My Family Lost a Pearl

| February 15, 2012 | 0 Comments

But Heaven found her.

Pearl Annette Laughlin Johnson died yesterday after a battle with cancer since Spring 2010. The doctors gave her a really short time to live, but she fought, was blessed by God, and pulled through. I had always known her to be skinny, watching her weight, and now she had put on weight, was living joyously, and honestly thankful for every day she had. That’s how I want to remember her.

My earliest memory of her was when I was a kid and either had to be taken to the bathroom or she took me to the bathroom and she thought I had to pee, but I told her I had to “defecate.” She didn’t know what I meant (I think she was in college at the time) until I got on the toilet and pooped. She told my mother, “I didn’t know what he meant! What toddler says ‘defecate’? Most kids say, ‘I have to poop or I have to doo doo.'” I was raised so bougie.

I have other memories of her acting just like her father Uncle Joe before he died (mainly through humor and sometimes humorously complaining about something). Uncle Joe was my funniest uncle, in my opinion. He had humor like I have – silly, just because, often ignorant, and said things just to be stupid and try to get on your nerves and make you laugh.

I remember when Annette called me in 2000 when she was organizing the family reunion cruise and wanted to send out a letter letting everyone know what to do for the cruise and the agenda for our time on the ship. She didn’t want to “step on anyone’s toes” and I assured her that it was her show, but I’d be glad to help wherever I could. That turned out to be a great cruise and the reunion where we discovered, “Hey, I actually like this being 4 days instead of 3 days, so why don’t we do that from now on?” And we have ever since. Thanks, Annette!

I remember my mom telling me that when she was younger and had to babysit Annette and her siblings while their parents were out of town that she made them pancakes on a Saturday morning. My mom’s pancakes would never cut it at a diner. She likes making silver dollar (or smaller) pancakes. My cousin Joseph (Annette’s brother) looked at them and exclaimed, “What are those?!” My mom said they were pancakes. He said, “No, they’re not!” My mom was confused. Annette said, “Here, let me show you how my mom makes them.” She filled the skillet with batter. Joseph said, “Now, these are pancakes!” He ate three of them.

My latest memories of her are of her being such a mom (smile) and telling me not to drive back to DC when I attended a cookout this summer at her and her sister’s home. It was a 4 hour drive back, but I made it in 3:40. I should have listened. Moms be knowing.

The other memory of her is being so happy to be at the family reunion this past July in Philadelphia, PA. She was winning a lot of prizes at the raffle. I mean a LOT (mostly all of them). She looked SO good at the dinner. She wore fitted jeans, a white wife beater, and some really sharp white high heels. My cousin and I saw her from my car while she was waiting for hers and I said, “Jenae, Annette is slaying these hos!” Jenae replied, “She is! And with cancer, okay?” She was such a vision of God’s blessings, beauty, and strength in that moment. I thank God that I got to see her that one last time.

My heart and prayers go out to her widower Reggie, her children Regina, Marcus, and JoAnn, her mother Aunt Jean, her grandson that she was so happy to have in her life, her sisters Alma, Liz, and Jamie, and all the rest of her family, friends, and loved ones.

Annette, I’ll never forget you. As I sit here with tears in my eyes writing this, thinking that life isn’t fair, thinking and wishing that we had more time with you, I thank God for giving you to us for the time that He did. I’ll always love you and I am so happy that you were my first cousin. I miss you. I love you. Rest in peace, at last. Say hi to your dad!

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