Saturday, August 24, 2019

One week until Jen's memorial party

Another reminder that Jen's memorial party is 1 week away on what would have been her 50th birthday.  It is this upcoming Saturday, August 31 at our house from 6 pm till whenever.  For anyone who has not done so, I would appreciate a quick RSVP as to whether you can attend or not.  You can follow the link below and let me know your status.

http://evite.me/d7bjyJEPJp

Again, I have set up an email account for anyone who needs more info or my address.  The email is jensmemorialparty@gmail.com  Please feel free to email or call me if you wish to help out or just need more info.  As I am sure to get a lot of spam on a publicly posted email, please identify yourself so I will know to respond.


About a week and a half ago, I journeyed up north to scatter Jen's ashes near the giant sequoias per her wishes.  I did this on what would have been our 32nd anniversary of meeting.  Some day when I pass, I will have my ashes scattered in the same place.  I love you Jen.

At Jen's memorial service, I mentioned that I had recently come across a valentine card she had made for me many years ago in which she listed 100 things she loved about me.  In the spirit of having a party to celebrate Jen, I wish to post my own list of 100 things I love about Jen.  Although, I know Jen knew how much I loved her, I wish I had taken the time to do it while she was alive.  She would have appreciated it.  If anyone else wishes to share something they loved about Jen, please feel free to do so by commenting on this blog entry or forwarding your comment to me and I will post it for you.  I cannot explain how much I miss you Jen.  I hope the party will be the sendoff you would have wished for.

On our wedding day!


And now for 100 things I love about Jen.


