Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Missing my friend!

Okay, I have been trying to post for a week now and never seem to be able to finish. My funny bone is broken and I think it will take a while to heal and even then it will never be the same. So I struggle to write this blog today. One, because it is hard to see this in print. Two, because I can't see what I am typing when my eyes won't stop leaking!!!
This past week my precious friend, Jessica Kaylor, went to be with the Lord. http://jessicakaylor.blogspot.com/ . Jessica bravely fought cancer for the past three years. She would get through one battle only to find out that she had another battle to fight. She seemed to always get back on the horse. She was a strong warrior. Doing what it took to keep on living life to the fullest. I honestly didn't think she would die so soon. I truly thought she would have many more years. I have to say that I have been blindsided and the sorrow that I feel is overwhelming. When I found out that the cancer had spread so dramatically and the cancer treatments had broken her body down so much that there was nothing else the doctors could do to prolong her life, I began praying constantly that God would heal her in a miraculous way and that if his will wasn't to heal her here on earth that he would take her quickly and not let her suffer. Even though my heart is aching over the loss of my friend who is a wife of my friend and a fabulous mother to my sweet Katy, Jadyn and Bryn. I am so thankful that he took her to be with him as gently as he could.

I remember the first day I met Jessica. She was visiting our church with her mom, Judy and her aunt, Sandy McNutt. Her daughter Katelyn was 2 1/2 or 3 at that time. Clay and I were teaching a preschool Sunday school class. We had the same group of kids since they were 6 months old. We loved them. Katy came in the class surrounded by Jess, Judy and McNutt. I think that fireworks went off when Sandy and I saw each other. She introduced me to Jess and Katelyn and told me to take care of them and love them. When Sandy tells me to love someone, I know they are worth the effort and because she had already showered so much love on me I had plenty to shower on her loved ones.

I remember thinking that Jess was so quiet and not as exuberant as her aunt Sandy but Katelyn was a whole other story. It only took about 5 minutes for me to see that I wasn't dealing with an ordinary child. She was confident and clever and so very adorable with a head full of reddish brown curls. Katy fit into our little crowd of already much loved and adored kiddos without missing a beat. She was easy to love. I know now that when someone loves your kids you love them just because they love your kids. Jess trusted me with Katelyn for two years and I am so lucky to have had that opportunity.

For the past few days I have a movie of Jessica moments playing in my head. I am amazed at how many things I remember and how many times something she said or something she did changed my life. I always loved being with her because she was so peaceful. She calmed me. I felt peaceful around her. I have tried for years to model her patient tone of voice and calm demeanor. Try as I may, it just isn't me. When I would talk to her about something that was troubling me she would listen and then very thoughtfully express her opinion. Even if it was different than mine, she never made me feel stupid or less spiritual. This is important because we Christians have a way of deciding who is spiritual and who isn't based on our own flawed judgement. I never realized until a few years ago that Christians are so hard on each other. We are so worried about the speck in someone else's eye when we have a whole log cabin blocking our view!!! Jessica never picked at my log cabin and I don't ever recall seeing a speck in her eye. She wasn't perfect, but she was extraordinary.

When she was diagnosed with cancer, I told her that I didn't know what to say or how to handle this and she said, it was alright she didn't know either and we would figure this out since she was my first "cancer friend". She said it so sing songie. We laughed even though we wanted to cry. A year or so later I told her that I had decided that she wasn't going to be my "cancer friend". She was just Jessica to me. If I wanted an update on the cancer stuff I would go to the blog, but with me she just got to be Jessica, my friend. And that she was! I prayed for her constantly and she continued to be a great friend even when she wasn't feeling well. She is one of the reasons that I do a lot of the stuff that I do right now. She encouraged me to transfer my kids to Wood. She encouraged me to be on the PTA board. She inspired me to do the Weekend Backpack program and she is the reason I will continue it for as long as there is a need. She inspired me to love some people that I had a hard time loving. She built me up and encouraged me on a regular basis. She let me be me and loved me for who I am. She was goodness and light and I miss her.

Katy girl, I know you and Chandler are reading this and I am going to tell you that you are blessed beyond measure to have your mom in your life. She isn't physically here anymore but she left obvious imprints on so many lives. I can name names if you want me to. Did you see all of the people at her memorial service. I think she would be a little embarrassed but she would have handled it with the grace that she handled everything. I am so proud of you and how you have let people love you through this. I am so proud of your dad and the grace and strength that he has allowed God to show through him. For the rest of our lives we will have fun telling Jadyn and Bryn stories about your mom. Someday, we will be able to share these stories without our funny bone aching so much. I love you guys. Thank you God for Jessica Kaylor!!!!

