Thursday, September 24, 2009

Jennifer's Broken Heart

April 1, 1983 Friday April Fool's Day

Dear Ophelia,

"Today mom and I went shopping for 6 1/2 hours. We bought Joel and Jeff a shirt and we bought some groceries but mostly we looked at wedding things. We went out for dinner at a Mexican place. Well, I gotta go, bye Ophelia. Your friend, Jennifer."

Okay--it can be hard to find good Mexican food in California--wonder how Alaska Mexican was?

One perk of Jennifer's move during the school year was that she and her mom got to shop for the wedding together! The wedding was planned for June 18th.

April 2, 1983 Saturday

Dear Ophelia,
"Today we went cross-country skiing. It was so fun. The skis are hard to control. I fell a lot but coming down I didn't fall once. It's really hard to turn and to stop. D.B. makes a lot of noise. Well, bye Ophelia. Your friend, Jennifer."

Jennifer has been thrown into quite an active family!

April 3, 1983 Easter

Dear Ophelia,
"This morning we got Easter baskets and candy. We drove to Mt. Alyeska and took a chair lift to the top. We had a church service up there then we came back down for a very expensive brunch. I really loved this Easter. It was special. Well Happy Easter Ophelia. Your 'bunny' friend, Jennifer."

This was one of the few church services of Jennifer's young life. She had gone a few times in Colorado when her mom was dating a church-going man. There she learned that Jesus loves her--and honestly, that lesson alone was enough to rescue her in the years to come.

The church service on the mountain was geographically beautiful, it felt special, but still felt somewhat removed from God Himself. Jennifer felt more God riding up on the chairlift than she felt during the service.

She noticed that Jeff, mom, Joel and herself did a pretty good impression of a "real" family--but she knew that they were actually more like shipwrecked survivors clinging to driftwood. Joel was separated from his twin, his mom and his sister. Jennifer was missing her dad, her brother and her dog. Step-children can often relate to each other's losses.

Mt. Alyeska, Alaska--this looks like where the church service was held.

Jennifer's mom and step-dad may have been trying to do things "better" the second time around. Huge efforts will be made in Alaska to create a happy family. Sadly, forces outside of anyone's control are at work to sabotage these efforts. One is puberty and the other is, well let's just say, it's not God...

April 10, 1983 Sunday

Dear Ophelia,
"Muffin died today. I'll never get over it. I miss her so much. I have been crying for hours. She was buried at the S.P.C.A. She died by some kind of virus. I never thought Muffie would die. She'll never have another birthday. When I said goodbye to her when I came here, I didn't know it would be the last time her soft, brown eyes would look into mine. I don't think she suffered. I just wish I could have been there to say goodbye. Jennifer and Muffin. P.S. 10:30am Muffie."

I watched Jennifer read this entry and she broke into tears all over again. Not for Muffin this time, but for her child self. Two weeks after moving, after abandoning her family, her dog dies. The guilt of not being there was horrible. The fact that "home" in California would never be the same when she returned was horrible. The fact that Dan lost his sister and then, two weeks later, his dog was horrible. Muffin died in Dan's arms at their home.

Jennifer always felt that her moving caused her dog to get sick and die. Remember, Muffin had just gone to the vet and received a clean bill of health. She believed that if she had stayed in California, Muffin would have lived. It was the first big chip at her innocence--death and guilt.

Jennifer's son has a magical relationship with his dog. Her son is eleven. He and his dog have that kind of bond that comes once in a lifetime. Koda is the dog by which all other dogs will be judged for the rest of her son's life. Jennifer is already dreading what she knows will someday come.

Dogs--they never live long enough.

April 11, 1983 Monday

Dear Ophelia,
"I still think about Muffin and cry a lot. I went to school so I would not think about her. I will probably never understand why she died. Track is okay. I ran about two miles today. I miss Muffie. My life seems empty without her. Well, bye Ophelia. Your friend, Jennifer and Muffie."

Jennifer doesn't remember whose idea it was for her to run track. Someone signed her up and now she ran track and cross-country.

April 12, 1983 Tuesday

Dear Ophelia,
"Today I ran about a mile and a half. I really miss Muffin. She was so happy, young and lovable. I planned to do so much with her. I can't write long so, bye Ophelia. Your friend, Jennifer and Muffie."


April 13, 1983 Wednesday

Dear Ophelia,
"We had a mock meet today. I was running a mile but I wasn't ready. I knew I couldn't win so I purposefully fell down. I fell hard too. I am sorry I did. I gotta go, bye Ophelia. Your friend, Jennifer and Muffie."

It's hard to run with a broken heart. Jennifer had no will. She'd also been in Alaska for two weeks and hadn't exercised a lick in California (other than P.E.). She went immediately into running over a mile a day--she must have been exhausted. She gave up.

Heroes keep fighting. They never give up. Jennifer was no hero. Sometimes the main character of a story is just an ordinary, human girl.

Did you have a special childhood pet?

age 5
Loving friend
April 10, 1983, 10:30am

1 comment:

  1. Losing a pet is never easy. No matter what age. Shame this led Jen to suicidal thoughts.

    I still think about my cat, Pepper. They become family members, heck, sometimes you love them more than the humans ;)


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