Friday, November 5, 2010

Pennies From Heaven

I distinctly remember the first time I saw her. It was early September, the beginning of grade ten. I was sitting with some friends, backs against the lockers in the hallway. I noticed her immediately as she walked towards us, and it shook me, because when I say noticed, I mean it was as though my soul recognized her. She had the most amazing smile, an undeniable sparkle in her eye, and a fiery spirit that made her glow. Her name was Katie and we became inseparable. She changed my character in profound ways, she showed me love, resilience and strength like no one in my life ever had before. She was my best friend, my kindred spirit and one of the greatest teachers of life that I would ever know. And she came and went too quickly.
On a fateful night in November 1998, Katie fell asleep behind the wheel of her car as she drove home from visiting family in Halifax. I remember dropping the phone and feeling the numbness spread through my body. But more incredibly, I remember the feeling of disbelief and gratitude I felt as my mom and I drove home from a friends house late that night. As I looked out my frosted window, into the peaceful black night, I watched the blanket of new fallen snow rise up to meet the stars. I closed my eyes and prayed for a sign. Let me know she's okay. Show me that she's okay. Show me that her spirit is whole and soaring. Show me. I remember opening my eyes, I remember the hair rising up on my arms. I remember the calm that entered my heart. I remember the way that the snow lit up and sparkled as though someone had captured the sun and let it almost escape. The brief shimmer that spread across the white blanket. The wave that said good-bye, I'm okay. It was Katie who taught me first, to watch for the signs. She's been winking at me ever since.
In the past month, I have received message after message commenting on my strength and my courage.
And while I accept these messages with an open heart and gratitude, I can only take so much credit because as a whole person, I am merely the sum of the beautiful people who have come into my life. And so I want to thank you.
I want to thank my beautiful family and my amazing friends for their love and unrelenting support. Thank you to the communities I have belonged to in the past who have joined hands and hearts and have caught my family, and continue to hold us tightly. Thank you to the teachers who have left your mark. Thank you for embracing my vulnerability and accepting my words. Thank you for your love and your belief in us as worthy.
My greatest fear, that comes with the cancer diagnosis is not of dying or of death, my fear is of leaving Dave and Coady in a life that is absent of me. However, the other night, as I took a moment to look around the room, a room that was so full of life and love it was palpable, I was filled with love, gratitude and a deep sense of knowing that everything will be okay. Dave and my little Coady would be guarded, and loved and adopted by this amazing community that we have surrounded ourselves with. What more could I possibly ask for? I am indeed a fortunate soul who will always have faith in the signs. Thanks Kate, I love you too.

“If the only prayer you say in your entire life is – 'thank you' – that is enough.”
Meister Eckhart (1260-1328)


Erin wallis said...

Well... I don't know you personally, and I don't know many things for sure....But, it is incredibly obvious that you are enlightened, that your soul is gold and that your little one will be blessed with your love, always. That kind of love, never goes anywhere. You are an inspiration to so many. Wishing you much joy, peace and all things beautiful.

Anonymous said...

Jenn, once again I am incredibley inspired and so completely touched by your words. Just as Katie touched your life, you too have touched and left your mark in so many people's lives and hearts. Your words are soothing to those of us who struggle to understand and accept why bad things happen to such wonderful people. It is you who we selfishly allow to calm our fears and reassure our thoughts when it should simply be the other way around. Just like that shimmer across the snow that Katie sent to you, God has already sent us rainbows, telling us that everything is and will be okay. Don't you see Jenn, Dave, Coady and you will all be more then okay, today, tomorrow, and always. I love you forever. Love Kris xoxoxo

Michelle B said...

Beautiful words :)

William said...

Hi Jenn,
This is only a few steps of the many millions more you will make in your life.

Erin said...

Jenn, you have taught me to look for signs. You have taught me to take lifes lessons and reflect about how they are helping to make me whole. You are such an inspiration and you have brought so much strength to this world. You have taught us all to live life and love life.
I think of you often and cant wait to see you and Dave on the 13th!

Lots of love and beautiful thoughts.

Erin Springford

lisalou said...

Remind me to tell you about the dream I had after my friend Mike passed. It was surreal and wonderful. It was real. It was filled with meaning and signs. I can't write beautifully tonight but if you remind me to tell you I will!

Nancy said...

I've been thinking of Katie so much this last week...I didn't know why.. I thanked her for the time I knew her and her vivacious spirit.
Thank you once again for your sharing, my body and mind has had a chance to catch up with my spirit.
There is a beautiful wisdom in trusting the soul. I thank you for your reminders to trust.

Anonymous said...

You have had wonderful people in your life to make you this strong and brave woman.
Thank you for sharing with us as we become strong and brave with you and because of you.

michelle said...

Hi Jenn,

Not sure if you remember me or not from the Birch... Siew Yan told me about your blog- I have been away on maternity leave until just recently and was wondering about you. We still have Coady's picture and still love looking at it!

I hope you don't mind that I have checked your blog. You have an amazing talent with words- to express your thoughts with such eloquence is something you should be very proud of.

I am thinking of you and your family and sending you the very best wishes possible.


PS: I believe in signs as well!!

Anonymous said...

I too remember Katie often. She loved you Jenn and is watching over you.

Anonymous said...

I also remember hearing of the accident that night, Katie was a unique person who made everyone feel content with who they were. I remember thinking when I heard of the accident, of you and James and hoping you would be ok!

Anonymous said...

I also remember hearing of the accident that night, Katie was a unique person who made everyone feel content with who they were. I remember thinking when I heard of the accident, of you and James and hoping you would be ok! I am sure you are a better person as am I for knowing her! Wishing you all the best!