Monday, November 23, 2009

What it didn't say

My friend Kris' obituary was published in the newspaper recently. It detailed her love of performing arts, her hometown, her surviving family members, her education, her career ... all of the things that are normally listed in such a document.

But what it DIDN'T say was what was important to me.

It didn't say that she went to Brazil as an exchange student when she was 17 and made a friend named Jennifer, among many others. That the mere mention of "chicken cake" sent shudders down her spine and sent both of us into convulsive giggles.

It didn't say that her hair was the color of cornsilk and that, while she was not terribly vain, her hair was her favorite physical attribute. It didn't say that the cancer didn't take her fight, her humor or her love but, in a cruel twist, took her beautiful hair.

It didn't say that she loved movies and enjoyed seeing the contenders for Best Picture each year, or that for several years we would watch the telecast of the Oscars while talking on the phone, critiquing dresses, hairstyles, and jewelry.

It didn't say that she enjoyed a margarita on the rocks or that one Thanksgiving we drank a couple of pitchers of them and later built a fertility icon out of snow in my back yard because my husband and I were trying to have a baby.(It also didn't say that Garrett was born 9 months later. Coincidence? I think not.)

It didn't say that she had unfailing patience with my kids and that she gave them incredible gifts of her time and attention in addition to the awesome brain-building toys and games she always found.

It didn't say that she once spent an entire weekend reading "The Monster at the End of this Book" in Grover's voice. Or that she was a singer and a voice coach and that this was NOT a good thing for her voice. It didn't say she never did anything halfway.

It didn't say that she was so independent that her family's stories about her early childhood almost all revolve around the theme of "I'll do it myself."

It didn't say that she was a bit of an anatomy geek and that she was aware of her body in ways that most of us are not and that she worked tirelessly at physical tasks like dancing so that her body could do amazing things.

It didn't say that, in another cruel irony, the girl who was so very comfortable in her own skin was made so uncomfortable in her body by the disease that took her life.

It didn't say that, when I received a letter accusing me of being a terrible person and causing tremendous grief and pain in my family, she calmed me down, reminded me of who I really am, and told me, "We wouldn't have been friends this long if that letter were true."

It didn't say she was an adamant feminist who collected limited edition Barbie dolls.

It didn't say she loved shoes.

It didn't say she had a veritable jungle growing in her home or that, while the plants she grew were beautiful, she really didn't know how she made them grow so well.

It didn't say she loved to ski.

It didn't say she got me addicted to the television show "Sports Night," which was possibly the best show with the worst possible name in the history of TV.

It didn't say she was wickedly funny.

It didn't say she was incredibly smart.

There was so much it didn't say.

So I said it here.

Because I thought you should know.


  1. I so glad you wrote that. Love you Jennifer and can't tell you how sorry I am that she is gone.

  2. What a beautiful tribute to her. Thanks for letting me know. Happy Thanksgiving. While it will be hard today, be thankful for the time you got to spend with her and know that she is watching over you.

  3. That is beautiful, your friend sounds amazing. I am very sorry for your loss.

  4. I am just a stranger passing through but read this and thought it was a very beautiful tribute to your dear friend.