I think most of us have lost someone close to us in one way or another. As we age it almost becomes inevitable that we will lose a loved one, and likely someone that is gone too soon. This happened to us this past week. Last Thursday night I was laying in bed when I heard Tim on the phone downstairs. I couldn't hear the tone of his voice or what he was saying, but somehow I knew something was wrong, and I rushed downstairs to check. As I descended the stairs I saw him and I knew. That was the night we found out we lost his friend Jenny.
Jenny is a longtime friend of Tim's. In high school they were in the same "group" of friends, comprised of 4 or 5 boys from Chaminade College Prep, where Tim went to school, and 5 girls St. Joseph's Academy, the high school the girls attended. I remember when Tim & I first started dating.... I went to a different high school and it was incredibly hard trying to make your way in a group of friends that is already so established and close. Despite how hard it was I will always remember that Jenny never made me feel uncomfortable or unwelcome in any way. That wasn't her style. She was a person who was welcoming and kind, and I sensed that from the beginning. Throughout the years she has always been so sweet and friendly to me, never making me feel anything but accepted, which is something I will be forever grateful for. The entire group was so close, and in many ways still is. They've all moved on, many have left St. Louis, have gotten married, had kids, but in so many ways they are still that incredibly close group they once were. A group that is now grieving for their sister they lost.
Jenny was an amazing person. If you read her online guest book from Schrader Funeral Home you'll be struck by the comments. Everyone commented on her laugh, on how she always had something nice to say to everyone. This isn't a case of trying to remember the good in someone, this is simply the truth about Jenny. She was an amazing. She was an incredible friend who would truly do anything for anyone. She was also an amazing athlete. She did crossfit every day, played soccer, was a huge burpee enthusiast, ran marathons, and last September participated in the Ironman race on her 30th birthday. I wish I had 1/10th of her discipline and athleticism! The last time Tim and I saw her was last October when she was in Chicago participating in the Chicago Marathon. We were standing on the side cheering her on, and when she saw us she stopped and made Tim do a burpee with her midrace. It was hilarious. Only Jenny would be doing burpees in the middle of a marathon! I'm so happy we saw her semi recently, so happy and in her element. It's a memory I know we will cherish forever.
I could go on and on about what a loss this is, but I need to address something else as well, and that is the way in which we lost Jenny. A way that is heartbreaking and unfair, but I think is worth mentioning to try and prevent something like this from happening to someone else. Last Friday Jenny was due to have her divorced finalized from her husband of 3 1/2 years. A man who while never physically abusive, was incredibly abusive mentally and psychologically. A man so controlling that early Wednesday morning he broke into her apartment and killed her. As I said earlier I think we all expect that we'll lose someone at some point, but no one expects something like this to happen. Murders happen to people on TV, people we don't know. Not someone we know and love who was the epitome of a good person. I don't want to dwell on the way she lost her life, because that says SO little about her. I do think it's important to mention however as a cautionary tale. We all think this can't happen to us, can't happen to someone we know. It can. Please friends, if you or someone you love are being abused, even if it isn't physically, seek help. Don't let it escalate into a tragedy like this. There needs to be an end to all domestic violence. There is simply no excuse for anyone to be hurt, and sadly Jenny's case is not the only one of it's kind. Here is the link to the National Domestic Violence Hotline. Please, if you or anyone you know is suffering call and GET HELP. Do it in Jenny's memory.
Before I go I want to say one last thing about Jenny. Tim and I didn't know about the abuse she was suffering. She was being harassed daily for years by the person who had promised to love her forever. So many people would become angry or withdrawn in cases like this. Not Jenny. Her enthusiasm for life, and commitment to others, never wavered despite the fact she was being treated so horribly. If this doesn't say something about her character than I don't know what does. I will forever remember her positive attitude and try to model it in my own life. She is truly an amazing example to others. I encourage you to do the same. Feeling bad? Keep calm and Burpee On!!! Do it for Jenny.
|tim & jenny completing a marathon burpee|
a few Jenny links in case you're interested:
tribute on KSDK in St. Louis
St. Louis Post Dispatch article