a pair of toddlers and she a bubbly, laughing, Bible toting, gospel spreading believer.
Her energy belied her appearance.
Her faith shone through the way she lived.
Many a Sunday she would rescue me from one of my meltdowns.
As fate would have it she lived just 10 minutes from me. As happened often, I would call Jackie to tell her I couldn’t make it to church because I was so behind I would not only miss praise and worship but half of the sermon. She would jump in her sky blue VW bug and with Jordan in tow and promptly come to my aid.
She bathed and dressed one child while I fed the other or vice a versa. Quick as a flash, with calm efficiency, we would be ready, and bundled into Bugsey and be off, just in time for early service.
Jackie, I’ll be forever grateful that our paths crossed.
Sleep well in God’s loving arms and I pray that God comforts your family and everyone else who loved you.
“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.” – Psalm 116:15