A Year Without My Friend
One of my most cherished friends transitioned to heaven 1 year ago. She didn’t have any enemies, bitter emotions, unresolved conflict or grievances. Nor, did she leave behind a life partner or children – although she certainly would have been a loving wife and an incredible, nurturing mother.
She and I became housemates and instant friends in college. She was always laughing at my humour attempts and complimenting me when I participated in public speaking or singing in chapel. She was delighted to be a bridesmaid at my wedding and she flew in for the occasion from another province, where she took a break from her Master’s program. 2 years later, she was so excited for me when I told her I was expecting a baby. I was looking forward to experiencing these special life events with her as well, but they were not to be.
She was an advocate for victims of injustice, mistreatment and malpractice. Her career choice was in the fields of student judicial affairs, theology and psychology. The university faculty and students under her care adored her. She gently spoke with wisdom and compassion and only raised her voice in protest, when it was time to make her compelling words loud and clear.
She was born on April 4, 1971 and her voice was silenced on February 5, 2020. She didn’t know there was a pandemic coming and she would have responsibly followed social distancing protocols, despite how she valued the warm company of friends. Her west coast community celebrated her well, at her funeral. Yet, she took her last breath, alone.
She deserved so much better. She deserved a long life – with true love, good health, freedom, comfort, esteem, prosperity and personal fulfillment. Yet, her mind suffered from depression and her body deteriorated from cancer. In our final conversation, she told me she was at peace, despite a biopsy scheduled for the following day.
She was among the most loyal, kindest friends I’ve ever known. When I lost my employment a few weeks before the holidays, she generously offered to send me funds so I could buy Christmas presents for my children. When my heart was broken, she wanted me to open up and share my pain. When I felt despair, she offered to fly me across the country to visit with her (I wish I’d accepted).
She wrote in my graduation yearbook, “Carolyn, I love our friendship.” I can hear her distinctive, soft voice saying that to me now as I share these words, about what a special friendship I had with my Jenny doll (as I often called her). The grief of losing her still remains, but memories of her have not left me. Heaven is where she is now and that indescribable, divine hope has brought great comfort. A soul like hers couldn’t possibly be gone forever. I honour you, my beautiful friend Jennifer Lynn Ingraham. You were an original on this earth and there will never be anyone else like you. If I’ve introduced your soul to anyone in these paragraphs, it has been my pleasure. The world can only be a better place as a result.