On Year Ago Today

One year ago today, I was sitting at a large U-shaped table configuration at a Country Club surrounded by CEO’s and Presidents of major international IT companies at one of our quarterly Board Meetings.  As you would suspect, most of the people around the table are older men (although, as I get older, they no longer seem that much older.)  There were only a handful of women. 


It was during this meeting that I received an email on my blackberry that changed my life.  The message was from Julie and said, “The spots on my liver and lungs are cancer.  We are scared…”  There was more to the email, but I didn’t get any further then that before the tears blurred my vision and I realized I had to leave the room immediately (there is NO crying at work, especially not at a board meeting.)  I immediately called Julie (which, if I had read the email further I would not have done because she said, “Please don’t call, as we are still trying to absorb this ourselves.”) and I tried to act calm and cool as I said, “What does this mean, I don’t understand.”


I don’t think any of us really understood much about Cancer at that point.  Just one month prior, another friend of mine had been diagnosed with Stomach Cancer.  He was 35 and the father of 3 kids under the age of 4.   (Please note: He is officially CANCER FREE, after one year: a true miracle.)  There I stood crying in the lovely country club bathroom realizing that my best friend of 28 years, who was 34 years old, with 3 kids under the age of five, had been diagnosed with cancer.  I immediately recognized that God was trying to send me a message.  I just wasn’t sure what the message was, but I was smart enough to understand there was a neon sign flashing in front of me.


Needless to say, I looked ridiculous with my red puffy eyes and blotchy face when I returned to the meeting.  When asked, I blamed it on an allergy attack.  (See there is something good about living in a high allergy area.)


For one year Julie has been living with cancer and fighting for the return of her body.  As I sat in the hospital last night watching the chemo drugs go into her body I thought about how amazing and strong she is and how honored I am to be here.  It is hard to believe it was a month ago that we went to Switzerland to pick up that precious chemo-therapy.  What a trip of a lifetime.  It was a fantastic time, even though I would have rather never needed to go in the first place.


As for today (Saturday, September 29), it is one year later, and we are still here…fighting.  We have all learned to share our feelings and leave nothing unsaid.  Although this isn’t a Journey I would have ever chosen for Julie, it has shown everyone what a truly amazing person she is (which I already knew), and how lucky we all are to be on this road together.  It has also showed up the power of friends and family.


Everyday I fight to understand what I am suppose to be learning from this Journey, and I can’t tell you I fully know His entire message.  But I have seen many amazing things and learned so much that I would never had realized without going down this road.  I have found my faith again.  For now, all I know is that I will continue down this road, wherever it leads me and I feel blessed to have spent the past 28 years in the presences of the strongest, most amazing person I know. 

Aug Vaca 028

In case you were wondering, we were dorks.   We saved our allowance and bought matching t-shirts in 5th or 6th grade that said, “ Julies Best Friend” or “Jenny’s Best Friend” and then on the back we had our name.  (You could tell we were young because I rarely went by the name Jenny!)  We would coordinate and wear them to school on the same day. There was a sort of comfort in having someone you could call as your best friend when you were that age. 

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20 Responses to On Year Ago Today

  1. wendy says:

    You are so cool! We should all be lucky enough to have a friend like you! I will pray for Julie.

    Best Wishes

    Wendy (my best friend had cancer at age 15……she is 36 today. )

  2. Care says:

    Your post made me cry, Jen. I too remember exactly what I was doing on Friday, September 29th when I received the phone call from Brendan. Julie is so amazing. And you yourself are amazing too. How blessed you two are to have been able to carry on a friendship for so many years!

    Love ya,

  3. Care says:

    And very cool to see the t-shirt!! You were telling me about those Thursday night… 🙂

  4. G&C says:

    Hi Jen, what a nice post. This is all about true friendship…. Julie must be very happy having you closer …we are sure that make her even stronger…. it’s in the hard moments were friends are suppose to be… don’t let her alone….


  5. Irma says:

    It’s a comfort to have a best friend at any age…you were lucky enough to find yours in grade school!

