Jenna to the Maxx
Words are not scary things. They’re just Words. They have no sharp edges, no corners, no pokey outey bits. They’re not even actual “things”. You can’t touch them , yet they can touch you. And yah... some can feel like a kick to the gut. I’ll be the first to admit, there have been some pretty heavy hitters in the past 5 years. Words that have hit so deep, with such permanence that I can’t even lend myself to utter them. Deafeningly whispered words...
Two words I that broke me. These are MY words. I spoke them... I have to now own them. My ears still ring. “...gone.”
I’ll never forget that day. Not ever. I was there, the kids were there, family was there. Giving others a chance to sit by her bedside offered me a chance to step back, to reflect. It by choice, I’d been up all night and was told to sit down. After a brief reprieve, we sat together once more, her hand in mine. She was beautiful, she looked peaceful, she seemed content. I will forever be grateful to have been given that moment. I was able to be there. I held her hand. I felt her grip. Got a couple light squeezes just to let me know she was good... and... yah.
With energy shared with a far more worthy cause, Jenna had moved on. It was a “Power Moment” that we had. She had to go. Not in fear but confidence. She felt confident in knowing where she was going. In the mark she would leave behind, “A world better than the one she got.” That’s how she liked to leave things, better than she got them. Confidently, she leaves behind two amazing little people. Who, when given the right tools, could shape the world. She felt confident that I would share these tools. I just needed confidence I even had these tools.
“You got this.” All I could say looking in that mirror while driving my fist firmly into the countertop. Yah, I got this. For her... For them. I suppose, this is what we’re made for. My kids are here because of me. And now I am here because of them.
I’ve been a dad now for like 10...thousand years. I like to think I’m pretty good at this whole “Never trust a dude who drives a van with no windows.” thing. Or the “Don’t forget your child at the hardware store”-rule. Whatever that’s about. This was waydifferent. This was unchartered ground. And as the boaters know, that’s usually where the rocks are. How do you emotionally prepare for this. How do I talk to my kids about what I most don’t ever want to even think about talking to my kids about... ever. And as I’ve said, talking is my thing. Talking is something I’ve always had a knack for. But talking to my children about THIS... yah... THAT.
It certainly helps that Bryson and Savannah are great kids. I’m not just saying that because I’m their dad but because I’m their father. And they are Really, REALLY great. Somewhere between the best kids on the planet... and a couple of ferrets playing in a ball pit. It just depends on the... nothing. There is no rhyme or reason to the chaos.
I know I shouldn’t be “grateful” but I truly am. We were afforded “Closure”. We knew this was coming, eventually. The conversation was well underway. Words were used. We’d had them with each other. We’d had them with ourselves. No grief is the same. We are all on our own in that respect. I don’t care how tough you think you are... Nothing prepares you for that kind of silence. Deafening silence. Jenna was gone gone. I sat for what seemed like hours, just waiting for that next breath, hearing my own... much faster now than it was before.
Since then, I find myself now having to make good on all those misty eyed promises. I’m better at this now. Remember that “better than she got it” bit? It applies to people too. Before Jenna, I wasn’t exactly selling “longevity”, “responsibility”, or general “adult-nicity”. It had no interest in me and I had no interest in it. Life was a gift and if you don’t live it, it’s just, well... ...rude. So there I was, burning through my nine lives like a methed-out cat on a highway. Enter Jenna.
It was not unlike the courting of tropical birds. I put my colors on. She looked blankly in my direction. I must have caught her on a good day. My perspective changed. She made me think of my long game. Like a lightning rod, Jenna grounded me. My kids, they grounded me. Now, I get to ground them. #winning
Jenna was also a “Gangsta”. (Or so she said) A lot of people don’t know, She had a posse and everything. Back streets of Tacoma. Well, not exactly. I’m kidding of course. Kinda.
She was a tough chick with street smarts for sure. If only the rest of the Tacoma gangsters would follow her lead. They’d all have amazing hair, little dogs and be drive-by-glitter-bombing each other’s granny’s houses. But Jenna’s ghetto-fabulous persona lay hidden for the start of our courtship. Perhaps she feared I would pull a “runner” if I thought she was too tough. She once chased a boy with a baseball bat for trying to kiss her in like, Grade 6 or something. I wasn’t going ANYWHERE. Gang-Star. I wish you guys could see what that looked like in my head. (Just running full tilt, two hands on the bat... Just awesome) In a world full of boys trying to kiss her, she held her own. With faith, strength and courage you can take on the world. I just hope she left some for Bryson and Savannah. (#metoo)
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Now that I’m home I miss her terribly. Like more than soo much. I will forever love her. What’s great is that I can now hold a conversation about her without breaking down. Misty for sure but not ugly crying. It has taken a month. What doesn’t sit well is that, the process of letting go was actually easier to start than I thought it would be... Than I thought it should be. It feels weird to say she is gone, she doesn’t “feel gone”. I know she would want this seen as a good thing. No matter your creed, just know she is here with us. I see her all the time. In every coincidence that brings us back to believing...There has something else. Every faith follows the same basic floor plan. Deity or energy, It can’t all be coincidence. I feel we really need to start paying attention and not shutting down the conversation. A good friend, who holds no faith, pulled me aside the other day. With tears in his eyes, “It was her energy. ... physics bro... you can’t destroy that sh*t. She has to be here.” This is why I love my people. I do feel that she was in my life for a purpose. Whatever it was she was here to do, she did.
Uh-oh... I hear a cliche-nado approaching...
This world is a better place because of her. My heart is full knowing she is at peace, without pain. I have been lucky to have had her by my side through the toughest 5yrs of my life and I couldn’t have done it alone. Technically, the hard stuff was kinda her fault, Lol. Just sayin’. But to play such a role for such an amazing life force has been incredible. Given the choice, I would do it all again.
Jenna’s presence gave our children a “plum line” of truth, humility and strength. Attributes I hadn’t quite figured out how to master. Not to that level. I’m better now, than I was, for sure. But again, that’s how Jenna left things...
Bryson and Savannah and their strength continue to inspire me and keep my head above water. It is going to get better. Somehow. It has to. I don’t know where to go from here but I’ll figure it out. It’s going to work out. I took my hands off the wheel a long time ago. This massive pressure that has rested upon my shoulders for so long has, so suddenly, been lifted. The challenge now is raising the kids to the standard Jenna set. It has been a team effort from the start. Balance, it’s what we did. The only way to see this is by finding the good. That’s how Jenna would have seen it. The kids have lived this for half of their entire lives, HALF. If they can do it, so can I, so can we all.
She lived... She loved... She laughed
We should all be so lucky. I know I was. Thanks babe. What’s next? No idea.
I just want to enjoy the little things...