My friend Jen was smart, funny, and full of energy. She died on Wednesday after a long, adventurous, and courageous bout with cancer.
I’m not telling you this to ruin your day, but because I thought that watching the video she made on her 40th birthday might stir up some good feelings. She left such a fun image behind, I’m sure fully knowing that folks would be looking for ways to interact with her in the days and years following her death.
Jen spent her time on this planet wisely, inspiring us to enjoy each other, to appreciate our families, to choose our words carefully, to exercise, and to party like it’s 1999.
She was a leader.
Last month, I wanted to make her something to let her know I was thinking of her. I knew that having logged seven years as a cancer patient, she was the recipient of a lot of trinkets, everything from lotions to Kaballah bracelets. I didn’t want to clutter her life. She wrote a column at Web MD with some advice for supporting friends and family who are undergoing cancer treatment. Inspired by her suggestions, I wanted to send something that didn’t require her to DO anything. She said that gifts should come with no strings attached. (Do not ask a patient if they read the book, or called the person, or watched the documentary you recommended.)
Another gift from Jen: She left all of us with a better understanding of how to support someone who is facing a health crisis.
I decided to make a sign that says FEARLESS, which is Jen’s mantra.
The memory of Jen will stay with me forever. She was tenacious in her journey. She was brave. She made her days count. She was fearless.
Today my husband is in New York with friends and her family, honoring her. Writing this post at home is my own little memorial service.
Please enjoy this video of Jen shaking her booty a couple of months ago. (She gave me permission to share it with you.)
Jen raised millions of dollars for cancer research. To learn more about her journey, visit Cycle For Survival, the fundraising effort she started.
Everything has a last day. — My friend Karen’s four-year old son’s analysis of life and death.
[photo of Jennifer Goodman Linn by Jennifer Lee]