Today as I grieve the loss of a long time childhood friend, I understand why it is important to stop and smell the roses. A rose is a great description of my dear friend. She was beautiful and at times guarded. She was very private and only trusted a select few with her inner thoughts. If you were fortunate enough to be one then realize you are among a precious few. She was a rose. She was very noticeable, fragrant and full of life, and a lasting beauty. I appreciate her more with each passing memory and moment. Today, however, I feel the prick of the thorns as we mourn the loss of her young and fragrant life. My heart aches so deeply; I have been at a loss all day. It was difficult to focus on work duties with Facebook posts and messages, texts, and phone calls. My heart hurts for myself and for all who know and love Jenni Bryant. Most importantly my heart aches for her parents and her sister.
For the record, THIS I don't get....But I am trying.
After work I was having a very difficult time wrapping my mind around this sudden loss, so I dug out my yearbooks. As I glanced through them for pictures and messages, I see a message from my dear sweet friend as well as two other messages that interconnect so profoundly today. It has been so many years since they had been written, yet they are supremely significant. today One message was written by a boy with whom things "didn't work out" and he tells me "to stop and smell the roses so that life does not pass me by...to call him even if to say hi...much love, ...". Then another written beside his, tells me how there is "someone" out there for me one day. Finally, the one from Jenni about how our friendship is so important. She is wrote about how long we had been friends and how we had brought so much fun and happiness into each others lives.
Ironically, today I am dating that "boy" who told me to stop and smell the roses, chatted with the one friend today that told me "one day I would meet my guy", and now I am left with only the memories of Jenni. These messages will be eternally engraved upon my heart. Life will definitely pass you by with not one moments notice, so, embrace it and do not forget to enjoy it with others.
I am stopping to smell the roses...I just wish that last week when thoughts of Jenni had crossed my mind so abruptly, I would have contacted her. But I can rest knowing that she knew how I felt about her and that her friendship was always near and dear to my heart. In our earlier years, I think I understood her ups and downs more than most. I knew her secrets and she knew mine. When you belong to a community, like the one we grew up in, you understand that bond that holds us all together. Today that bond has been relevant and prevalent as it rings loud and clear and stronger than ever. I hope Jenni understood the power and privilege that came with being a Bluff Rat, if she didn’t then she is looking down upon us all and seeing it now.
Jenni and I were always able to pick up right where we left off. We stayed in touch throughout the years and shared things as they came up, for example major changes, loves, losses, etc. Her smile never disappointed a soul and lifted your spirits the minute you saw it. With the body of a ballerina and the hair of a goddess, she knew how to get the attention of an entire room. Many guys over the years have confessed their crushes to me, I had to deliver the news to them today too. Then as I was recalling all those whom I had not contacted, another message came through stating "call me ###..." So began another walk down memory lane with laughter, tears, and disbelief. It is moments like that which heal the soul and allow our feeble minds to grasp such a sudden loss. Our hearts, however, may take a little longer to catch on.
From your long fuzzy braids of yesteryear to your attempt at being a blonde, which turned a very bright orange for a short time, to your bright white smile, and finally your amazing business endeavors and love for animals…you were a force. It is a privilege to be called your friend. (For the record I know you would so quickly remove this pic! But I posted it anyway!)
I remember all the silly dances we made up to Madonna songs, changing the words to other songs to leave messages for those who would call. I remember being at the beach in your truck quite often. I also remember having to help you clean out the horse stall so we could go out and do those things. I had never in my life cleaned a horse stall. There are so many memories flooding me right now that we could stay awake an entire weekend laughing and talking and never cover them. We spent so much time together and I will treasure each and every memory.
All our lives are better for having known and loved you. The loss of your light in this world leaves us all a little dimmer, yet more appreciative of the time we have. We will honor your memory and your family and friends. We will do you as proud as you have us. You grew into such an amazing woman in business and in your home life. You were so full of life and love. You leave a void that will not be able to find its fill. I will miss you!
Forever your friend, Chel