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Sudden Loss of Friend Puts Things in Perspective

I thought Sandy was the end of our world. Another's tragedy helped me to realize how lucky we are.

“Who can say where the road goes, where the day goes? Only time.” ~ Enya

As I sit in the coziness of our Cabin 4 in Hills Creek State Park, listening to songs from my "Memorial" playlist, my heart is heavy. We’ve had this weekend trip planned for months, and it just so happened to fall during a time of terrible heartache for so many.

I am so ridiculously blessed. I feel guilty for being here, for having warmth, shelter, food, friends and above all, my family. Who am I to deserve this goodness?

Today I’m writing straight from the heart.

As Superstorm Sandy hit us last week, I thought surely I’d be writing about our efforts for survival. I would complain about the difficulties of keeping the house warm and the refrigerator cold with a single generator. I would brag about how we were able to live it up “Little House style” by using our woodsy smarts.

But I’m not. None of that matters to me right now.

For many of us, this has been a week of annoyance and inconvenience. It’s been dark and cold. We may know people here or in other states who have lost homes, cars, or perhaps even family members to this storm.

But just 24 hours before Sandy struck, one of my friends lost something much greater…her husband. And it wasn’t Sandy’s fault. It was a tragic accident.

For the sake of her privacy, I won’t divulge the details, but suffice it to say she is a 29-year-old widow with three children under the age of seven. What young mother ever imagines losing her love, her best friend and the best father in the world?

As I type, she is at the funeral home, preparing for her 34-year-old husband’s viewing and funeral. No one should have to face this at such a young age.

I wonder how I would handle such a tragedy. How would I tell my children? How would I be able to go on after losing my very best friend?

Every day since I’ve heard about the accident, I’ve prayed that she can remain strong. Yet I feel so helpless and so ignorant to the pain that she’s feeling. I have no idea.

I don’t have the energy to get philosophical right now, but suffice it to say that this event has changed my perspective on my gratitude for how good life is. It’s hit very close to home.

Sandy was one thing, but to see someone who had to deal with the wake of this storm in more ways than one…it just has me in a place of thought and prayer for her and everyone else who is suffering this week.

When I feel this way, I listen to music, I cry, and then I try to move on. But my friend has a lot more to move on from. My vow is to help her in any way I can as she adjusts to this new life.

charles hampton November 10, 2012 at 02:00 PM
Sweet!
Jennifer Rodgers November 10, 2012 at 02:12 PM
My condolences, Jenae. I'm sure your friendship will help :)
Jenae Holtzhafer November 10, 2012 at 02:35 PM
Thanks Jennifer. It's been almost two weeks, but I still can't imagine. She is surrounded by wonderful friends and family right now. I suppose that's all that can be done as she adjusts to this new life. Thanks for your kind words! Jorge was an amazing man with a contagious smile. He will be missed.
Jenae Holtzhafer November 10, 2012 at 02:37 PM
Also, if anyone is interested in helping her, there is a website set up to raise money for her and the kids. I would be happy to send it to anyone who wants to do something for her. It's completely confidential and secure.
Emily November 10, 2012 at 06:37 PM
This was a dear friend of mine. Please consider supporting her family during this time of need by donating at one of the links listed below. This is a link to the family donation site. Any funds donated through this site will go directly to the Santiago Family's Paypal Account. http://jhsantiago.maxlivings.com/ This is a link to a Facebook event currently going on to raise funds for the Santiago Family. It is a Fundraiser through the company Thirty One Gifts. If you're a fan of their products and have some holiday shopping to get done please consider making your purchases through this event. 25% of ALL sales go directly to the family! https://www.facebook.com/events/485977234776079/?fref=ts Thank you for considering helping this beautiful Mama and her three little ones!
Reading MC Rider Bob November 11, 2012 at 12:29 AM
motorcycle accidents at 1AM..... should have been home with his wife and 3 kids instead of gallivanting around town, hope he had a million dollar life insurance policy to take care and comfort of his family
Ann Wlazelek November 11, 2012 at 03:00 AM
Jenae, you have a big heart and a nice writing style. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I, too, am sure your friendship- being there- means a lot.

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