Remembering Janet PachecoKaye and Janet

By Kaye Crawford
Late afternoon on Wednesday, April 7, 2010, I rushed to the emergency room at Mercy Hospital on J Street with a heavy heart. I looked around the crowded room at the familiar faces of members within our community; TJ and his partner Steve, Lori, Rich Jones, Robert Long, Bradley, Bobbie Sinclair, Jen, Josie, John, Aaron & his sister, Kyle, and others.

They motioned for me to come in and approach the bed. I looked down on one of the most beautiful people I've ever known in the community; Janet Pacheco. Janet with the long ponytail always crowned with a cap or stylish hat.

I tried to get her to open her eyes or respond in some way to let us know she could still hear us. I looked at the tubes in her nose and mouth and watched the monitors attached to her arms and hands. Her tongue was slightly protruding from her lips and looked dry and I wanted to put drops of water on it to comfort her.

Janet's partner, TJ, was sitting in a chair by the bed. She didn't sleep all night she said, in case Janet woke up so she could keep her from being scared. Janet never liked to be alone and this family of community members made sure that need was met.

The day after Janet passed, one week later, I met Janet's partner TJ at the Merc. We sat at the bar with Barbara Soriano and talked about Janet. As I shared photos I had taken of Janet, several friends verbalized their memories with emotion.Janet at Faces

Gary (Silvey): "Momasita, I will miss you dearly."

Richard Willey: "I will miss your damn bar-b-q

Michael: "Where's my damn $20! (Smile!) You’re cooking for the right people now, Janet."

Merv: "I loooved your bar-b-queuing!"

Digette: "Several years ago I had surgery and was down to 98 lbs. Janet was always there for me and insisted I eat. She cared enough about me to help me regain my strength back. I love her that she cared. I miss her and wish she was here now. I'm losing weight again and I need her."

Mickey (Pink Sparkles): "It takes more muscles to frown then smile. That my friend is what you taught me."

Carl B.: "Poppy, from day one when we first met at Faces you were not only my friend but my mentor; my sister. Working with children always brought me to good people and being from New York was one bond, but when you had your grandson it gave us an even closer connection.

Rich Jones: “Well, the night club in Heaven must be complete now; they've got one amazing DJ, a sugar daddy security officer and one awesome bartender!” J, we had our issues at times, but we also had some pretty good times together; staying up all night laughing and crying till' the sun came up, sneaking over to the Depot to have a shot before you shift at Faces and so much, much more. J, I will miss EVERYTHING about you! Now go dance to Marky Mark's music.”Janet

And the finest quote of all, "she never met a stranger."

Then, TJ and I walked over to Mulvaney's on 19th Street where she and Janet shared many dinners and memories. One of the bartenders, Dan, fondly called Janet a 'bad ass.' "She was a doll" he said, misty eyed. We were treated like VIP's and had a fantastic dinner with premium wine and cocktails. In memory of Janet our meal was 'on the house.'

TJ's sad voice echoes in my mind as I try to write down these memories of what Janet meant to so many people that knew her. "How can I go on without her, Boo? My heart hurts. We were going to be married. Why did she check out now? Just a week and a half ago we went to S.F. and sat by the window looking out over the ocean. She loved it. That gave her so much peace.

"Janet loved my grandson, Jarrett. She would play ball on the living room floor with Jarrett and the dog giving me the opportunity to clean the house. She had the outfit picket out for Jarrett for his first birthday. But, she died on his birthday. Why did she check out? Why?"

After brief moments of silence, TJ would continue.

"Janet frequently woke me up at 3:30 a.m. She would gently tap me on my shoulder to get me up so I would go and get her some milk. Because it was so late I would say 'really Janet, really?' but then I'd ask her, chocolate or straight-up. I feel lost without her. She loved the song from Mama Mia, here “I go again, how can I live without you? I miss her so."

Later, when I dropped TJ off, my heart went out to her as I watched her slow walk to the lonely apartment where she and Janet had shared so many memories together over the past couple of years.

One time, during a fashion show at Faces, Janet adamantly stated "No, I'm not wearing a dress. Can't I just wear long white pants instead?" But when she came out on stage in a stunning white wedding dress, she took everyone's breath away. Her athletic body with its suntanned glow demonstrated the eloquence of her beauty.Janet

Janet was a true activist. She supported the community and raised funds whenever she could. She rode bikes for the Kohman Foundation and in the AIDS rides. She sponsored charitable groups and catered memorial services. I saw her in Pride Parades and fundraisers. I saw her at Cheffery’s grand opening with Jeffrey and Mark. I saw her tending bar, walking down the street, cleaning up in front of Faces. I saw her inside bars, dancing, drinking, having fun.

I see her no more.

Janet's notorious smile and extraordinary personality will sorely be missed by everyone that ever met her.

I know I will.

A Celebration of Life for Janet will be held at FACES on Sunday April 25th starting at 2 p.m. Bring your smile and Janet's favorite colors - WEAR PINK AND BLACK!

Editor’s Note: Would you like to add your remembrances of Janet to this article? Write us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , and we will add them.

 

Hi,
My name is Rita and I would really love to share a letter my 10 year old daughter wrote for Janet to share at her memorial.
“To aunt Janet- aka New York,
Janet you were more then a friend to me. I loved you like a big sister who made me laugh.
Janet you made the whole room light up when you walked in. Everyone knew when you were around with your loud bubbly personality that got on the umpire nerves.
Janet you were the kind of person who made everyone laugh but most of all you cared about all of us kids. Janet you loved every kid like your own and never let any kid feel left out.
Janet you are JJ's Sony's and my guardian angel looking over us from heaven telling God what to do.
Janet you touched our lives and you are really going to be missed but you will always be in my heart. I love you and miss you but now your helping God’s softball team.
P.S I love you and miss you, but you are in my heart
R.I.P
Love always,
Arianna”

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