  1. Jen’s smile.  She was always self conscious about it and felt she had a crooked smile and should have had braces as a kid.  I didn’t care.  I loved every time she smiled.
  2. Our shared history.  Jen and I were from the same hometown.  Even though we didn’t meet until after we were both out of high school, we knew and had many of the same teachers.  We knew many of the same people from our area (Jen would often know the younger brother or sister of a sibling I knew).  We knew of the same hangouts and hotspots in our town.
  3. Watching Jen dance.  As I have mentioned before the first night I met Jen was at a dance.
  4. Dancing with Jen.
  5. Jen’s beautiful blue eyes.
  6. Jen’s sense of humor.  Jen really did see the humor in so many things from the subtle and wry to the silly and groan worthy.
  7. Jen’s laugh.
  8. Jen’s kindness.
  9. Jen’s honesty.
  10. Jen’s love and appreciation for all kinds of music.
  11. Our shared love for live music.
  12. Jen’s love of film.  She always loved movies, but over the years my love of cinema rubbed off on Jen and she really grew to appreciate all kinds of movies from art films to popcorn films.
  13. Her love of animals.
  14. Her accepting of not having pets due to my asthma.
  15. Our shared love for travel.  We didn’t do anywhere near enough of this, but always something we loved doing together whenever we got a chance.
  16. Road tripping with Jen.  There was no one better to share a long car ride with while traveling.  She made the journey just as enjoyable as the destination.
  17. Our shared love of camping.
  18. Hiking together
  19. Her love for her parents
  20. That she really truly loved my parents.
  21. Jen’s thoughtfulness.  She was always thinking of others.
  22. That she put up with me.  (Not an easy task)
  23. Jen’s love of reading.
  24. Jen’s love of writing.  She used to write a lot more when we first met.  She would always show me stuff she was working on.  She was a great help with my writing as well.  She mostly got away from it until she got sick, although she did make progress towards a camping cookbook she worked on.  After getting sick, I was glad to see her rekindle this passion.
  25. Jen’s cooking.  She was an amazing cook and it was something she truly loved to do and got excited about.  I enjoyed cooking with her often and obviously was lucky to be able to enjoy her food.
  26. Jen’s sense of fairness.
  27. Jen’s sense of adventure.  When we traveled we liked to try new things: kayaking, white water rafting, zip lining, snorkeling, horseback riding.  We loved taking remote hikes to get to some unique destination or getting up before the crack of dawn to undertake some photo excursion at sunrise.
  28. Jen’s appreciativeness.  She really loved even the simplest gestures or gifts.  She was grateful for the life we had, even though we never had a lot of money.
  29. That Jen was not in any way materialistic.
  30. That she preferred experiences and people over things.
  31. Jen’s curiosity.
  32. Jen’s love of learning.  This is something she always had and never lost.
  33. Sitting around a campfire together.  Loved this every time we did it.
  34. Our conversations.  In over 31 years of being together, we never got tired of talking with each other and never ran out of things to talk about.
  35. That there was never really an awkward moment between us.
  36. That she called me on my bullshit or on things when she felt I was in the wrong.  She was also good at doing this in a way that didn’t put me on the defensive so that I was truly able to hear her.
  37. She made me a better person.
  38. She cared about the broader world and not just her immediate surroundings.
  39. Jen was always open to trying new things.
  40. Jen’s love of gardening.
  41. Jen’s work ethic.  Jen was never afraid of hard work and always cared about the job she was doing.
  42. Taking on projects together.  I loved working side by side with Jen.  Whether it was making a film, fixing up our house, or organizing a wedding or a music party.  I loved when we took on a task together.
  43. Not afraid to break a nail.  Jen didn’t mind getting dirty or tackling tough projects together.
  44. We always resolved our disagreements.  We didn’t fight often, but when we did, we both always made a conscious effort to squash it quickly and hear each other out.  I know its clich√© – but we promised each other early on to never go to bed angry with each other and held to it.
  45. Holding hands.
  46. Kissing each other.
  47. Just being affectionate with each other.  … (I’ll keep this G rated)
  48. Our shared love of skiing.
  49. Our shared love of watching astronomical events.  We loved to go to dark skies and watch meteor showers.  We must have seen dozens over the years.  We went to an observatory to watch when Shoemaker Levy impacted with the surface of Jupiter, we would observe eclipses, blood moons, and on a couple of occasions, comets.  We appreciated the wonder and the perspective it gave us.
  50. Jen’s sense of childlike wonder.
  51. Jen’s sweetness.
  52. Jen made me happy.
  53. Jen’s tenacity.  She was not a quitter.
  54. Her perfectionism.  Fortunately something we shared otherwise it might have been an annoyance, but instead I always understood and appreciated her unrelenting pursuit of getting something right.
  55. Jen was a patient student.  She would sometimes get frustrated, but she never gave up even when I taught her how to ski (in icy conditions) or drive a stick.
  56. Jen was a patient teacher.  She would take her time and was always helpful when teaching me things like cooking or gardening.
  57. Our shared taste in things.  We agreed on so much when it came to choosing what to do or how to paint our house or design our wedding.  We really had similar sensibilities in so many things.
  58. Jen was never stuck up.
  59. Jen’s love of other people.
  60. Jen’s friends.  We had many mutual friends, but whenever I would meet one of Jen’s work friends or someone else she had met, I could always see what Jen saw in them.
  61. Hanging out with friends together.  We both loved sharing our time and lives with our friends.
  62. The way Jen would look at me.
  63. We truly were partners.  I always felt that we had common goals and a shared sense of purpose.
  64. Jen was my best friend.  There was no one else I would rather spend time with.
  65. That we were always comfortable with each other.  Even if that just meant sitting together quietly.
  66. How she faced her cancer diagnosis.
  67. Jen’s fighting spirit.  She always had a little rebellion in her, from being a punk as a kid to the way she took on her cancer.  I loved her feistiness and grit.
  68. That she took it upon herself to prepare a 30 minute presentation on her cancer after she got sick in order to educate others.
  69. After Jen got sick, she wanted to learn as much as she could.  We attended the Brain Tumor conferences together every year to become as educated as possible about Jen’s condition.  We would discuss a lot of the research I did as well as any treatment options we were looking at.  She faced the disease head on.
  70. Jen’s strong will.  I don’t believe I or many others would have had the will to do some of the things that she did in trying to fight her cancer.
  71. Jen’s love of life.
  72. That one of the reasons she fought so hard was for me.  She was worried about how I would be after she was gone.
  73. That Jen wanted to walk to raise money for brain cancer.
  74. How she faced death.
  75. That she donated her brain to science to help others.
  76. Jen made my life worth living.
  77. How Jen would truly get excited by things.  Whether it was something grand or as simple as a butterfly visiting a flower in the yard.
  78. Jen wasn’t shallow.
  79. Jen was a great caregiver.  When I would get sick, Jen really did everything she could to take care of me.  When I was really sick, she would even make me homemade chicken soup.
  80. Jen was a great patient.  When Jen got truly sick, she made my job as a caregiver about as easy as someone going through what she had to deal with could have.
  81. Jen wasn’t a complainer.
  82. Doing the music parties together.
  83. That she would do things even if they weren’t her thing if she knew they would make me happy.  She would sometimes go with me to a movie, even if she wasn't interested in it, just to be with me.  She took me to Bruce Springsteen many years ago for a birthday present, even though she didn’t like him.  (Although, after seeing him live she did a 180 and grew to love him).
  84. Jen’s love for nature.
  85. Jen’s birding hobby that she developed after moving into our house.  She loved planting things that would draw them, feeding them, maintaining the bird baths, and identifying the different ones that would come visit.
  86. Jen’s geekiness.  She loved birding, gardening, star watching, & playing games.
  87. The way we supported each other.  Whether it was professional or personal, I always felt Jen had my back and I always tried to have hers.
  88. Our shared love of wine.  We always enjoyed it, but really got into it about 12 years ago.
  89. The fact that Jen loved whiskey.
  90. That we both loved the Redskins.  I loved watching a football game with Jen, especially when the Redskins were winning (a rarity of late).
  91. That she loved entertaining and hosting.  Whether it was our Oscar party, Music party, a dinner party, or just having people over, Jen loved any chance to entertain and make sure that everyone was taken care of.
  92. That Jen kept things real.  She didn’t beat around the bush, bullshit, or act phony.
  93. That Jen didn’t hold grudges.
  94. That Jen knew when to give me space and when I needed a hug.
  95. That she couldn’t wait to get home from work just to see me.
  96. Just being with her.
  97. That Jen agreed to marry me.
  98. Jen truly was my soul mate.
  99. Our life together.  I'm glad I got to share most of Jen's life with her. I wish we could have had many more years together.
  100. That I know without the slightest doubt that Jen truly loved me as much as I love her.

1 comment:

  1. I loved the way Jen genuinely enjoyed people, including my kids, and that she did it with her whole heart. She (and you, Randy) became part of my extended family, connecting not just with my kids, but also my parents and friends. I loved partying with her, seeing Redskins games with her and enjoying wine with her. I loved her sense of wonder and the way she found joy in life, and that she fought for it and you for so long.

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