  6. Lynn says:

    You & Julie are really blessed to have had such a great friendship for all these years. I’m sure your being here during this time of need has really helped her a lot. Keep us all posted on her progress as Rufus is kicked out. 🙂

  7. nanwil says:

    It was great seeing you this week. Julie is so blessed to have you as her best friend.
    You always know when she needs you the most and you pack up your stuff and you are here.
    May God continue to hold you close to Him as He walks along side of you as you love and
    support Julie and family. “Friends love at all times.” Proverbs 17:17 “Friends sticks closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24
    Take care of yourself.

  8. Aunt Debbie says:

    Jennifer, I remember in July of 1986 my parents were coming up to Minnesota to visit and they thought they would surprise me by bringing Julie. Well, about 2 days before they got there, I got a letter for Julie at my house, and I am pretty sure it was from you. They were surprised that I didn’t look that surprised when I saw Julie. I also need to mention that they come with another family of 5 so there were 9 of us in the a two bedroom and 1 bath house for a week. Julie & I slept on the porch.

  9. Angelica says:

    You know, Jen, I was actually just thinking about that day at the board meeting, and I was trying to recall the date. September 29th, that’s it! (I was about to go back in my outlook calendar and research the date, but I looked at Kerberism first.) One year later, and God is still working miracles and showing us that He is in control of everything. Continue to believe and look to Him during this time. God has also used you mightily during this time in Julie’s life. You, my dear, are the epitome, of a true best friend!

  10. Brad says:

    Those shirts are both awesome and hilarious at the same time!!!

  11. Abby says:

    What a blessing you are Jenn! I do not know Julie well but from what everyone has said, she is truly an amazing spirit – full of grace, love and fight! You both are blessed to have each other – We are thinking of you all out here in CO and wish there was more we could do to help. By the way, those shirts are really groovy…

  12. Heather (Beaupre) Hummer says:

    Jenn, Just to let you know…You guys were not dorks!!! At one point in time I was a grade ahead of you guys and being a year older than you guys we thought you guys were the coolest!! Keep up the great job you are doing!!

  13. Geneen says:

    *hugs* Kerber. I love the shirts. I am pretty sure Newberry and I contemplated doing something similar, but we couldn’t afford it.

    Call me if you need to talk!

  14. angie says:

    Should we get Brad and Bren some shirts like that? I think that would be cool. Jen I love the pics of the kids over the few days you were there. That Kendall just jumps right into everything. She doesn’t miss a beat. I think Irma summed it up, up above. And I am cracking up that someone actually thought that you were the coolest in those shirts! Wow…high school, huh?!

  15. jkerber says:

    High School! Do you think we were wearing those shirts in High School???? I don’t think so. Man we really would have been dorks. It was hard enough trying to be cool in high school. I think they would be great t-shirts for Brad & Brendan. 🙂

    Wait until I upload the Video of Kendall at Chuck E. Cheese. She had some older man (2 year old) who was in love with her and kept trying to kiss her. Very Cute!

  16. Brad says:

    I know I speak for Brendan as well when I say this…

    Guys do not wear matching shirts or coordinate outfits… Much like guys do not sleep in the same bed at a hotel (or anywhere else for that matter) like women do… Thus, the matching shirts would not work for us…

    The only time Brendan and I have ever worn matching outfits is refereeing — and that is not even an outfit, it is a “uniform”, thus it is ok. Further, sports nullify any room spinning that might otherwise occur (“room spinning” = “gayness” … see Talladega Nights if you don’t get the reference) — this is why football players can slap each other on the butt during a game, but never, ever, ever under any other circumstances.

    Men and women are different — Time did a piece on it a while back, y’all should look it up 🙂

  17. angie says:

    what about sitting next to one another at a movie Brad; acceptable now or “spinning?”

  18. Brad says:

    Why would that be acceptable? No — that is horrendous. If there are two guys sitting next to each other in the movies it is because they are a couple. Hetero guys are not a couple — thus, the “buffer chair” is a necessity.

    When will you women learn these things?!? 🙂

  19. jkerber says:

    Brad, Perhaps you should publish a book about these things. 🙂

  20. jackson4 says:

    I know the rules, just like getting a rise out of you. Sure tickles me.

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