Jeanni, R.I.P.

When I met the woman on the right, I also met the woman on the left. Only the woman on the left was 12 years old, and now… well, I speculate she’s got to be close to 40, if not so. That’s how long I’ve known Jeanni and Amy. For years, you didn’t see one without seeing the other. Then Jeanni married, had other kids, and Amy grew up and moved on with her own life.

Jeanni and Amy

This is my brief story about Jeanni. She wasn’t like almost anyone else I knew. She was loud, boisterous, and very ballsy. She was a bowler, and a very good one as well. She came across sometimes as direct and in your face, but it was a mask for the good person she really was. I could tell that in her daughter, who was the most adult kid I’ve ever met, and whom I finally got to tell that to about two weeks ago.

Jeanni, as it turns out, was very well known around town. A few years ago, she developed diabetes. In the past year, we all learned she had cancer. On Sunday, there was a fundraiser for her and her family to try to help with both bills and possible further cancer treatments. Yes, she smoked for most of her life, but she did quit about 6 or 7 years ago; sometimes, it’s just too late at a certain point. She ended up getting cervical cancer.

However, at this fundraiser, which was held at a local bowling alley, I don’t believe I’m exaggerating if I said that almost 400 people, if not more, came out. We all paid $20 to come in and enjoy the festivities, and then there were many other things we could do in contributing more money to the cause. They had raffles for gifts that were donated from a variety of sources, including a 32″ flat screen HD television; I mean, how many people are liked enough to have someone donate a gift like that? For that matter, how many of us believe nearly 400 or 500 people would come out for us if something like this were held for us?

I was amazed, not necessarily at the number of people but at some of the people who showed up. Turns out she knew a lot more people that I knew, and none of us knew that we all knew her. Turns out she bowled with a lot of both men and women all over the city, helped run adult and children’s league, and bowled in many tournaments. Turns out she volunteered a lot of her time to others; who knew? And on Sunday, all those people came together, along with 3 bands, lots of food, free drinks of sorts (no free diet soda, which is what I drink; what’s up with that?), and lots of bowling and laughter.

Her kids were there; she wasn’t. She had taken a turn for the worse. On Monday, she lost her battle. I thought about it because I believed if she had been well enough to attend that she would have been emotionally overwhelmed by the outpouring of love to her and her legacy. I think most of us would be astonished to have that kind of showing for anything we did.

So, once again, I have to hope that another friend rest in peace. Man, I hate getting older.

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10 thoughts on “Jeanni, R.I.P.”

  1. Oh, Mitch, I am so sorry to hear of your loss and of what seems to be the passing of a great woman!

    You know…. we all have the right to choose the way we want to go and she chose her way. Can’t begrudge her for that. That she chose to quit smoking and still developed lung cancer ~ who knows if the two are related? Some say they are, but even so.. did she perhaps chose quality of life over quantity of life?

    Who can say?

    I sometimes feel that we beat ourselves up over the loss of a loved one, more than they wish to stay. Who are we to wish them back? Do we know what they really wanted – I mean, really… deep inside?

    One thing is for sure: your friend is without pain or misery. She does not have to stress, drive the freeway, shovel snow or pay taxes.

    I have always believed that when we die, we don’t go anywhere – we stay right here. It’s just our cranky old bodies that give up on us, but without those flesh and blood bodies, our loved ones feel deprived. Can we, who are left behind, get over the fact that our departed loved ones are now above all the ‘human’ frailties and finally able to enjoy themselves without limitation, while still being around us?

    We’re the ones who hurt because we’re the one’s with human frailites and memories. We are beyond understanding, while they understand all. Our loved ones, I am convinced, still enjoy life to the fullest, without the hindrance of aging bodies, but in return, they cannot be seen by those who miss them.

    My brother, who as you know died in my arms 7 years ago, has never left me. His body is gone and I can’t see him, but I feel his presence, just as sure as if he were here! I have never shed a tear for my brother, because I know how hard life was for him and in his final years, how his body caused him so much pain (he had hip displaisure among other things). I hear his laughter, am aware of his teasing and at times, can ‘feel’ him brush past my arm.

    Our loved ones don’t go away – we just can’t see them!

    Keep talking to your friend, Mitch … go bowling ~ she’d probably like that!


    1. Well, I won’t necessarily go bowling, but I will stop in from time to time to watch others bowl. She was a very good person. The poor family has just gone through the passing of another member about 3 weeks ago, and then this. For me, tomorrow is the 8th anniversary of my dad’s passing, which is probably why I’m thinking about it more.

      I don’t know what happens, but not being religious, I just have to deal with the reality that, unless there’s a real miracle of science, none of us are going to outlive the eventuality, though I keep hoping that if I read and learn enough I’ll evolve like that guy did in the one episode of Outer Limits from way back in the day. And if not, at least I’ll still be smarter than the average bear.

    1. Thanks Carolee. Her family should be comforted by seeing all the love that poured out for her on Sunday.

  2. @Mitch, very sorry to hear the loss of a friend. Yeah man, the very thought of getting older and dying one day is scary – especially if it’s not a natural peaceful death. I think that fear starts picking in late 30s or early 40s.

    May her soul rest in peace!
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  3. Good morning, Mitch.

    I’m very sorry for the loss of your friend. It sounds like she was well loved and that’s a great testament to a life well-lived.


    1. Thanks John. It’s too bad she didn’t take better care of herself, because she was still very young in my opinion.

  4. Most of us spend so much time worrying about unimportant things and chasing after stuff that may not be attainable. And in the end, it always comes down to the same thing: who do you have in your life, how do you treat them, and how do they treat you? Sounds as though Jeanni had a lot of it figured out. She had people who cared about her, great friends including you. Thanks for the tribute, and thank you both for the reminders.

    1. Thanks Charles. I learned last night at the wake that her entire family got to read this post and were genuinely touched by it. I didn’t expect that, but I’m glad I got it right.

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