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.