I am here

May 2, 2011

This post was written about a week ago, during Jen’s final days. ::::: There is a fuss. My Asher, he doesn’t want to “sweep” when it comes time for a nap and so I tell him he needs sleep because I can see how tired he is in his face, and anyway, his “fins must be awfully tired from all the swimming at the Y.” He calms down and turns toward me, curling himself as close as he can around my belly, both of us on our sides on the bed. His sister grows restless with my stillness and starts to roll and turn and bump and kick inside me.  Asher’s face crumples with one last attempt to fight the nap and then he calms and starts to doze, his little fists holding tightly to his “maps” (directions for Legos). Our breathing starts to match and I stare at his suddenly closed and […]


a million gifts

April 29, 2011

Jen’s Story: Part One Jen’s Story: Part Two I shared some of Jen’s story (above), of her life and struggle with cancer, months ago here in this space. At that time Jen was still under-going treatments and my times over coffee with her were full of her energetic spirit, her light and her grace. In these last few months and then weeks, as Jen’s body failed her and it was getting harder and harder by the day, I would pray for her peace over and over again. And my heart would break for her goodbyes. Jen passed away earlier this week and her funeral is today. There are so many people feeling this loss, so many who were very close to this woman of vibrant joy. I’m hurting for them and in that place where I wish I could say something that would relieve some of that pain. I can’t, but I will […]


{you can read the first part of Jen’s story here} Jen is not breast cancer. Cancer does not have Jen. Jen has cancer. When the words are strung together in just that order, it reminds me of the truth of Jen’s life because cancer is not beating her, no matter what. I’m not only referring to Jen’s vitality, to the fact that she’s still here after so much, but I’m also referring to the way she seems to make the choice to laugh in the face of what cancer can do to a person emotionally and spiritually and mentally on top of all of the physical pain. Of course there are hard days and Jen is honest about those days of depression, days that feel so dismal, days when she asks the question, is this really our life? Those are the days when she says her husband Luke helps her bounce back, the […]

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She rolled over, reaching across her chest to turn off the bedside lamp when she felt it. The lump. The mass. She was 25 years old and having an ultrasound and a biopsy and someone was saying “you have breast cancer.” She describes those moments with an animated “what in the world?!” and she says then she was numb, protecting herself from thoughts of her fate. Jen embodies a contagious joy, truly. A wife and mother, a daughter and sister and friend. Oh, the throngs of friends she has! She is all the things women are and she has been fighting cancer for 8 years. Today marks the anniversary of her first day of treatment. There’s always been something extra special about her, this Jennifer. Even before all of this, this thing that tears her up and somehow changes her perspective in ways that make her grateful and even more positive than she […]