Tomorrow I will tell you some funny things!!!!


Natalie said...

well said. that was a great post. however, now i am crying again....

Anonymous said...

Ditto! I miss her too! -alyson

G Pierce said...

Well said Tessa. Seriously I'm not even gonna try to be as sweet as her...it'll never happen. She was definitely one of a kind.

Anonymous said...

Broken funny bones and pain stink and the unfair part is that with each situation we face-- none of them come with directions and specifics. Each thing that we face has its on time for each person to walk through. Sometimes I wish God had made that part simplier and we could get a prescription for our broken funny bones that said "you will be sad and cry for 6 days and then be healed and have great insight"--- wouldn't that be the coolest, well maybe not.

We all have learned so much from our own difficult walks and then we learn incredible things from others walk, and wow--- Jessica taught us all well and it continues. How fortunate for us to know her, how fortunate for us to have met her from the first moment she came into our church and Kaitlyn in our SS class, we have all gained so much.

As we have all waited these last couple of weeks for what seemed to be the inevitable with Jessica leaving us for Jesus, I also have often walked around with a big smile on my face as I pictured her arrival in Heaven. Through my own long struggles in a different manner-- God has literally taken me to Heaven a couple of times-- and it is so amazing, I have begged for Him to give me words to share with others here on earth of what I saw and experienced. I still don't have the words, but I can tell you--- that as much as I love everyone on earth, and especially my daughter, at the same time, I could have willingly stayed if He would have allowed. That's why I have spent time smiling, she is feeling soooo good in all aspects, I get goose bumps thinking of it and she so deserves all that she is now receiving!!!

May your funny bone heal in God's timing and then reflect new energy, life, passion, and love for Him and others. Jessica, thanks for teaching us all!!
Tammy Mouser

Pat Douty said...

You, of the younger generation, had an awesome privilege to call Jessica your friend. I got to know her only as a "church friend" - you know, those people you see only at church who you speak to as you hurry down the hall to your appointed spot. Although I wasn't a close personal friend, I too follow the blog and am now dealing with a hole in my heart - I really feel for those precious girls. I had Katelyn in 3rd grade choir, and Jadyn in VBS when she was 2. My husband helped in 3 year old choir and Bryn was in his class, so we do feel a bit of a connection.

Since those girls are only going to grow to miss their mother more and more each day, I had an idea for a project. What if we eventually (not now, it would be too painful for Jake, I'm sure) got some of Jessica's favorite clothes and made simple quilts for each of the girls. This way, especially the YIKES, could reach out and touch a part of their mom as they are tucked into bed each night. This could be a group project with all of her friends pitching in and could be another celebration of her life as stories are shared throughout the process.

Let me know what you think.

Pat Douty

Anonymous said...

Your words are so beautiful and eloquent. Thank you for sharing from your heart. Of course now my eyes are leaking! Jessica spoke many times how you made her laugh - thank you!

janette yetter

Anonymous said...

I can barely stand to read this. Jessica was the best of everybody. We should all be so gracious and pure and clever and genuine. I miss my friend, too.
Love you, Jaynie

Alpha 1 Vann Clan said...

Thanks for making me have a good cry.... :0) Your words are so true. She had that calming, sweet spirit that none of us can exactly replicate. I know that God put you in Katelyn's life way back then so you could be her friend now. Thank you for helping Jake sort pictures. I know that was special to him.

Anonymous said...

Tessa, I couldn't bring myself to read your blog until today. I guess I thought waiting a few days that maybe reading your words would be easier.....not so. I, too have leaking eyes. I have told you before that I believe the Lord brought you into my classroom 29 years ago for "this moment." Thank you for being Jessa's funny bone. We had many laughs in our family telling "Tessa stories." Tessa, Jesus wraps our gifts in so many different packages. Jesus wrapped Jessica's gifts for all of us in calmness,wisdom, honesty, amazing insight and immeasurable love for Him. To me, your gifts are the same with a big splash of humor. I am so thankful, proud, humbled and amazingly in awe that two young people I love so much had and continue to have an impact on our world. Thank you, Jesus for your gifts.

I love you,
Aunt Sandy
AKA "The Nutt" to Sophie!

Anonymous said...


Jess painted peace in our lives ...
You splash color.

Just wanted to tell you I'm thankful for you. The loss of our friend is a fresh reminder not to let our thoughts of care for another go unspoken.

Carpe Diem...

Wendy Smith

P.S. I think Pat's quilt idea is great. Count me in on the project if it moves forward.