Last Spring (February) when I deactivated from Facebook I realized that I might end up missing out on a lot of news. Facebook had provided a way for me to connect with people; family and friends I had lost touch with because of time and distance.
When I needed to submit some reference information recently for a background check as the School year began, I thought to friends I have known for many years. One of those people was Jenny.
When we moved to California back in the 90’s, Jenny was one of the first people I met. I went to a temporary employment agency and she was on staff at that location. I spent hours in there that day and in the days following, filling out the usual job application forms and taking computer tests that she administered.
I enjoyed those tests but more than that, I enjoyed getting to know Jenny. That first day, was the beginning of a special friendship for me. I knew no-one when I arrived in Southern Cal but Jenny helped me feel welcome. We talked at length about her work ethic, her family, and life in general.
Jenny had that “X” factor when it came to people. Whether it was a one-on-one conversation, how she dressed or in showing appreciation to others.
Jenny knew there was a company I wanted to work for. She had already established herself with them as staffing source but the opportunities for placing “new temps” had posed a challenge. They’d been using different sources and she was just one of many.
I had started a temp job at a company I really wasn’t sure was a good fit. That evening after work, Jenny called me and said “Hey! I got you an interview tomorrow, can you make it?”
“What? How? Are you kidding?”
“The company is establishing a marketing department to promote their new line. The manager they’ve hired is looking for someone to help them get it off the ground. I’ve met her, you will be a perfect fit.”
It turns out Jenny was right. This interview was only one of two that were truly memorable in my life. I was offered the position the next day.
I only worked at this job for 9 months. But during that 9 months, Jenny proved to truly live out the principles of her work ethic and mantra for life.
About mid-day, right before lunch, I head a familiar voice in the main room. I had been given a dedicated work area because I was constantly on the phone with specialty gift retailers across the country assisting them with their Special Events. I put the phone down, got up and looked around the corner. There was Jenny, walking and talking with other employees. She headed my direction, and she had a rose in her hand.
“Hi, how are you?” she asked and gave me a bear hug.
“Hi Jenny, I’m great…how are you? What are you doing here?”
Continuing to smile, she held out the wrapped rose. “I came here to give you this for Secretary Appreciation Day. I know you’re not a Secretary, but it’s always a good day to show appreciation and to say Thank You!”
A single wrapped rose. A smile. Kindness. A simple act of Kindness.
“Thank me, for what?”
“For trusting me to help you with employment. For your friendship. Just Because.”
I have never forgotten that moment.
In late August, I needed to submit references for a background check. I thought back to the connections I would share and started looking for emails and phone numbers.
The first person I thought of was Jenny. Having met her in 1994, I’d known her for 20 years. I wanted to check back in with her and see how she was doing. So I started searching for her name online.
Two or three different internet searches later and I stopped, staring at the screen. The 2nd search I did had shown that in March there had been a fundraising event hosted on her behalf, as she continued to fight Stage 4 Cancer.
The 3rd search brought me to a video that her Sister had put together for her. It was a memorial video. I stared at the screen. Then the tears came with shock to follow.
She had died in March.
I’d left Facebook in February.
I knew when I left there might be a lot of information about people, family and friends I might not otherwise know about. Here it was.
My dumbfounded mind just could not wrap itself around the idea that she was gone. It took me a couple of days to have her loss sink in. I wasn’t sure I would write about it until her memory crossed my mind this morning.
It’s still a shock that you’ve passed on from this life. I know that Eric and the kids miss you every single moment of the day. I know this because I missed my Mom and Dad when they died. I still do, but the grief and sorrow have changed over the years. You’ve given your family and friends who knew you a legacy.
You were a powerhouse of Hope.
God gave you a great gift; to love fully, completely and without reservation or hesitation. I know this because I have remembered your gifts of kindness to me two decades later.