Approaching birthdays

From my journal dated July 14, 2002:

Jenna and Jason - joint birthday party July 1999

Tomorrow is Jenna’s birthday. She’ll be 18. She really hasn’t wanted to plan anything. With her and Jason’s birthdays two weeks apart, I think it’s hard for her to think of celebrating without him. There has always been such an air of festivity in July.

We finally decided to go out to dinner to Daniel’s Broiler [nice, expensive restaurant with beautiful view] in Bellevue. Joe and I just wanted to make it as special as we can for her. It’s been one of our favorite places to go for special occasions since we discovered it. We’re surprising her by inviting a couple of people she knows. I hope she has a wonderful day.

God, please give her a good day. She really needs it.

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Sparkle

From my journal dated June 26, 2002:

Had coffee with Brenda* today. She asked me questions like, “Do you feel like people around you are getting on with their lives?” She was very proud of the fact that their lives were about “90% back to normal.” We’ve known these people for six or seven years. Our kids were friends and have spent a great deal of time together. They have known the Christiansons for many more years than that and their kids were friends with Alina. What does “90% back to normal” mean? They’re 90% over Jason’s and Alina’s deaths? Am I supposed to be happy for them that they are “90% back to normal,” 90% over Jason’s death? Why would someone say that to me?

She also said that it still didn’t seem like Jenna quite had her “sparkle” back. No, I can’t imagine that she does! Jason has been gone less than four months. How is she supposed to have her “sparkle” back, especially with all Jenna has had to deal with on top of Jason’s death? Is the death of her precious brother and abandonment by nearly everyone she knows supposed to mean so little to her that she is able to just bounce back and can “sparkle” again???

I noticed that I sat farther and farther back as the conversation went on…major defensive position! How am I supposed to open up or be vulnerable when things like this happen?

Siblings

From my journal dated June 13, 2002:

Jenna and Jason

Jenna and I were talking yesterday about who she could invite to go to the beach with her today. It’s supposed to a beautiful, warm day. It dawned on me how many times, in situations like that, it really didn’t matter who else was available. Jason and Jenna would take off and do things together. They didn’t need anyone else. Sometimes they would ask other people to come along. Sometimes it was just the two of them. Whenever they were together, it was enough. They always had each other, no matter who else was around. They could depend on each other.

Jenna and Jason

They planned so many things over the years – parties here, spur-of-the-moment meeting for movies, Super Bowl parties, going to the beach, hanging out here, going to the park. One Sunday afternoon on the way home from church, they decided to have a party at our house…and just like that – spur-of-the-moment – they had at least 25-30 people at here.

What a huge hole he’s left in her life…in all our lives.

Graduation

From my journal dated June 1, 2002:

Jenna’s high school graduation was today. I wanted it to be so nice for her.

Last night was the rehearsal and pot luck dinner for the graduates and their families. It wasn’t fun to be there…it was yucky and awkward. Joe and I sat mostly with Brian and Marie [Alina’s parents]. At least they don’t treat us weird. Everyone else is awkward around us…ignores us.

Before we left for the graduation ceremony today, I went in Jenna’s room to check on her. She was just sitting on her bed, looking at the picture of Jason and her from last year’s formal. It’s so hard to do things and know he’s not here to celebrate with us.

There were two white roses on the stage – one for Jason and one for Alina – and a note in the program that they were to honor them. It was a nice gesture.

After graduation, all the graduating class left for Grad Night Out. I hope Jenna has a good time. I hope the other graduates are nice to her.