Jen and I met in junior high. I remember seeing her the first few days walking the halls and thinking how pretty she was. Not only did she have an outward beauty but she had this inward confidence that shined through whenever you saw her. I always admired that about her. Her kindness towards me always made me feel good and we became fast friends.
High school started and the end of freshman year we had become close friends. We shared a love for school spirit and soon after she joined ASB, I of course did too. By the time our sophomore year ended we were inseparable. We were no longer just Jen or just Kate. We were known to almost everyone as Jen and Kate. We did everything together. We had the best time together. My favorite high school memories include her in them. Late night sleepovers. Pep rally planning. Painting our faces for football games. Ditching classes in the ASB room! Mr. Parker! Long summers at the school preparing for freshman orientation! CADA CAMP! BFC! PNC! Letter writing and passing them back and forth! These are all engraved in my heart.
As most lasting friendships do, we had seasons. Seasons of hard and seasons of great. But no matter what we always made sure we kept in touch. Most of the time when we weren’t as close it was because she would tell me I was making a bad decision and I would get mad and pull away-she was almost always right about that bad decision though. 🤦🏻♀️ She taught me to know and value my worth. She taught me to have expectations and it’s ok to wait for them to be met. She taught me that I was worth the wait.
Jen taught me through her example how to be a friend. How to love your friends. Truly love them. She was there for every good and bad milestone in my life. When I had Kyle on thanksgiving day, she was the one who brought me thanksgiving dinner in the hospital. She is the one that advised me not to give Cody the middle name Blaze! 😂 She was the one who I called first after that day I got Kyle’s diagnosis and I listened through my tears as she reassured me that I could do this. She was the one who drove all the way to Las Vegas to help pick me up off the floor when my first marriage had failed. And helped build me back up for years after. She was the one who told me I was an idiot after I said “James was too nice”, and told me that’s the kind of guy I needed and deserved!! She’s the one who has always been there. And now she isn’t.
A few months ago, I was thinking about how difficult it is to have friends being Kyles mom. Maybe that is partly my fault. It gives me anxiety to think about how Kyle will react to people coming over or how he will react at someone’s house. So it’s easier to just not open myself up to having people know Kyle in person or know that part of me in person! My blog is an easier form of letting people into my world😉But I never had that anxiety with Jen. Not ever. She loved me and she loved Kyle. No matter what mess he made at her house (and there were so many 🤦🏻♀️)or what fit he through (and there were so many of those too)she always had us back for more. She never made me feel like I was a burden. Not ever. She loved us unconditionally.
At jens 30th birthday party-which was amazing just like every party she ever threw-we were in a different season and not as close as we were in pasts but she pulled me off to the side and she said (she may have had some drinks in her, but alcohol brings out the honesty right??? 😉), “I know we aren’t as close right now but I feel like we will always be soul mates, if there’s such thing as a friend soul mate!” Then we laughed and I told her I felt the same way. As soon as I was told of her passing I immediately clung to this conversation. I love Jen. She means so much more than the words I am writing. I don’t think Anyone could understand the depth of our friendship. And that’s ok because I know. I feel it.
Jen being gone still doesn’t feel real. And it definitely doesn’t feel right. My heart aches. It aches for Bobby. It aches for Bryce and Leah. And for her family. It aches for me. This world is definitely not the same without Jen. And I’m sure it will take time for the pain to subside.
I feel incredibly grateful for the friendship I had with Jen and will forever cherish the memories I share with her. I am grateful for the things she taught me by being my friend. Although Jen being gone is so painful, I am comforted in knowing, without a shadow of a doubt, I will see her again. Till we meet again…Jen and Kate forever. ❤️