Before I posted this post – I sent to Erik for his approval. He approved. I have wanted to write this post for a while… but have held on to it. The day that we said good-bye to Jenny, on the way to the graveside Todd and I heard the song “Over You” by Miranda Lambert. Last night, I heard the song again – that is when I decided to go ahead and write this post…
On Febuary 15, 2013 Carter was diagnosed with Autism. The day before his diagnosis, Febuary 14, 2013, Todd and I lost a friend, Jenny Leon Crawford. For us, we mourned the loss of our friend and mourned the diagnosis all in one “cup of numbness”.
When I heard the words come out of the doctor’s mouth “Your son has autism”… I sunk down in the chair and probably had a look of loss. I instantly flashed back to the last conversation Jenny and I had. She and I talked about so many different things that night… but mostly it was about our kids. She raved about her precious daughter… how smart she is, how sassy she can be, etc… I discussed with her all the testing and the concerns I had regarding Carter. I will never forget the look on her face – poking out her lips, hands on her hips and kinda giving that eye roll of hers – and she said to me “Girl, if he has autism, he has autism. The most important thing is that he is your son and you are his mom. That is all that matters.” I have that moment burned into my brain and always will. Those words she said to me give me comfort every day! The last time she and I talked, we had no clue that would be the last conversation we would ever have on this earth. If she only knew how much her words meant to me and how those words make me go on every day proud to be a mother of a child with autism.
Jenny’s husband, Erik, was our friend before we became friends with Jenny – actually, before he and Jenny started dating . He and Todd play cards together. Todd and I have always thought a lot of Erik and always will. Erik and Jenny have a daughter, Addison, who is the same age as my son, Will. I am in total awe of Erik. He is a great father and a wonderful friend. Addison has him wrapped around her little finger – he is not oblivious to this – I think he wears that honor like a badge.
We had Erik and Addison over to the house not so long ago. There were times that evening I would stop for a moment and picture Jenny with us. I sat back and watched Erik and how wonderful he was with Addison…. I could see how much these two love each other.
At one point in the evening – the kids had us playing musical instruments – we were their back-up band. I watched Erik and Todd as they played along because they were “told” to by the kids and the kids loved every moment. Addison grabbed the micro-phone at one point and started rapping the cutest rap. Instantly – I thought of Jenny… she was a Jenny mini-me… that little rap was soooo Jenny. I smiled and smiled… I knew right then that Jenny will always be within that child. Precious, Brilliant, Beautiful, and the list goes on.
Our friend, Jenny Leon Crawford, was a daughter, sister, mother, wife, aunt and friend. Anytime we were around her we were always in stitches – she kept us rolling. She always gave advice – even if you didn’t ask for it. 🙂 She was – well – she was – Jenny!
What I miss the most about Jenny is… her laugh, her smile, her love of her daughter, nieces and husband, her love of her family and friends, – well, there is so much…
I only wish that Jenny knew how much her words carry me and help me get through every day…
My advice to everyone… love each other like their is no tomorrow… when you are with each other – cherish the moment… also, the words you say to each other make them count.
There are three words on this earth.
You may hear them often, beginning at birth.
They are three words that change you inside,
They make you unafraid, unwanting to hide.
They give you the courage you need to grow,
And the courage to let your feelings show.
These special words give so much,
You can show it by talking or just by touch.
So if you want your emotions to show,
Or if you want your feelings to grow,
There is one thing someone must do
And this is to say “I love you.”
And if you’re amazed by what you’ve heard,
You can be sure it was those three words.
by Jennifer “Jenny” Leon Crawford