Thursday, December 22, 2011

Remembrance



My past week has been incredibly stressful and tinged with sadness.

I had two close friends attempt suicide. In one case, I was not there. In the other situation, I had a front row seat. Forgive me if I don't elaborate. It's too traumatic for me to even blog about.

The second scenario really forced me to open my eyes. I've been so consumed with my own unhappiness the past year that I had no idea someone right next to me was suffering in a different way.

And by pure coincidence, I also had two extremely important people from my university years pass away, unexpectedly.

One was a professor who catapulted my journalism career. The other was my advisor who always had my back.



My media writing professor was an extremely intimidating man. On the first day of class, he marched into the classroom draped in a black cape and wearing a scowl on his face. He yelled at us and hurled insults at anyone who so much as blinked. I was horrified. The next day, only half the class remained. The other half had dropped.

As the weeks went by, it became apparent to me that his harsh demeanor was nothing more than a dramatic act. He used to growl at me in class, but I always caught the teasing glimmer in his eyes. He spent a lot of class time voicing his disgust for Paris Hilton, who he claimed looks like a giant bird. He also bragged about sleeping with a Hollywood movie star during the 1950s, but wouldn't reveal which one. It was kind of shocking hearing such things come out of an 80-year-old man's mouth.

A year after I took the class, I was awarded a prestigious journalism scholarship out of the blue. The person who had nominated me wished to remain anonymous. I found out by accident, several years later, that this professor had been the one to nominate me for the award.

I was absolutely stunned. I always had it in the back of my mind that I would go back to my university one day and thank him. But I kept putting it off, because I just seemed too busy. I put it off too long. He died of a stroke yesterday.



My advisor was a headstrong woman, but she was kind-hearted. I had an internship at NBC for a semester. I spent 40 hours per week for six months going out with cameramen on feature stories, interviewing people and attending press conferences. I edited video and I wrote news script for the anchors. I spent most mornings making tiresome phone calls to various police stations and fire departments. It was hard work.

The manager of the station didn't like me. She was a bitter bitch who glared at me every single time I walked by. It wasn't until a week after my internship ended, that my advisor called me into her office. Apparently the manager of the NBC station had given me a C for my internship. I was stunned and incredibly hurt. How could she?! My advisor was so outraged, because she knew how hard I had worked at the station all semester, she did something she had never done before. She changed my C to an A.

Her decision saved my grade point average and allowed me to graduate with honors the following year. It was a gesture I never forgot.

She died over the weekend of a heart attack.


Sometimes people change your life in random ways. Do not take them for granted.

35 comments:

StarletStarlet said...

Reading this made me all teared up, because I know exactly that feeling.

It happened to me twice this year, within the last few months. Although I am a born procrastinator, lesson learned. And every second, I try to remind myself to breath and be grateful.

StarletStarlet said...

Btw, amazing achievements you got up your sleeves there, Lady!

Julia, the Thanksgiving Girl said...

Jennifer, I am so sorry to hear about the unfortunate events and your loses :( How cruel is it to have all these happen at almost the same time.

Sunkissed said...

I'm so sorry Jen :(
Stay strong in this time and dont worry, you will definitely pull through it.

btd. said...

I'm sorry you've lost these important people in your life. You can get through this. <3

JUST ME said...

Aw mama, I'm so sorry. You've been through so much recently...I really do hope 2012 gives you enough joy to fill your entire heart.

You deserve it.

Sarah said...

Sorry to hear about your losses. Life is so precious.
x

Sarah Stright said...

Wow, what a terrible thing to have to go through. Stay strong, you'll get through this. I hope that everything soon turns around for you and those close to you.
Sarah
http://comingunstitched.blogspot.com

Shannon said...

so extremely sorry to hear about this. :( :(

French Girl in Seattle said...

A very moving post. I am sorry you and your friends have been having such a rough time lately. You also pay a beautiful tribute to two people who passed recently but played a big part in your life. As always, you told their stories in your own, unique writing style. On the bright side, there is a small package headed to your neck of the woods as I type this. I hope it helps brighten your Christmas. Hugs. Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

Sherin said...

Oh no, so sorry to hear about all of this!! I'm sending major hugs your way right now.

Miksu said...

I'm so sorry to hear this :( Life is not easy, we all know it, and all we can do is support each other during the hard times :)


xx
absofuckinglutely

MariahSmile said...

Sorry friend :( Hope things start looking up soon.

SassyUptownChic said...

Jennifer, I can relate. My Biology Professor died a year after I finished my degree. The University asked me to fill in his position until they could find someone more permanent. It was so bittersweet to do so. He left me with such a plethora of wisdom that I still use today. On another note, the holidays are not a great time for everybody. Many people are alone, caring for the sick, depressed, financially down etc. It's really a rough time of year! All you can do is try and be there. Offer your time and listen. Be there for them. I know exactly what you're going through. Be encouraged and stay strong my friend. ((HUG))
http://sassyuptownchic.blogspot.com/

Mabel said...

