Thursday, February 26, 2009

Missing Jen

This is my sister-in-law, Jennifer. We lost her on June 8, 2007 when she developed a very rare form of cancer, peripheral nerve sheath cancer. This cancer develops in certain people who have Neurofribramotosis which she did.

She would have been 35 on February 4th. She left behind a daughter who is now ten years old. We call, write and visit her whenever possible. The last night of Jen's life we visited with her (we had spent several days with her before that) and we went back to my mother-in-law's house after the hospital. My mother-in-law has several sisters and their daughters who have a "girls' night out" monthly. It was planned for that evening and at the last minute they chose to spend it with Jen at the hospital. The staff of the hospital provided food for them and while they were having their final visit with Jen, we were there with her daughter. Her daughter wanted me to sleep with her and we laid there with me trying to answer all the questions she had and me wondering if she could possibly comprehend that at eight years old she was losing her mother. The following morning at about 5 a.m. the phone rang. I jumped up and went into the kitchen where my mother-in-law was talking. "She's gone." We cried quietly and when my niece C got up we didn't tell her about her mother. That was her grandmother's decision. C was playing the violin in a concert at her school and was so excited. Her grandmother wanted her to have that day to enjoy. After the concert we picked her up from school and brought her home and her grandmother put her on her lap and told her that her Mommy was gone. She was very quiet. We had already gone to the funeral home before the concert and made all the arrangements. Jen and I both loved gerbera daisies. Her Mom wanted her to have those flowers so we coordinated and while her Mom gave her the casket spray we bought her a spectacular heart that was put over the casket. We focused so much the next few days on the little girl who had lost her Mommy. At one point when I cried she came over to me put her arm around my neck and gently whispered "My Mommy loved you very much."

I have the things Jen gave me here. I look at them frequently. My favorite is the unicorn she gave me. At our wedding they played the unicorn song and she and I alone danced to it. The following Christmas we each gave each other a unicorn (totally unplanned). Jen was so many things....a beautiful smile, a great sense of humor, a breath of fresh air. After dating her brother for awhile she asked me if I thought we would get married. I told her that at that point I was beginning to wonder if he was every going to propose. She laughed and said "If he doesn't marry you I will!" From then on we joked about that. She sent me emails and signed them your lil unicorn sister. Jen was my sister of the heart. She was not perfect (none of us are) and I will never try to make her into something she was not. She would have hated that. I just wonder at what point I will stop missing her so much. I wonder what goes on in the thoughts of a ten year old child. I do know for Christmas when asked what she wanted she told her grandmother her Christmas wish was to spend time with her mother. I guess throughout her life there will be many moments where her mother's presence will be sadly missed. I hope I can be there for the important moments. Jen knew we would always be watching out for her as much as possible.

Forever in our hearts


Missie said...

That's so sad. I had never heard of that kind of cancer, but I'm sure there's cancers out there none of us have heard of yet.

Sending you hugs.

IndigoSunMoon said...

I hate cancer. It stole that beautiful lady right in the prime of her life. I can feel how much you miss her by your words.
She truly was a beautiful lady. You can see that in her photo.
Love you Nelle.