Missing a Friend

Today would have been my college roommate’s 38th birthday. In May she lost a five-year battle with breast cancer. What do you say? She was much too young. It’s hard to make sense of it because it doesn’t make sense.

I meant to write a post for Glynnis weeks ago and share some pictures, but I just didn’t know what to write. I think part of the reason has been shame. I feel shameful that she fought this fight for five long years, yet the last time I actually saw Glynnis was at my wedding, almost 7 years ago. I regret that, while she did a good job emailing us all to update us on her condition, I did a terrible job of reaching out to her, let alone going to see her. What kind of friend was I? I wasn’t. Sending a few emails to a friend battling cancer hardly cuts it.

I don’t know why I didn’t try harder to call or see her before it was too late. It’s not that I didn’t want to. It’s that time just flew by me. I took time for granted. I didn’t think she was going anywhere and I was too removed to realize the gravity of it all. The truth is, based on the messages that Glynnis sent over the last few years, she was a master at keeping her eyes on the bright side. She made it easy for us (or me, at least) to believe that cancer wasn’t a real threat to her. Even near the end, while at home with hospice care, she was reaching out to everyone else through her Caring Bridge page, letting us all know that she was alright. Sure, she asked for help…. but mostly for her husband and son. In fact, just one week before she passed, she posted her last message, where she talked about her plans for regaining the strength her in legs. Her body was failing her, yet she showed nothing but courage and determination.

So, this meager post is my tribute to Glynnis.

I’m sorry, G, for not doing more while you were still with us. You were a great friend and am so grateful that Ship brought us together. I remember receiving that welcome letter from college, where they listed you as my assigned roommate, and I remember being confused by the order of your name as it was printed on the sheet. So, when I called your house to introduce myself and discuss who was bringing what for our dorm room, I confused everyone when I asked for you by your middle name, Erin.


Remember how we were robbed a good 9 square feet of dorm room space because of that stupid hallway phone booth that didn’t even work? But, luckily our phone cord was about 25 feet long, so we could stretch it out the door and into the booth when we wanted a private conversation. So, it wasn’t a bad deal, after all.

And remember the message-in-a-bottle we left in the ceiling of our room, only to find the girls that were in that room the year before had the same idea and left a message-in-a-bottle themselves?

Our sophomore year dorm room was much cooler than the freshman year room, especially with the bunk beds we scored! It was fun to chat at night in our bunks. Thanks for taking turns with the top bunk. I gotta tell you… I love you, but it drove me a little insane that you would kick off your socks in the middle of the night and, without fail, they’d always drop down into my bed! 🙂

We shared lots of secrets in those dorm rooms, and in the room next door (Jennifer and Lori’s). I’m thankful that, on the sloppiness scale, you and I ranked about the same, which made us a perfect match, I think… along with our frequent bouts of silliness. Oh, and how about those afternoon naps we would take? Nothing like a two-hour nap in between our last class and dinner at the dining hall! We always kept Lori and Jennifer waiting… but those were the best naps!

This is my favorite picture of us… dancing in the gritty mess on the floor left behind by the old rug we called “the sand trap”!

You did have quite a silly side! That’s what I really loved about you: your silliness, spontaneity, and wit. I feel like all the four of us did those first few years of college was laugh until we cried. Seriously, I wish I had a crazy story to tell, but what I remember most is laughing… just laughing. I wish I could hear your laugh just once more.

It would be pretty amazing to play softball with you one more time, too.

After your memorial service, the three of us were regretting the time we’ve lost with you and we promised to get together at least once a  year for a girl’s weekend. So, in July we kept that promise. It was a great visit. We told stories, looked at old photos, and did lots of giggling. But the sounds of your voice and your giggles were missing. Still, it was great to reminisce about those years in college and to have you there in our hearts. We’ll do this many more times and every time we do, we’ll carry you with us. And never again will I let time with a special friend slip away from me, the way I did with you.

Happy Birthday, G! We love you and miss you.

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2 responses to “Missing a Friend

  1. Jess what a great story–so real and a lot of meaning—Well done!!

  2. Life gets in the way…and we lose touch with people we love….and we know they know how much we love them, so it’s ok….that’s what we say to ourselves at the time….then again life happens and we regret the time we let slip by….but it can never reduce the love you have and G always knew that….that’s how it is with true friends….you honor her in every loving thought you have of her…..and she knows it…..I believe that…..and you should too….and someday, I believe you will see her again…..you cherish your memories….you and G were a very special combination…..and this writing was a wonderful honor and testimony to a wonderful friendship….I am sending you a loving hug and I am sure she is too……..

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