jar of hearts

Looking for a long-lost friend….

I received a phone call on my cell phone recently…. with so many spam calls, I was expecting it to be annoying, but instead it was a kind voice, apologetic, letting me know she might have a wrong number…

She was looking for a friend, Janet Profitt, and all she had to go on was a ~20 year-old phone number – a number that is now my cell phone number. I asked if she had searched online – she had, with no success. Sensing how much she would like to reconnect with Janet, I explained that I did genealogical research and offered to help, at least for a few minutes worth of research. Before our less-than-three-minute call ended, the woman searching for her friend gave me two tiny, but quite valuable bits of additional information: Janet had moved from Atlanta to Miami (working with Ryder), and that she thought her last name is spelled with two “t”s,

I found her, or at least hints of her life….

It only took a few minutes to find that she had married John Alston Logue on September 3, 1996. Not finding a newspaper wedding announcement leads me to believe it was a low-key wedding. I have no idea the nature of their marriage, except that it was short, as John died at age 59 on June 24, 2002, “survived by his beloved wife, Janet” and two daughters, seemingly from a prior relationship. All I really know about John can be found in one sentence from his obituary, “Originally from New Jersey, John was a veteran of the U.S. Navy Submarine Service and spent much of his life as a Sea Captain, joining Construction Estimation in later years.”

With her new last name, I was able to learn more about Janet.

A few more clicks later, I was reading Janet’s obituary, where she died November 29, 2010, at age 58, at Regional Medical Center in Anniston, Alabama. I found a second obituary from Dayton, Ohio, that also noted that “She enjoyed traveling and had a great love for animals.” It also confirmed that she was preceded in death by her husband, Mother and a step-brother. The rich complexity of her family shows in the several “step-“s and many last names of the people mentioned. People chose to come together as family.

The Dayton obituary gives another possible glimpse of her life in the suggestion for donations to the National Kidney Foundation in her memory. I found where her ashes were scattered – a humble place of remembrance, not occupying much land – the same place where her Father’s ashes would be scattered four years later.

Her Facebook page…

When I found her Facebook page, that genealogical repository for the 21st century, I got a better sense of who she was. The public-view main timeline page had four friends listed and no banner image or other photos, except for a fluffy black dog as her avatar.

An announcement was posted by someone the day after she died. Someone had access to her Facebook account. They did not leave their name, posting the following message:

To all of Janet's friends: Her family would like you to know that she passed away November 29, 2010. Her years of suffering are over and she is finally at peace. In leiu of flowers, please make a donation to your favorite charity in her memory.

There are only two other posts visible on her page, a humorous post from the spring before she died, and a hauntingly-melancholic song by Christina Perri, “Jar of Hearts” posted four months before her death.

I post the video here, with the lyrics below, so that you might also get a glimpse of a message of strength and resolve in the midst of pain….

The Lyrics:

I know I can’t take one more step towards you
‘Cause all that’s waiting is regret
Don’t you know I’m not your ghost anymore
You lost the love I loved the most

I learned to live half alive
And now you want me one more time

And who do you think you are?
Runnin’ ’round leaving scars
Collecting your jar of hearts
And tearing love apart
You’re gonna catch a cold
From the ice inside your soul
So don’t come back for me
Who do you think you are?

I hear you’re asking all around
If I am anywhere to be found
But I have grown too strong
To ever fall back in your arms

And I’ve learned to live half alive
And now you want me one more time

And who do you think you are?
Runnin’ ’round leaving scars
Collecting your jar of hearts
And tearing love apart
You’re gonna catch a cold
From the ice inside your soul
So don’t come back for me
Who do you think you are?

And it took so long just to feel alright
Remember how to put back the light in my eyes
I wish I had missed the first time that we kissed
‘Cause you broke all your promises
And now you’re back
You don’t get to get me back

And who do you think you are?
Runnin’ ’round leaving scars
Collecting your jar of hearts
And tearing love apart
You’re gonna catch a cold
From the ice inside your soul
So don’t come back for me
Don’t come back at all

And who do you think you are?
Runnin’ ’round leaving scars
Collecting your jar of hearts
Tearing love apart
You’re gonna catch a cold
From the ice inside your soul
Don’t come back for me
Don’t come back at all
Who do you think you are?

Prologue

I found Janet’s Father’s record on FamilySearch.org, where I place all documentation that I find. I created a page for Janet Lee Profitt and saved what I had found there. I also found a public record of her marriage to Michael Ramsey in Ohio from 1977 to 1980. I have no further details.

The last step, perhaps, is to text this page to the woman who started this search.

I don’t know what is means that I enjoy documenting people’s lives this way, to bring them to mind and heart, often for the first time, as I did not know them in life.

I do know that is is part of my search for meaning, and it speaks to the preciousness of every life.

Rest in peace, Janet. It matters that you lived.

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