Holding Jen in My Heart

A few weeks ago, a day that started like any other ended with a feeling of emptiness. Days of tears, weeks of anger and now I am ready to write this post.

When I was LB’s tender age of 17 months, I bit Jeni. She was a chubby cute baby and for whatever reason, I bit her. Perhaps I was frustrated that she was younger than me and not playing like I expected or maybe she didn’t share a toy or perhaps I thought her thigh looked like a pork chop. No matter the reason, I bit her and got in big trouble. Every day for months after, my Mom would ask what I did that day and I’d say, “I not bite Jeni.” Lesson learned. In spite of this early incident, Jeni and I were friends. The fact that she didn’t hold a grudge just showed how full of love she was. In the last decade, when she battled cancer, a special bond formed.

I can’t begin to explain the positive influence Jeni was on my life in words. She was the human personification of a bear hug while doing a cannonball into a swimming pool. Jen helped me pack for my month in Seattle, where I met me husband-to-be, she reminded me to not take life obstacles too seriously while still cherishing every second, and she taught me that faith could be stronger than anything imaginable.

When I learned she had gone home to God, I sobbed and felt an instant emptiness. Just like the emotional equivalent of going out without something essential like handbag or a coat. I knew Jen for 36 years, how could there be a world without her? It boggles my mind still that she isn’t on her computer to reply to an email or joke around or talk knitting (you’d know her as JaninaKnits on Ravelry).

In moments like today when I am undergoing major surgery, it would be Jen who’d have reassured me and reminded me to have faith. She inspired me! Forget past tense, she does inspire me! And I will hold her in my heart during the surgery and painful recovery. And forever.

Here is her blog, so you can catch a glimpse into the wonder that was and always will be Jen.

And for a true introduction to Jen, read this letter from her sister and this two-years-later post by her sister.

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