Friday, June 10, 2011

When I remembered her... (For Melissa Bell)

So yesterday... after my selfish, complaining post... I opened up my email. And there was an email in there from a friend. And she reminded me quite beautifully (simply telling me that she was thinking of me on such a day) that it was the anniversary of a dear, dear friend's death. Melissa. It broke my heart. I hadn't even remembered! I didn't know what day it was... I was too stuck in my own world to open my eyes to see the Life that is really, REAL. So later that night... I drove off to that damn house we are trying to sell. It was late. I was all alone with my memories. And the rose bush.

My husband (boyfriend at the time) got a call 6 years ago from my mom. I was at a local college taking some summer classes and she knew that after class...I would drive to his house first. And I did. I was excited to show him my new hair cut. It was light and fluffy and so was I.

I should have known. The air in the room was tender and quiet. And when the time was right...

"Melissa passed away..."

Her fight with cancer was over.

I had seen her just 4 days before. She was beautiful. But her cough was relentless. We went to church and lunch together. And as we left each other that day...we made a plan to get together for a sleepover. She wrote, "sleepover with Melissa" on her little sticky note and handed it to me. She knew that her time was short. She loved much. She wanted to spend every waking moment with someone she loved. Her family, her friends. I still have it. That little sticky note.

He handed me a small rose bush that night... the night he told me she was gone. It had small, precious, yellow rose buds. And I drove off in my car to the beach ( I seem to do that quite often). I sat there as the waves crashed. And I looked up at the endless expanse above my head, holding the stars, holding the moon.


 Last night, I sat again, under that great expanse, only this time next to the now larger-than-life rose bush.  I could see her beautiful face, I heard her laughing, ... I remembered her walk. Her voice. Her life. And that damn house we can't sell was transformed from the bane of my existence into a place of rest, joy and grace that night. Her rose bush is nestled among it's gardens.

Love and loss do that for the soul. They are our teachers. They tear down walls and break apart our stone cold selves. They destroy our ego. And send us running to God. All becomes trite in their presence. My yesterdays gloom jumped off that cliff. The sweetness of life came bellowing in. When I remembered her...


  1. Oh Jenny you are amazing! I miss talking to you, and I am sorry for your loss and all the stress you were going through regarding the house. I am having a crazy week with all the packing and moving back to the States, but I am here my friend - always cheering for you!

    Much love,

  2. I loved this post! I was talking to Janice yesterday and mentioned that it is amazing to think of all of the lives, all of the stories, that God has knitted together through Melissa. :) Sending you love from down here in Nashville! ~ Lauren

  3. Beautiful. Lovely. Thank you.


  4. Crying big tears here even though I do not know you in "real life" or this precious friend who impacts you still. Love and loss ARE our teachers.

  5. Deep inside you knew it was the day and were saddened by it. That is why you let the house upset you. Our minds are amazing things.

  6. so beautiful friend. so beautiful. you and melissa.

  7. Jenny,
    We've never met and I just found your blog when researching adopting from Ethiopia as it's a process I'm trying to learn more about. I was amazed to read this post; Janice Meisenhelder was one of my nursing professors in the program I just completed in May. I have heard lovely things about Melissa, and her mother is wonderful. It's such a small world.
    Sending your whole family love from Arlington,