Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Jenny and Kristin


This is the post I've been wanting to write for months, since all this started, but I couldn't. I'm not even sure I can now, but I'm going to try. Yes, that's me on the far left and the little girl by my side is my best friend Jenny. We are about five years old, about a year after we met in kindergarten at Dunwood School in our home town of Fox Point, Wisconsin. This is my favorite photo of Jenny and me. I remember our nightgowns and our teddy bears in perfect detail. There would be literally hundreds of "Jenny and Kristin" photos taken over the next thirty years. Almost every memory of my childhood includes Jenny. We grew up side by side, hand in hand. Yesterday, July 13th, was the third anniversary of Jenny's death.

My very best friend in the whole wide world died at the age of 36 of metastasized melanoma. She died of an aggressive cancer, leaving two little ones, then aged six and nine, a wonderful husband, two sisters, her mom and me. While I held her hand across the phone lines between Arizona and Wisconsin as she endured chemotherapy and countless horrible procedures, I never could never really understand what she was actually feeling. Now I have a glimpse of what she lived through and it makes my heart ache so much that I can barely breathe.

I know that I do not have the same type of cancer Jenny did. I know that breast cancer survival rates are high. I know Jenny's now holding my hand through every day of my treatment. I know she is up in heaven negotiating my parole down here on earth, and she's asking for thirty to forty more years. She's a charmer, she'll get it for me.

The stories of our lives growing up together are incredibly funny, adventurous, creative, heartfelt and sometimes, even mean. Yes, high school was a tad rough, even for us. I've considered writing a book of our memoirs, and that may very well be one of my first endeavors as I look for things to occupy my time once doctor's appointments aren't my main source of entertainment anymore.

So Jenny, here's to us, the little girls in that sweet photo. Thank you for being my guardian angel and my forever best friend.


  1. virginia (Nick's Mom)July 15, 2010 at 6:25 AM

    Thank you, Kristin, for your courage and your great heart -- which you needed to write this loving tribute to your dear Jenny -- and which you show every day. Sending love to you and to Jenny, who hears you and knows your challenges large and small. XOXOXO

  2. Nicely written Kristin! I'm sure I could add a few stories to the memoir. I am so glad to have you in my life as I feel like Jenny's still here then. Some of those childhood stories are my favorites and I love your entire family for all the wonderful times we had together. You will get through this all soon and then you can be mad at Jenny again for leaving us all so early, but then you can hug your children tightly and be greatful that your horrible adventure is over. We love you tons. You are my other "litlle sister". Hugs and kisses!!

  3. Oh man, the tears are flowing, damn cancer. I am thinking of you all the time, following your blog and praying for your parole too:) Beautiful post.XXXX Jen Sayre

  4. Wonderful post Kristin. Missing you and thinking of you all day everyday. Xoxoxooo Jeannine.

  5. What a powerful post. Tough to know what to say. Thanks, Joe

  6. I absolutely loved this and wondered when it might come up...I now have a little insight into what you went through with your BFF - thank you for sharing this and reminding us all of our special BFF's! xoxo - Nan

  7. Ah Kristin....I read your posts all of the time and they normally bring a tear to my eye or a smile to my face. This one has tears streaming down my face....and I'm at work, so this is a little difficult today! You know that Jenny is watching over you, sending you strength and courage and a couple of those infectious giggles she always shared with everyone. My heart and prayers are with you as you battle...and you, Miss Kristin, will win this battle, because it's what you do. It's what you've always done, and why should this be any different?
    I remember you and Jenny as young girls, teenagers and beautiful women. As the Reinhart family embraced me as another daughter, so I embraced Dianne, Jenny and you as more little sisters.
    So, you be strong Kristin ..... your guardian angel is helping...
    Love you lots,
    Gena Ridanpaa
    (Debbie Schleicher's friend)

  8. Hello my beautiful friend,

    Friday afternoon, as we loaded our bags and ice chest full of stuff for our weekend trip to the cabin, I quickly pulled up kickitkiki for a quick read before hitting the road. I haven't stopped thinking about you and your post about you and Jenny. I know, with all my heart, this posting has touched the hearts of all of Jenny's family as well as every single person, near & far, who follows your journey. I know with all my heart that Jenny is watching over you. love & hugs to you.