How are YOU doing?

As many of you know, I deal with things through humor.  Lately one of my running jokes is that I have been running for friend of the year and I am hoping I have it locked up.  You see, I have never taken compliments well and I get very uncomfortable when people try to tell me nice things.  (Julie worked on this with me for years and now I can muster a smile and a thank you.)  Lately I have heard from a lot of people about what an amazing friend I have been to Julie and how amazing people find it that I went back to Texas to try to help.  (This is where I would insert the Friend of the Year Joke).   But the thing is, I don’t see this as that amazing of a thing. In fact, I believe most people in my situation would have done the same.  Julie was essentially my sister.  She has been a steady influence in my life for 28 years (since I was 7), and I think that constitutes “sister” status.  So then, ask yourself, would you not go home to help out your sister if you could?  I think everyone would say yes.  The fact is, I am just lucky as I was in a position to pack up and go home.


Julie and I talked about it.  In fact, we both believed it was all part of God’s plan. He made us friends, he led me to this job, he led Julie down her path at a time when I was doing well in my career.  He made me good with kids.  He provided me a flexible life in D.C.  All of these things collided to form a situation where I could pack it up and go home and help for a few months at a time.  

The fact is, there was no scenario I could come up with where I could just hang out in Washington, D.C. when I knew I could be in Houston helping out Julie and Brendan.  Part of helping was just sitting there with Julie, just hanging out with Brendan and the Kids, doing some laundry, unloading a dishwasher, watching the kids at soccer practice, just being in close proximity.    There was no scenario where I could envision being in D.C. when Julie died.  It just didn’t feel right.  I also know that Julie didn’t “need” me.  She and Brendan had so many people around to help.  But I needed her.  It was the only way I was going to be okay with God making her an Angel way before her time.


The biggest question I get now is, “How are you doing?”  Well the truth is, I am doing well.  I think of her everyday.  I talk to her every day.  I feel truly blessed to have been able to do everything I wanted to do before Julie passed.  I was able to say everything I wanted to say, and I was able to do everything I wanted to do.  I was able to spend quality time with her.  Julie and I often talked about God’s plan.  I tried to tell her that I thought it was part of God’s plan for me to meet a rich wealthy single doctor that I could marry.  However, she always laughed hard at that idea because all of her doctors were married and nearly 70 years old.  We also talked about how it was God’s plan for me to help with the kids because I can’t cook, and I can’t clean, but I am good with kids.  Julie used to always laugh because if we were in a room with 200 people and there was one baby in the room, she could find me with the baby.  


So, I am doing well. I am still sad, but I think God (and Julie) is taking care of me and things are going according to His plan.  I have always said that my plan and his don’t seem to really correspond, but who am I to question.  I trust in His judgment and I know He will not give me more than I can handle.  He will not lead me down a path I cannot master.  I also sleep with a smile on my face because I know I will see Jules on the other side.  I hope everyone else can feel the peace I feel.  (Doesn’t mean I don’t ache to talk to her or miss her dearly, I am just coming to terms with the new reality.)

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12 Responses to How are YOU doing?

  1. jackson4 says:

    Yay God. I hear ya Jen. I am OK because I know Julie is OK. I miss her though. And it’s still weird to try and think that Julie is not on this earth.

  2. April & Matt says:

    Jen, thanks for the post — thanks for letting us know. I love the photos you’ve posted of Julie. The engagement photo is a classic. I also love the very-excited-about-photos-Julie sitting next to a less-than-thrilled-about-photos-Jen.

  3. Irma says:

    I keep telling myself that Julie is in heaven where she is healthy and can now walk, run, dance, two-step, jitterbug and fly around at will. She’s perfect…now if I could just stop missing her so terribly all would be well!

  4. Lynn Barnett says:

    You & Julie had a truelly special friendship that most people dream of or wish for. If only everyone had such a great friend. I can’t say that I have had any friends for that long that aren’t related to me…and they are stuck with me. I always admired your friendship with Julie because it seemed at times that the two of you knew each other so well.

    I think you are right that God had a hand in all this. You were able to go and be there for Julie and her family during a time in their life that they needed you and you needed them. If I had a sister, I would like to think I would do that, but I don’t have a sister. *shrug*

    It is nice to see that you will still be blogging for the rest of us to read. Just as long as you don’t mind us lurking around.

  5. Geneen says:

    You are amazing. Don’t even try to tell us otherwise. I think we all know different.

    That was a great post. Can’t wait to see you in a few weeks.

  6. Heather (Beaupre) Hummer says:

    I think you just won “Friend of the Year” hands down!!

  7. Debbie says:

    Perhaps I am over-stepping my boundary, and please forgive me if I am, but, as a fellow Stage IV melanoma patient, I am very curious as to what happened those last few days with Julie. I followed Brendan’s blog religiously and I knew that she had just returned home from the hospital in mid- November. However, I did not gleen that she only had a few days left- in fact, I thought that she had just gotten another one of her treatments. I was very interested in her treatment and wonder if there were complications from it that possibly contributed? Thank you so much.

  8. G&C says:

    How are you doing Jen ? We think that the most important thing is to be in peace with yourself. Being proud of what you have been able to do. We can not interfering God plans. Don’t change.

  9. Laurie Mitchell says:

    All right – you are and always will be Julie’s best friend. And, I have known you through her – And all I can say is thank you for keeping me up to speed with Julies progress and then the not so good news as well… You are fun, vibrant and honest! Those are all the traits about Julie I loved!…. So, thank you for being a neighbor friend _ I really appreciate it!

    Yay God!

    XOXO Julie – Geez it’s not the same around here without you…


  10. nanwil says:

    Greetings Jen,
    I love to hear your stories about you and Julie. I know she loved and cared for you.
    I miss her too. I cry often – as people come up and ask me how Julie is doing. Now I can say she is with Jesus and doing great. I continue to uplift you in prayer as God directs you in His path. Please don’t forget to stop by sometime for some Earl Grey tea.

  11. Tammie (Willingham) Drew says:

    Kinda funny that I posted on your other blog and then read this one about you being an amazing friend.You really are,but I agree with everything you say.God knew exactly what he was doing the whole time.He made you stronger and you learned alot from teh time you spent with Julie and her family.Jen, you gave of yourself and I know for a fact that you will be rewarded in Heaven.I know you didn’t share your love with her for any fame or rewards, but God will show you His Love because you gave of yourself unselfishly.God did have His hand in it because most of us can’t just up and go and you said you could.He allowed you to be with your best friend and minister to her,but in fact she also ministered to you during that time.God is good and in time you will see her again and you can show her all your teeth! HAHA

  12. Michelle says:

    No but seriously, how are YOU doooing?? Please note there is an emphasis on the “doing.”

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