Life Sucks When You Have To Say Goodbye Too Soon…..Jennifer Starr Malean
Death. We’d prefer not to think about it, that it never visited and when it did; well, then of course we wished we’d taken that course on death and dying or lived in a culture that knew how to grieve and mourn…
About a year ago I happened upon a new coffee shop that soon became one of my favorites; Urban Coffee Lounge in Juanita. What drew me back day after day, sometimes several times in a day? Sure UCL gets points for it’s hemp latte and I love the vibe of Friday nights when a local musician is performing and the wine and beer are flowing.
But what captured my heart early on was the staff at UCL, not the owners but rather the employees, and one employee, person in particular.
Well of course Kelsey, Becca, Melissa and Brady have touched my life. But the barista, employee, extra-ordinary whose smile, greeting and laughter touched my soul, the girl who possessed the ability to turn strangers to friends in mere seconds was Jenn Malean.
Over a couple months Jenn went from a stranger to ‘the’ girl at the coffee shop to the ‘friend’ I was trying to set up with my client, to the ‘friend’ I was having a glass of wine with and listening to music with, to the ‘friend’ who could be my sister or dare I say it…. my daughter.
How was it that this stranger penetrated the very layers of protection around my very guarded heart? Jenn had this ability to make every person, client, acquaintance feel like they were the only person on the planet and not in that cheap customer service, follow the operation guidelines way.
Jenn said the craziest, truest things that shouted, “I’m genuine, I’m real” And now that she’s gone I’m clear that mostly what I hunger for, is people who are real, genuine, caring and kind- just like her.
” So Pam how many days of straight yoga today? Your how old????” Jen laughed.
Remembering the details of my life, this young girl persisted; visit after visit, coffee order after coffee order to move herself within inches from the holies of holies; my heart.
I had planned on going to her ‘going away’ party a couple months ago and then I got distracted and I did not go.
Looking back now, this was my final opportunity to be with her- while she was still alive. And I was a no-show.
It’s not that I haven’t lost people before. I lost my mom 22 years ago and then there was a plane wreck that ended the lives of 4 people I loved. I’ve been here before. Where death wins or so it appears when a person we care about that seemed perfectly suited to live another 30,40, 50 years departs early.
And then again, what do I know? For all I know, moving into eternity at a young age is a blessing not a curse.
I do believe that life as spirit will far exceed our wildest expectations…But that aside, what to do with this hole in my heart, this grief I find myself wrestling with?
For now, I’m sitting with the incredible truth that one young lady working in a coffee shop was able to penetrate the walls, past hurts in my life and cuddle up close to my hear, in no time at all.
I am remembering a smile so white and genuine it lit up the room.
I’m remembering a young lady so interested in people she asked about the details in their lives and invited us all in so close, that mere strangers felt like family.
I’m going to remember that life is fleeting.
I’m going to think twice about being a no-show at an event held by anyone that has touched my heart and I’m going to immediately begin being a no-show in ALL the places where I can’t either give or receive love.
I’m going to remember that God’s plans are not my plans and my ways are not his ways.
I’m going to remember that we are all spirit and on a journey back to our Creator. And that none of us are entitled to even one more hour on this earth regardless of our goodness, health or age.
I intend to treat every person as if it were their last hour on earth and remember that the most imp0rtant job any of us have is to both give and receive love.
Thanks Jenn for reminding me why we are all still here.
And I’m going to remember you- Jennifer Starr Malean- forever