Twenty years ago tonight, one of my very best friends was killed by a drunk driver. It was the single most life changing event that I had experienced in my brief 21 years on the planet and has continued to impact the trajectory of my life ever since. Her brilliant short life and her untimely death held many lessons for those of us who loved her. As I sit and reflect on the beautiful person she was, I can’t help but think of all the ways knowing her changed me.
Here are 10 lessons that I have learned through knowing her while she lived:
- Smile – As much as humanly possible, always try to have a smile on your face. Whenever people remember Jenny, they always mention her radiant smile and the light she brought into every situation.
- Dance Anywhere – Never turn down the opportunity to dance with a friend.
- Laugh Loudly – Having a contagious laugh brings joy to everyone around you. Laugh often and loudly.
- Eat a Cookie – You are never to old (or young) to order a single cookie from your favorite bakery or make a batch of fresh ones for a friend in need.
- Ride Your Bike (with your feet out) – Everything doesn’t have to be intentional. Sometimes you just have to experience the joy of something in the moment. Go with it. Don’t worry about what other’s might think.
- Say You Are Sorry – Even for the little things. You never know when you might not have the chance to make things right.
- Make Goofy Faces – Stick your tongue out, roll your eyes, just be silly. A goofy face always makes someone smile.
- Be Daring – Sometimes life is hard but you won’t know what you can accomplish until you try.
- Celebrate – Everything. Enjoy birthdays, anniversaries, successes. Celebrate the little things.
- Love Matters – Be loyal to the people who love you. Love them despite their differences and love them more when they are difficult. No-one loved a difficult person more than her.
Her spirit. Her love. Her smile.
Her radiant heart.
Continues to shine on long after she has been gone.
That is the lesson of a person who loved others.
That is how she changed my heart.
Missing you Jenny. Today, Always and Forever.
Shine on my sister-friend. Shine on.
Distracted/Drunk Driving Kills
Just Don’t Do It