Hi there! This is Jenny’s sister, Julie. I’m thrilled to be back this week to share more memories with all of you. I really enjoyed sharing all of the fun things I remembered about growing up with Jenny. If you missed that post, you can read it here. Thank you so much for all of your kind comments. I love that my post encouraged many of you to document memories from your childhood and to ask your siblings to do the same.
Not long ago, Jenny’s husband Jeff shared his side of the story. He shared how they met and what he remembered from Jenny’s battle with cancer. After he wrote that, I started thinking back and recalling memories that aren’t quite as funny, but have shaped who we are.
I remember when Jenny found out that I was a smoker. Oh. My. Word! I think her stern talking to me was worse than my mother’s speech. (Don’t fret! I quit smoking well over a decade ago!)
I remember when Jenny’s first husband decided to make a multitude of poor choices, which led to the demise of their marriage.
I remember being the one who had to do the drop off/pick up of Rebecca for her weekend visits with her biological father because their relationship was not civil at the time.
I remember at one such pick up that my former brother-in-law made a nasty comment about Jenny, which prompted me to tell him that he was lucky that he had married the “nice sister”. That I personally would have cut off his penis and sent it to him via Fed-Ex. (Oh yes! I sure did!)
I remember being on the phone with Jenny when my daughter, Skylar started seizing. I remember her saying that she would be at my house in 10 minutes & thinking that wasn’t possible as she lived 20 minutes away. I remember Jenny walking through the door with the paramedics 8 minutes later.
I remember sitting in a dark room in the ER with Jenny and my husband as we waited to hear whether or not a brain tumor was the reason she had seized so long. I remember Jenny saying “no matter what results comes back, we are going to get through this together.”
I remember Jenny calling to say, “I found a lump in my breast.”
I remember the relief that I felt when the doctor’s initial thought was that it looked smooth on the ultrasound and was most likely benign.
I remember the fear in Jeff’s voice when he called me shortly after the removal of the lump. It had not been easy to remove and the doctor was no longer positive that it was benign.
I remember saying “No matter the results, we are going to get through this together!”
I remember the call that would change everything. “It is cancer!”
I remember Jenny and Jeff being so distraught that they asked me to call mom and dad and give them the final word.
I remember having to call and tell my dad, who was waiting at Union Station to catch his train home.
I remember feeling so helpless as I sat thousands of miles away in Ohio.
I remember the phone ringing at all hours of the night. Jenny just needed someone to listen.
I remember countless conversations with Jeff, as he just needed someone to listen to his fears as well.
I remember the fear that I had that I might lose my only sister. Recalling that feeling still makes me nauseous today.
I remember worrying what would happen to my niece, Rebecca, if Jenny didn’t survive.
I remember planning with my parents which one of us would be with Jenny & Jeff during surgery and 8 rounds of chemo.
I remember Jenny telling me she had gotten a wig & that it was horrible.
I remember telling Jenny that she didn’t strike me as a wig person but that I thought she would look great in bandanas, scarves, & fun hats.
I remember doing my best to prepare my 5 year old daughter, Skylar, who has autism, that her Aunt Jenny would have no hair when we got to AZ.
I remember Skylar’s words when she saw Jenny for the first time..”Jenny is bald! She looks beautiful!”
I remember watching movies on a portable dvd player while Jenny slept through chemo.
I remember trying to keep 5 kids, all under the age of 6, entertained & quiet as Jenny tried to sleep.
I remember talking with Jeff for hours and thinking how thankful I was that she was married to him (and not to the above mentioned first husband)!
I remember thinking it was a good day when Jenny could get out of bed and sit on the couch.
I remember the amazing group of people who provided meals and restaurant/grocery store gift cards for our family for months. What a blessing!
I remember Jenny’s friend Lisa who so willingly picked Rebecca up for math tutoring and her home-school co-op group several times a week.
I remember the little girls from Jenny’s brownie troop sneaking onto the front porch to leave get well gifts for Jenny.
I remember taking the picture of Jeff, Jenny, and the kids all in their bandanas in the back yard.
I remember the few days that Jenny felt good enough to get out of the house.
I remember having lunch at the TGI Friday’s in Bank One Ballpark on Christmas Eve because we knew that there wouldn’t be many people dining out. Being around too many people put Jenny at higher risk of infection.
I remember Skylar sitting on the couch next to Jenny, rubbing her bald head and singing Josh Groban songs to make her feel better.
I remember sleeping with my girls on 2 couches that were pushed together for a month.
I remember that with 3 adults and 5 children in the house, the wash machine and dishwasher NEVER stopped running.
I remember the one weekend that Jenny felt up to doing some scrapbooking. I set up a table and we just started putting pictures into a 2-up album and adding journaling.
I remember Jeff saying that it had been a while since he had seen Jenny enjoy doing something that much.
I remember hugging Jenny and thinking how uncomfortable she must be as I could feel the metal expanders that were implanted in her chest.
I remember hating to leave when it was time for me to go home, but knowing that they were in goods hands as my mom had returned.
I remember Jenny calling me so bummed the morning she lost all of her eyelashes. She said that she really looked bad! I remember telling her that I was sure she was over-reacting and her responding “I seriously look like the Crypt Keeper!”
I remember flying out to celebrate Jenny’s completion of chemo and spending the weekend taking art classes at our favorite paper arts store.
I remember my shock when years later she called to tell me she was pregnant with Samantha. I remember my fear that a pregnancy would put her at risk for recurrence.
Sometimes it is hard to remember tough times. However, I think it is important to remember what we have overcome. I think it reminds us to focus on the important things: faith, family, and living an intentional life!
I hope you all have a great week! Make it a great one!
I have a blog of my own, I Am JuJu, where I share the joys and struggles of raising a child with autism. I love to give people a glimpse into our everyday life. It’s not always easy, but Life is Good!