Thursday, December 07, 2006

A Whole Lotta Sad

Tonight our family lost a shining star. My cousin Jennifer lost her battle with cancer. She was only 40 years old.

Jen was the oldest granddaughter on my dad's side of the family. I called my cousin, K, tonight to see if she had heard the news. When she said she hadn't been talking to her mom, I said, "I don't want to tell you," but we both knew why I was calling. We granddaughters are three in number now. The boys out-number us. It's sad and strange to imagine that she is gone. Though I didn't see her nearly enough in our "grown up" years, I will miss her. We will all miss her.

She had a great sense of humour which always made family gatherings more fun. Sitting beside Jen meant that you were sure to spend the evening laughing. (If the truth were to be told, sitting next to any of my cousins usually leads to laughing.)

Here are some things that I will always remember and which will always make me smile when I think of Jen:

First, she was 8 years older than me, so she was infinitely cooler and infinitely more beautiful than any other person I knew. She had beautiful black hair that had just a hint of curl in it - she always said it wasn't curly, it was "bent".

Second, she was the one who started the family "tradition" of elder female cousins dropping younger, infant, cousins. She got tired of holding me and, ahem, dropped me. I, in turn, dropped the youngest granddaughter, L, years later. My other cousin, K, should probably her baby girl away from L to prevent any further family mishaps!!!

Third, when I was little, Jen had a set of nesting dolls that she would let me play with when I visited. She didn't mind sitting on the floor with me as I re-enacted the little scene from Sesame Street. She always made me feel so special.

Fourth - her laugh. Whenever Jen laughed you always wanted to be in on the joke.

Goodbye, Jen. Sleep well now.


  1. Oh, I am so sorry, I have never lost a cousin to cancer though I did lose my brother to cancer so I know a bit, of how you must feel. My condolences on your family’s loss. May your memories comfort you.

  2. I'm sorry. There is nothing else I can say. Go out and have her favourite meal. When my grandmother died, the pain was visceral. I went out to the best Chinese restaurant I could find and chowed down. She loved Chinese food, even at 92 she loved to dig in.
    I learned how to knit because I always wanted to have a part of her with me. I just knit my first (and second!) pair of mittens and it felt like she was sitting next to me the whole time.

  3. I am so sorry for your loss.

  4. Anonymous7:35 a.m.

    Hi Steph,

    So sorry for your family's loss. I remember you telling me about her and I have on occasion thought about her and wondered how she was doing. Let me know if you need anything...

  5. Anonymous7:40 a.m.

    I'm so sorry, it's extra hard when they go so young. Give me a call if you need to talk.

  6. I'm so sorry for your loss. The first granddaughter in my family was lost to cancer at 40 too. Your post and your description of Jennifer remind me so much of her.

    Big hug,

  7. My condolences to you and your family on such a sad loss for someone who was cherished and loved as much as your cousin was :(

  8. Anonymous8:36 a.m.


    Take care. Try some knit therapy, it's good for your soul.

    *more hugs*

  9. Anonymous10:05 a.m.

    I'm so very sorry to hear of your loss. I'm going to put 2006 on my hit list.

  10. Steph, I am so sorry to hear of your loss. Althought it had been several years since I'd seen her, I knew Jennifer for a number of years through Reddings and Meditrust. She also helped Todd and I decide to get married in Jamaica!
    Although there are no words that can ease your pain right now, I hope you will take comfort in your memories. She was a beautiful, strong and lovely person.
    Much strength to you,

  11. Steph, I'm so sorry to hear about your family's loss. Cancer always seems to take the best ones.

  12. Anonymous3:15 p.m.

    I am so sorry to hear about your loss, my heart goes out to you and your family at this sad time. No matter how long the battle, it always feels like cancer rips the person out of your life way too soon.
    Let me know if there is anything I can do.

  13. I'm so sorry for your loss. Hopefully, the sound of her laughter will stay will you forever!

  14. Anonymous11:58 a.m.

    Steph, my heartfelt condolences. As Jodi already said, cancer always seems to take the best ones. Forty is just too young.

  15. Dear Steph,


    At the risk of sounding facile...I frackin' hate cancer. It keeps stealing the best people in the world.

    Stay safe on the drive home.