About a year and a half after I had launched a business and officially became an “entrepreneur”, I met JB. Well, that’s what I call her, however, she does have a real name, but I’m not going to use it yet. JB was one of my customers and we became friends, or should I say pen pals? Anyway, she made a customer inquiry one day and the rest is history. Her emails were witty, clever and funny and after a few exchanges about products on my website she had piqued my interest. Who was this quick-witted, sarcastic woman on the other end of this email dialogue and what was her story? I wanted to find out more, so I asked a few questions and she obliged, giving me a window into her life and ultimately into her beautiful soul.
And there it was, this soulful connection that transcended formality or for that matter, secrets.
From that point forward she had my personal email and I had hers because she was always burning the midnight oil and so was I. What resulted within the next year was a random but recurring email conversation. It felt good to share some gritty, honest vulnerability with one of my kind, a woman, a mom, a new friend, who was as genuine and vulnerable in return. When she wrote, I felt both empathy and pain laced in the words on the screen. She was unknowingly a lifeline and a voice of reason for me across many miles. However, the most astonishing part of this story is her story.
Late one evening, once everyone in my house was tucked in bed, I began to follow up on overdue work when JB popped up on my computer screen. I knew it was her because the subject line always read “Raindrops on Kittens”. Because, you know, she was a master at clever prose and always trying to make me smile. Tonight she was replying to my latest email from a few days prior…
I’m not sure I’d inspire you if we lived closer. I’ve been in the same pajama pants for three days now and I’m sleeping under a huge pile of clean clothes that I’m too tired to fold. So far, TIME hasn’t called me for their Woman of the Year cover but I expect it’ll be any day now.
Things are hard right now..in so many ways, but if there were no other people on earth, the six others in this house who love me provide more than enough fuel for me to keep climbing forward.
Scars. Yeah, I’m getting to be a regular Frankenstein’s lady monster. If I’m going to be scarred like this anyway I should at least be getting a boob lift and tummy tuck out of the deal. Hey! One day I’ll work for you and you can get an insurance plan that covers those. They shouldn’t be considered cosmetic surgeries. They should be under the category of repairing the damage. Work on that!
She was navigating life post the aftermath of a devastating violent rape and she often shared sad, tough moments through email, some were harder than others to read:
My dad passed away about an hour ago. I don’t know what else to say about that..
Oh, Jennifer. I’m so incredibly sorry. Please know my thoughts and prayers are with you. ❤ XO
First picture of the 7 of us.
It took a funeral.
One is looking off in the distance, another is making a face even though he’s been told to STOP IT a hundred times, and by the time we got a semi-decent shot, the baby had fallen asleep. Perfect.
I was just thinking about you!!!
How are you doing? My heart hurts for you and I just kept saying little prayers that God would wrap His arms around you and hold you tight.
LOVE this picture. Can’t even!!! You have a beautiful family and it appears they have your personality 😉
Will write more when I can focus. It’s like a zoo at this office today.
XO and an extra XO because you need it.
And then a few weeks later….
Just checking in. Are you okay?
Yes 😉 thanks for checking in. Tired, have one eye open today, worked until 2 last night. Worked all day Saturday as well and had to be at the office early this morning. Been a long week and weekend but the upside is I’m still here, I have everyone around me that I love and I just have to keep pressing on! Your video was gorgeous by the way. What a sweet tribute to your friend. I’m so sorry for your loss. So much pain, so many people who just can’t seem to find their way.
I hope you’re feeling better. I need an update soon 😉
Just need to touch base with you every so often to make sure you haven’t worked yourself into the ground or been checked into the hospital for a psychotic episode from the breakneck pace you’ve been going.
I’d need to know where to go, where to get my hands on a janitor’s uniform, learn how to pick locks..springing someone from a psych ward is no mean feat.
But once we hit that beach in Acapulco and had Cabana boys bringing us fruity drinks on the beach….what was I talking about?
Right. Don’t burn yourself out. Anything I can do from here..that sounds lame but..name it. You might want to read this twice to get the full gist. I’m not sure with only one eye open that you’ll get all the subtle nuances.
The cheeky and random back and forth banter about life and work and tough decisions and kids and family and death and surgery and hurt and happiness and courage and love and just f***ing getting through the days…well, it was healing. The deep down in the darkness of your soul kind of healing.
I was in the midst of losing a battle, while she was waging a horrific war and we found each other at the perfect moment in life. It wasn’t a coincidence. It was the exact time for our souls to collide, while both armed with enormous emotional artillery that’s often acquired while doing what many women do best; muscling through life with a smile pasted on her face (because that’s what we were taught to do) and telling herself, I refuse to show or share the pain or disappointment or whatever sh** she’s going through.
Oh, I’m not advocating emotionally highjacking your soul to make it through the days by any stretch of the imagination, but that’s where we both were at the time. That mutual state of mind (and heart) brought us virtually together all those late nights. Life was turned upside down like Raindrops on Kittens or Whiskers on Roses, but that was okay because we were sorting it out, soul to soul, sister to sister, one email at a time.