Saturday, June 16, 2007

I remember...

...your pretty manicured nails the first time I met you. You were not pretentious, and so I curled my uncared-for nails into my palms and simply basked in the warmth of your smile.

...your West Virginian accent: fole: as in aluminum fole. Tolet: as in toilet. Tom and skole: as in, it's time to go to school. I loved to tease you, and stood outside your bedroom one night when you and Todd and Kevin and I were housesitting; I shouted through the door, "It's non o'clock, tom to go to bed!" I couldn't stop laughing as you swooped out of the bedroom and pummeled me with your pillow. You couldn't stop laughing, either.

...the way you cared for Todd. Sometimes he would make me so mad - he just doesn't do anything around the house!, but you smiled softly and served your husband of one year. I am still learning from your example.

...your humble nature. I positively pranced around the kitchen the night you and our other friends came over for a feast of Cornish game hens, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans, salad, and biscuits. I was in my element, and very aware that you were not. Yet you never stopped smiling that evening. And sweetly saved the day when the oven broke before I could bake the biscuits - you made the best doughnuts we had ever tasted by frying the dough and rolling it in sugar. Dessert, courtesy of the sweetest woman present. Humble pie, eaten only by yours truly.

...your generosity. It's only in recent years that I've discovered you as our secret benefactor! Kevin and I would find an envelope with money once in awhile in his box at school - and then we would use it on a movie and dinner with you and Todd. I'm so glad we spent it that way!

...your listening ear. We spent many hours lying on couches in the campus center for the University of Texas, me in the throes of morning-sickness, you holding my half-eaten container of hot-n-sour soup from General Joe's. We talked of our hopes and dreams for the future, and how we would always be friends, having our babies together; living next door to each other in our silly dreams.

...your relief, when you called me on June 13, 2000 to cry and be comforted through the exhaustion of having an eight-week-old. I reassured you that letting Madi sleep with you would not harm her at that early age, and to pay no mind to the advice of those church ladies. I told you I was so proud of you for making it through the first weeks of nursing - it had been a struggle. We said I love you's, and hung up.

...Todd's voice when he called in the early morning hours of Friday, June 16, 2000; "I'm losing Jen!"

...waiting anxiously by the phone, praying for you to come out of the coma. Praying for Todd to be strong, for Madi to be blissfully unaware that her mama was not present.

...hitting Kevin's chest when he told me you were gone. Hitting him over and over, then sinking into his arms, the strength gone from my legs.

...packing up Corban, who was thirteen months old, and driving for two days straight to get to the funeral in San Marcos, Texas by Monday. The numbness, the surreality of it all making me sleepy, and taking away my appetite.

...marveling at how I had never heard an a capella church sing "It Is Well" so terribly; we were all weeping.

...seeing the nurse who cared for you in your final hours weeping at your funeral. She could hold herself together no better than the rest of us.

...holding eight-week-old Madi in my arms, your sweet mama by my side, and the features of the two of them taking my breath away for how they reminded me of you.

...Todd telling us some of your final words: "I know Madi will be cared for, but who will take care of Todd?" Your words jolted me; I felt I could never say the same thing if I were in your place. But over the years, those sweet words have gently prodded me, and my understanding has grown. I now know what you meant, and feel the same.

...the strength Todd showed immediately after your death, and the awful, debilitating sorrow that took over, weeks later.

...praying him through another breath, another minute.

...receiving pictures of a growing Madi over e-mail, marveling at her eyes, her red nose, her lips... all so very Jen.

...receiving pictures of Todd, smiling once again.

...kneeling by your grave and whispering, "I'm having another baby, Jen," and realizing that you had probably already met our sweet Micah Nathanael. Life going out as life comes in.

...yesterday, when the pain of losing you still cut fresh, a knife in my heart when I realized it has been seven years.

...everything. Every word, every lesson. I am so blessed, and changed, for knowing you.

I'll see you soon.

Remembering Jennifer Lynn Hall, wife to Todd, mama to Madison Nicole.
May 31, 1974 - June 16, 2000

(Would you believe that I haven't any pictures of us together? I have many of Kevin and I taken by Jen, and many of Todd and Jen taken by me, but none together. I will never let that happen again.)

32 fellow travelers shared:

Melissa Stover said...

oh you made me cry tonight. that was so so sweet and sad.

Grafted Branch said...

Sorry for your loss, Elise. Even all these years later, your pain and trust is very evident in your tone. She must have been a very special lady.

;) (And I got your reply; thank you, Friend.)

Anonymous said...

My prayers and thoughts are with you
I lost a dear friend in 1990 I still think of her sometimes

Heather said...

Wow. Thanks for remembering and sharing ...


Beka said...

Don't quite know what to say... that was beautiful, touching, heart-wrenching, and tear-jerking. I'm sorry you lost such a special friend, but glad that she is in the presence of our dear Savior. I'll be praying for her sweet husband and daughter who are left behind.

