|Jennifer: A very fun girlfriend.|
But Jennifer cannot walk, and she loved to walk. She cannot swim, and she loved to swim. She cannot cook and she loved to cook. She cannot talk and she loved to talk. She cannot write for hours each day in her tiny, precise print journaling the nuances of her days like a miner panning for nuggets of gold, hiding in plain sight. Jennifer cannot dress her beautiful sleek body or drive her children to school. She is hostage to bed and chair. And house. Outside of her house there are germs and cars and curious eyes to be protected from. In the lovely, light-filled house she shares with her husband Joe and her daughters Sophie and Tessa there is comfort and safety. There is shelter, too, for their big dog, and their books and their piano, their computers, their hopes and dreams. There is a perfect garden, too, where Jennifer toiled happily and often, nurturing her plants just as she so carefully nurtured her family and her work.
|Jennifer: A wonderful mother.|
How in the world does this happen? How does a beautiful and stately and thoughtful woman, indeed a fine specimen of our species, suffer such a thing as a brain bleed? How does God let this horror befall a good Catholic woman, so deeply devout, when an ambulance approaches she pulls off the road to say a prayer for the suffering? We were told there had been a malformation in her brain, and that it had been there, stealthy, like a ticking time bomb for all those years of her life. This is fantastically rare. This makes no sense at all. The weight of it, if you think about it long enough, can suffocate you. The injustice of it can make you angry as hell, and vengeful. But upon whom do you wreak your revenge? Who is to blame?
|Jen & Fam: Trick-or-Treating with Stella, the Dog|
|A favorite picture: Tessa and Michael Keith|
The shock of witnessing a loved one dealing with brain injury is in many ways worse than losing a loved one to death. Jennifer is here, but not fully here. She is here in spirit, in intellect, but locked in a strangely abeyant state, like a broken doll. That I cannot wake her from this half-sleep, that we can’t talk deeply the way we used to, makes me crazy with anger and grief. And fear. And guilt. I should be there by Jenny’s side more often, I think. I should learn to better endure my pain, as she has learned to endure hers.
|Jennifer calls her daughters "The Bunnies."|