It was a shock to hear of Ann Jawin’s passing. I knew she was in her 90s, but she acted like a 50-year-old and had endless energy and I felt she was a fixture in my life that would always be there.
I hear her voice now because we talked often. Ann and I suffer from never giving up and never taking no for answers. We were sympatico and I had tremendous respect for her fighting endlessly for The Center for the Women of New York facility.
I know the ribbon cutting ceremony at the former bachelor’s quarters at Bayside’s Fort Totten just days before her death was the culmination of her dreams. It’s almost like she achieved her goal, let down her guard and let God steal her from us. But ironically, for me, it was not only a loss, but a beginning too.
Ann’s funeral was at her decades-long place of worship: The Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock in Manhasset. For years, I’ve passed their street sign just across the street from the Lord & Taylor’s parking lot, but I never took the road to their place of worship. Ann brought me there for her funeral.
I turned up the tree-lined path for what seemed like a miles-long drive. When I arrived at the place of worship I was amazed at the impressive building, which surprisingly appears out of the woods.
As I rushed through the front doors to the service, I was in awe of the sanctuary and it’s pews — each filled with song books — as well as the enormous organ pipes set in warm toned woods.
The service was run by the eloquent minister Rev. Jennifer Brower, who knew Ann well. Her background and training is on spirituality, health, aging, addiction, end of life care and grief work. Her calm, reassuring manner leading the service was moving and powerful.
I had not known of the mission of the Unitarian Universalist movement, but their brochures speak volumes: “to build a faith community based on mutual respect and to practice loving one another [and] reaching out to help people.”
In this stressful world, it felt like the congregation is an oasis of outreach. I picked up some fliers featuring their activities; one was for a ceramic workshop, another for a march on Albany to promote parole justice, and yet another for a Call for Young Artists for the art exhibit featuring work created by the youth of the community. There was also information regarding an event for the LGBTQ community. Additionally, there are several more music and performing arts programs.
I was hooked, and knew I wanted to come back.
Thanks Ann! It was because of you that I connected with this wonderful congregation and community group.
Let me share some of the powerful “Litany of Remembrance” for Ann created by Rev. Brower:
“In the rising of the sun and it’s going down, we will remember Ann. In the blowing of the wind and in the chill of winter, we will remember her.”
Yes, Ann, you will be remembered. Rest easy, for your life lives on in what you created.