When I woke up this morning, I didn't immediately remember the significance of today's date. I was roused by the familiar sounds of my husband getting ready for work. The bathroom light flashing briefly before he closed the door, the whooshing sound of the shower, and the soft rustling of his clothes were all the comforting sounds of the morning routine. I closed my eyes for what seemed like moments before a gentle kiss brushed my bare shoulder. He whispered a quick, "Love you" and left for what would undoubtedly be a long day at work. Smiling, I drifted gently back into a light sleep, hoping to catch a few more winks before the day truly began.
What seemed like mere seconds later, the door creaked open and my nine year old son Jack tip-toed quietly in the room.
He placed a gentle kiss on my cheek and whispered, "Good morning, Mom. I love you. Can you make pancakes?"
I smiled and assured him pancakes would be made. He clapped and skipped happily out of the room. Realizing that sleep was now an impossible feat, I reluctantly crawled out of bed.
I came downstairs to find a much needed cup of coffee and do the morning check of email and so forth. As I often do, I went onto Facebook to see what my friends were up to. I do love the ability to stay in touch with my friends, especially the ones who are so far away.
My friend Jimmy's status stopped me in my tracks. It read, "...sooner or later it comes down to faith, I might as well be the one - only the good die young"
As any good Billy Joel fan would know, it's a quote from his classic hit "Only the Good Die Young." However, as anyone of our MCCTA college friends would know, it carries much more meaning. It is a reference to our friend Jenn.
My heart squeezed tightly in my chest and tears choked my throat. I forgot. How could I forget that today is the anniversary of her passing? Needless to say guilt and sadness are a potent combination. I wallowed momentarily in self-pity.
Then I heard Jenn's voice in my head.
"What the hell are you feeling badly about? I'm the one who's gone. Not you. You're here. With a husband and four boys who adore you. You're pretty God-Damned lucky, woman. Quit your bitching and look around you."
Now, did I really hear her? No. However, if she had been here that's probably what she would've said to me. Jenn was a straight shooter. She told it like it was. She was a dedicated, loving, supportive, and funny woman. She was the one who showed me how to be a really good friend. She was an incredibly good listener and gave very good advice. I remember several nights during college when all of us talked until the wee hours of the morning. Discussing everything under the sun. Sometimes laughing until our sides hurt and sometimes crying until there were no more tears--but usually it was laughing.
I know that all of her friends, and especially her Mom and sister, still miss her very much. Her laugh, her smile and her ability to be direct without being hurtful are the things that stand out in my memory. (Oh and of course her awesome ability to wield power tools.)
Today, I don't want to focus on her death. I will remember her life and everything she taught me. Because you see, even though she's not here anymore, she's still impacting my life.
Today she told me to be grateful for all of life's blessings. She asked me to be better about staying in touch with our friends. Today, and every day, she reminds me that although life is short...truly good friends never leave us.
I love you Jenn.