Let me just start by saying this: I am not a writer, a photographer, a designer, a marketer or an artist. I work at a bank.
That is where I “met” Jen. A customer told me about her and her diagnosis of Stage 3c Ovarian Cancer just days after she got that terrifying news. Through conversation, I learned that her and I went to the same church. Later that day something tugged at my heart. I knew that I had to do something. I knew with the resources I had available, I could help this stranger. I started by coordinating meals for when she came home from Portland and the months to follow but that didn’t seem like enough. After a few phone calls and texts with Cheryl … they let me in her house! The first time I went out there, I took my Mom and my daughter. I had no idea where I was going or what I was walking in to. I was in AWE of her house. Gorgeous. We folded laundry, put dishes away, took trash out, brought packages in. The 2nd time, Melissa and I had fun prepping for her return with vases of flowers, and a few understated welcome home goodies. And then the 3rd time. One of the ladies who had prepared a meal, wasn’t able to drive it out to Jen’s so I volunteered. I am not going to lie. I was a nervous wreck. I have no idea why. I was finally going to meet this Woman whose house I had been to twice, whose friends I had talked to numerous times. It was like she was sort of a legend! I also had no idea what to expect. I had never been around someone who just had a tumor removed. Someone who was the same age as me and had cancer. Who I met that day, was a Woman who would become my friend.
A friendship that I didn’t know would happen, but couldn’t be more grateful for. Most of Jen’s friends have known her for years, grew up with her, went to college with her, have been colleagues of hers. Not me. I never knew Jen “pre-cancer”. I can look at photos and imagine how different her life was and how drastically things have changed. In the last 6 months, I have learned so much about Jen and about myself also. The conversations we have range from silly stuff, to real life stuff and even to scary stuff, like death. My daughter adores her boys. If we had all the money in the world, they would have every single Angry Birds item we see. If you have spent much time with her, you know what I am talking about when I say her presence is calming. I have seen this thing called Cancer, bring her to some of her weakest points, both physically and emotionally. Heartbreaking.
The other night when we were chatting, she said she hadn’t written a blog post in a long time, and she felt badly. I told her to have someone else write it and she asked if I wanted to. My heart skipped a beat. Sure. But what did she want me to write about? She said, my view, my perspective. I always seem to have plenty to say but as I was writing this, my words did not flow as gracefully as I imagined. My view and perspective is more than I could write in a blog. To be a part of a tribe surrounding Jen, is seriously wordless. It has reminded me that no matter how much or little you are there, YOU are a support and an encouragement to someone. I guess what I am trying to say is this: wherever you are reading this: on your couch, in your bed, on your phone, hopefully not while driving , at work, at home or at school, wherever you are, you can make a difference. You may think you are “blessing” someone but at the same time, open your heart, your ears and your eyes and take in the unexpected that may come your way. You never know where a friendship will begin.