Janice Woodman, 78
SANFORD - Janice (McCrellis) Woodman, of 17 Ledgestone Court, Sanford, passed away Saturday, April 15, 2017, at the age of 78; she left this world after a brief illness, surrounded by her family.
She was born on Oct. 14, 1938, to Barbara (McCrellis) Allen and Fred Allen of North Berwick; graduated from Sanford High School in 1957; and married Eldon Woodman on Dec. 28, 1963. She had three siblings: Bill Allen, Diane (McCrellis) Dolan, and John Allen (deceased). She was also the first person to see my face in this world (as she reminded me every year on my birthday). My name is Dustin Abbott. I am her first grandchild, the only son of her eldest daughter, and my grandfather has asked that I tell her story.
Janice was not the biggest of us, nor the loudest; neither the cleverest nor the most successful. She was the most joyful. She was filled with the most love. She was the center-point of our family, the steady hub we have all revolved around for our entire lives. And I know every one of us is reeling a little right now, struggling to find our footing in a world where she no longer calls us to make sure we're home safe on stormy nights. So to my family I say this: remember what she taught you.
She didn't teach us to cook, she didn't teach us to play sports, and she certainly didn't manage to teach us to watch our language (despite many years of trying). Whether or not any of you realize it, what you learned from her was to know exactly who you are. To be unashamedly yourself, to make no excuses for your behavior, and to know both what makes you strong and where you fall short. She was a silly, cheerful little woman who valued our happiness above all else. She never pretended to be anything more than that. She was charmingly without pretention. Ours is a family of disparate interests and talents, and I can't honestly say a single one of us actually takes after her, but she celebrated each of us for the persons we are.
She raised an entire mob of us: three children, Karen Woodman, Elizabeth (Woodman) Vetree, and Christopher Woodman; five grandchildren: myself, Meghan (Deyo) Forbes, Stephanie Deyo (deceased), Dylan Woodman, and Hailey Woodman; three additional children/grandchildren by mar-riage: Amy Woodman, Branden Forbes, and Catherine Abbott; one small dog, Riley; and for the last year and a half of her life, her first great-grandson, Ryder Forbes.
She was never a particularly strong or healthy woman, and we could have lost her many times over the last few years. But she always hung on, shrugged it off, pulled through like the wiry old Irish broad she was. I am so thankful that she stayed with us long enough to become a great-grandmother. I have seen dozens of photographs of her in the last year, with a little boy tucked in at her side and an ear-to-ear grin on both of their faces. He has ice-blue eyes and cornsilk hair, but he reminds me an awful lot of another boy who sat by her side three decades ago; one whose green eyes and black curls I see in the mirror every day.
She told me once that she hoped she could stay in this world long enough to hold another baby who had eyes like mine, and the hardest part of the last few days for me has been coming to terms with the fact that she never got that chance. But that's life. We aren't given the time to do everything we might want; nobody said it was fair. Janice made the most of her time. She sang happy birthday enthusiastically and off-key. She took long walks on the beach. She held nine of us in her arms and rocked us to sleep. We are her legacy. Every one of us carries a piece of her inside of us. Karen has her love of books, Beth has her devotion to family, and Chris has her eyes.
Though she has stepped away from us for now, to stand beside the granddaughter she lost years ago, I know that she is waiting together somewhere just out of sight, and that she is smiling. She won't hold my children in her arms, but I know she will watch over them as they sleep. It will be my privilege to tell them her stories.
We walk on. And we remember.
The family will receive relatives and friends Friday, April 21, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Carll-Heald & Black Funeral Home, 580 Main St., Springvale. Burial will be private, at the Southern Maine Veterans Memorial Cemetery, in Springvale. Arrangements are under the direction of Black Funeral Homes & Cremation Ser-vice, Sanford-Springvale. Condol-ences can be expressed at: www.blackfuneralhomes.com.
Carll-Heald & Black Funeral Home
580 Main St
Springvale, ME 04083
Published in Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram on Apr. 19, 2017