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My best friend’s mom died on Friday afternoon after a very, VERY short bout with ovarian cancer. Everything was going OK, and then all of a sudden it spread and she was on the ventilator and then she was gone. She was 66.
I am heartbroken for Michelle and her family. I can’t even think about losing my mom without going ballistic and bawling. It’s something I fear. I hurt for my Shelly, thinking that her mom won’t see her wedding day. Her babies. Her life.
Jackie was a special woman. She taught political science at a small college in Ohio. She traveled the world for conferences and for fun. She started programs at the college. She adored her students. She wrote a textbook.
Several years in a row in college, some of my friends and I went to Michelle’s hometown for a festival they have each September. Jackie always made me feel so at home, pampered us, threw us parties, and loved on us all. I always thought that if I decided to buckle down and write the Great American Novel, I would go to their house and do it. Their home is serene: small town, antiques, and peace. A front porch. A flowering tree.
I am mourning, but I can’t help but smile at the memories of Jackie that float into my mind as I recall the times we spent together.
She and Michelle’s dad, Mike, were there the night Adam and I got engaged. They danced the pony and embarassed Michelle to death.
She and Mike introduced us to the game Apples to Apples on our first trip there for the festival.
They came to our wedding, danced the YMCA, and gave us a framed photograph out of their own bathroom as a wedding present, after I declared that I wanted a “strawberry bathroom” just like theirs.
Jackie made us asparagus and taught me how to buy dining-room chairs on a visit there after I was in Nashville. Then she listened with joy as Michelle played the piano and Sam and I sang the entirety of The Phantom of the Opera.
The memories have to be enough for this lifetime. Not in any way ideal; but for now, enough.