Not Enough Time

Greetings, loyal minions. No third person schtick for me in this post…

This weekend was a difficult one and has left me feeling melancholy.

Saturday started out fine enough. I was doing “normal” stuff. I got a haircut. I did the grocery shopping. I paid some bills.

Then I needed to find some old paperwork. I went into the closet in my study and was looking through a box in which I keep some old paperwork. Next to the paperwork box happened to be a box of “college memories.” Photos, trinkets, old papers from my college years. Protruding out of the box were two photo collages made for me by friends. I took them out and looked at them. One was made by my old friend Beth. Beth now is married, a mom, and a teacher in Oregon. One of the photos was of Beth and Jennifer. The photo was taken in 1992. Beth was finishing her Masters degree and Jennifer was 17.

Jennifer was 17 and had been accepted to college and would be starting her Freshman year that fall. Perhaps the photo was just after the school year had begun, so Jennifer would have just turned 18 in June. Jennifer was bright. Very, very bright. She had finished high school early and was starting college. She was witty. She was fun. She was off-beat and charming. She was a wonderful addition to our little circle of friends. I was working at the time in the Admissions office. So I knew a little about her background. I also knew that some strings were pulled to admit her due to her age. I didn’t pull the strings, but I knew who did (and would have had it been up to me).

I left my Alma Mater (and my post graduation job in the Admission Office there) and moved on to other things. I would check in with friends and with Jennifer from time to time over the next four years. One time she told me a fantastic (and somewhat horrifying) story of a summer she spent in Madagascar. She was working in a village and was struck with some sickness that incapacitated her. She was in a fever state unaware of what was going on around her. When her fever broke she was in a small grass hut, with an old lady. The old lady explained to her that the rest of the villagers had fled guerrillas that were terrorizing the area. Since Jennifer couldn’t be moved, the old lady volunteered to stay with her. The old lady said that if the guerrillas came she would have tried to fight them off if they’d wanted to take Jennifer as a slave. The old lady said that the guerrillas did come to the abandoned village and saw the two of them. But decided to leave them both alone and move on. I wish I could do the story justice, but it is not my story to retell…

In 1996 she was about to graduate and I was about to get married. I heard through mutual friends that Jennifer had gotten accepted to graduate school and was going on to study Anthropology. It was at this point that we lost contact with each other. From time to time over the intervening 20-odd years, I caught myself looking at the photo and thinking that I ought to use the Facebook and catch up with Jennifer.

I’ve learned that in those intervening years she excelled at everything. She went to Yale and got her Master’s Degree and PhD. She taught at the University of Toronto. Then she moved to UCLA and was teaching there. She published many papers and a book. She was on the fast-track of life it appeared.

Until she died of cancer in 2015.

I didn’t learn of this until last night (Sunday - a day after I looked at her photo) when I saw a post on the Facebook from a mutual friend who was lamenting that Jennifer’s June birthday had just passed and what a shame it was that her life was cut so tragically short. I feel badly that I didn’t know. If someone told me it didn’t register. I felt pretty awful about it when I read over the obituary I found. I am still feeling badly about it now.

It was a sad way to cap a sad weekend. I’ve been dealing with some family issues, and those issues went badly on Sunday morning. I’ll not go into detail here, but if you are the praying type, please spare a prayer for my mom and dad. They are both going through some bad stuff right now and could use all the divine assistance they can get.

I hope this week will be better… I will pray for Jennifer as well, and again if you’re the praying type, please keep her in your prayers too.

Carry on.

1 Comment »
Mo K said:

Feeling nostalgic, I was going through my old links off “Six Degrees…” haven’t done so in years. I wasn’t surprised over the number of broken links and non-posts as I know so many of us have moved to other social media venues. Took a gander at yours, and am so very sorry for the loss of Jennifer. What an amazing lifestory that was just starting to unfold, cut way too short.
(I, too, found out about a death a couple years after the fact– someone hubby and I were friends with via Kim duToit’s blog and even went shooting with in Fredericksburg around 2004-2005.)

Sorry I’m late seeing your post, but know that I’m keeping your parents in prayer, and Jennifer’s family, extended family and friends as well.



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