I'm so sorry :( Sending love and prayers your way....

Mabel

Alexandria said...

I'm so sorry for your losses. But I'm so glad you've had such wonderful people in your life. You're incredibly lucky to have known them :)

Tanvi said...

I am sorry Jen! *hugz*

♡ from © tanvii.com

Meri said...

I'm so sorry that this is such a sad time of year for you. I am glad to learn more about why its difficult, and by describing the people who were meaningful in your life perhaps it will bring a bit of peace to the situation. I'm thinking about you!

Josie said...

Jen, I could not possibly be more sorry for your many losses and traumatic week. Please let me know if I can do anything at ALL for you.
xo Josie

Maynard Morrissey said...

Oh my goodness, this must have been a horrible week. I'm sorry Jennifer.
Hope you can still enjoy the holidays to some extent.
Hugs and kisses from Austria

Miss Starshiny said...

I'm do sorry for all these terrible things!
My condolenses.
Hope you feel better soon.

I send you a big kiss and hug.

xxx
Miss Starshiny

just me said...

i really sorry and hope that all bad is behind your back.

David L Macaulay said...

so sorry to hear Jen - didn't realize TWO people had tried to commit suicide - yes we all need those mentors and people who stand up for us when others would put us down. Recently an old colleague said I should call her and I was so busy I didn't - then I heard she had died of cancer, which put my over busy life in perspective - happy Christmas, hope it gets better.

Gabriele said...

i dont even know what to say. :(

I am incredibly sorry for you, I hope you find your happiness in 2012, and I just feel like crying after reading what happened to your proffessor. ;(

CutestPrincess said...

i feel sorry for you... but that's life, it's God's will! i wish you all the snappiness in your life this coming year!

Merry Christmas!

It’s a GIRL Thing

Stephanie said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. And I'm so, so sorry that your friends feel so hopeless. I'm sending you love and warm thoughts, my friend.

Venus Loves Virgo said...

You made me tear up. Beautifully said from a kind heart.
Have a lovely Christmas weekend! XOXO

Shalini said...

Oh, I'm so sorry for all of this awfulness. Your professor was obviously a wise man, and anyone who thinks Paris Hilton looks like a bird is obviously going to some kind of nirvana.

Tights Lover said...

Wow. I honestly don't know what to say. I'm terribly sorry about everything.

I can, unfortunately, say from experience that there is nothing is worse than losing someone to suicide. It does so much damage to friends & family. I can't imagine what having a front row seat was like. I just hope you're doing okay.

I'm also sorry for your two losses. I can definitely relate to people from college who helped shape my life. It's definitely tough losing someone like that.

Like I said, I hope you're doing okay, and I hope you can find a way to still enjoy the holidays despite all of this.

Better things in 2012. Much better things.

Sam said...

Hi dear, I am so sorry to hear of these tragic events. I hope that you are doing better and taking some time to recover. My thoughts & prayers go out to you.

Olga said...

Dear Jennifer,
I know that this post is very sad. I would like to do something to make you forget about the complexity of real life and think one joyful thought. With this post, you have expressed your kindness and your remembrance of the people close to you. I think you`re a very special person, and I believe you can get through this time.

azu said...

Jennifer,
I wanted to comment when I first read this but I felt that I needed some time to think first as it is dealing with life and death. I've had a similar experience with a friend. Two years ago she passed away and it crushed me that I didn't know of her sadness. I don't know how to express or describe the grief that comes with someone wanting to end their life...and actually doing it. I felt so guilty because her and I shared a very dark secret. I never told her because I didn't want to "focus" on the negative things about life. I was such an idiot.
To this day I regret not opening up to her or calling her more. It hurts me to see her kids grow up without their beautiful mommy.

(This is turning out to be a long ass comment...sorry!)

I just want you to know that you and your friends are not alone. Something like this hurts everyone. I only hope that you never EVER blame yourself! It's not your fault and people are very good at hiding their hurt. Be there for them now that you know, as I'm sure you will be :)

You have some major balls to be sharing such intimate details of your life. I wish I could do that, but I'm the biggest pussy.

Anyway, Merry Christmas to you and your family!

<3

Gayatri said...

Oh Jenny this is such a sad post. Dealing with loss is never easy. I hope you get all the strength you need to make it through this time.

Esmeralda said...

I'm so sorry to read what you've been through lately...
I wish you all the best and I hope you get the happinest you deserve ;)

Nicole✗✗ said...

I'm extremely sorry for your recent tragedies and scares. I had a friend who had tried to commit suicide as well and I never would have expected or seen it coming. It's difficult, I'm sorry. I hope you are doing well throughout this nevertheless. Your story is rather powerful and has me reevaluating some situations that I set aside because I think I have so much time.

I hope things get better dear!