Sandi said...

What a beautiful tribute to a loved friend! I find it helps to simply type the name of someone we've lost. It helps to tell the story.

Stacy said...


Weeping with you.


EEEEMommy said...


A beautiful tribute! Thank you for sharing her with us!

Queenheroical said...

.... the sweet out of the sorrow ...

Thank you so much for sharing such a tenderness with us -- you have a wonderful gift, and voice.

-- Krina

Amy... said...

Thank you for sharing, Elise.

Lump in my throat as I write this...


tonia said...

my breath is caught in my throat...such a beautiful tribute...wise and meaningful. Thank you Elise.

Anonymous said...

Oh. My. Heart. Hurts.

I need a hug from you.
I need to hug you.

How on earth do we walk this road of grief??????

Jenn @ Knee-Deep in Munchkin Land said...

Wow, Elise, you made me cry. (As always.) She sounds like a wonderful person; a very special woman. How good of you to remember her. Thank you for sharing!

Lyn said...

My heart is right there with you.

What a wonderful person for you to know. I am glad you have memories. I also know those memories are never enough. We always want more time with those we love!

Prayers to you!

Andrea said...

Thank you for sharing your tribute.
For it being so real and raw. It is beautiful.
This hit very close to home for me....
I am thankful you know she is with our Lord. Somehow, that makes the bitter medicine go down a little sweeter than it would, right?

Martha said...

Thanks for sharing. "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His Saints"

When we all get to Heaven -- what a day of rejoicing that will be!

Melissa said...

Those are the saddest moments when beautiful lives are taken. Somehow, while my heart aches and my soul wonders why. I still feel God's grace in it. And for that I am thankful...I cannot imagine the anger in the souls of those for whom there is no balm of grace.

Audrey said...

How very sad. Taken as her life was beginning. It makes my heart hurt.

Hugs to you!!

Christine said...

What a heartbreaking loss...what an amazing friend. And I can see the kind of friend you are, too. She was lucky, as were you, to have the time together that you did.

Beverly said...

I hardly know what to say. What a beautiful remembrance, Elise. I sat for a few moments not able to write after reading this. What wonderful memories you have of her. I am sending you a bear hug over the computer, I hope you can feel it.

Robin said...

What a beautiful tribute. Thank you for sharing your broken heart.

Unknown said...

Oh memories are so good, and I guess they can be so hard, too. Thank you for sharing and for the reminder that life is but a vapor.

Sarah said...

Oh, how incredibly sad! A good reminder that we just never know when our time will come, allthemore reason to live each day as if it is our last, easier said than done though.

JHS said...

I felt like I knew her because of your writing. And because you wrote so beautifully, I felt the loss, too. That was a "tribute" in the truest sense of the word.

BTW, great music. That is one of my all-time favorite pieces of music . . . I play it on my flute frequently.

Anonymous said...


Hey! I sure miss y'all. Kevin sent me this link, and I'm so glad to have this venue to keep up with all that is going on with y'all.

She was amazing, the most incredible person I've ever known. I still remember vividly when you and Kevin came and got us out of class to tell us you were expecting. I miss those days, so much.

I just wanted to say thanks for this. It means more than I could ever say to know that others remember her, that she had such an impact on life. I remember, and Oh Lord how I miss her so.

Love to you and yours,


Maxine said...

Elise, I'm so sorry for your loss. I know exactly how you feel. I lost one in 1996. This was so sweet of you to write this lovely tribute. It's so important that we don't allow the memories of these dear ones to die. I can see you touched the heart of her husband. Bless you. Sorry I'm late reading this--have not been to other blogs much lately.

Papa said...

Of all things that touch us, death seems to touch us the most deeply. We know its power and darkness, somehow owning our part in the sin connection. And when we lose someone who means so much, we see the beauty of what our Lord intended. Then we look again, and we see that it is the beauty of our Lord Himself that we are seeing. And then again we are reminded that His Father had to let Him go as we have had to let our loved ones go. And then we know and remember - HE MAKES IT ALL RIGHT - for the One who was taken in death is "the Way, the Truth, and the LIFE"!

Sure do love you, my t.d.

Your Papa

Michelle said...

That is an amazing, beautiful tribute to the memory of a good friend. (((HUGS)))

Anonymous said...

Todd, I'm so sorry for YOUR loss, too. So very sorry.

Elise, thank you for sharing your friend with us.

I understand. :(

Lisa @ The Preacher's Wife said...

This is one of the most beautiful things I have ever read!

I have something for you on my blog..come check it out when you get a chance..:)


Inspiration Station said...

This post made an impact on me. I'm still thinking about it after these few weeks since you wrote it. I mentioned it in my blog today. Thank you for sharing her life with us. It sure makes me appreciate mine more.
:) Mindy

Anonymous said...


It has been a while since I have checked your blog and just came across this. Boy did you have me crying. Jen crosses my mind more often then you would think. She certainly touched many lives.


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