My Friend – Her Words

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”.

Myself and Jenny in 2012

Myself and Jenny in 2012

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.

Addison and the boys

Addison and the boys

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.

Todd and Erik - The Best Back-Up Band EVER!

Todd and Erik – The Best Back-Up Band EVER!

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.

Beautiful - Addison

Beautiful – Addison

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




6 thoughts on “My Friend – Her Words

    • You brought tears to my eyes…for Jenny, for Erik & Addison, and for you and your family. You know Jenny was right…whatever our kids are or have, they are our kids and we love them. They each have their special gifts – we just have to discover what they are. I’m so proud of the father my son is to my beautiful granddaughter. They both have a lot to learn in this new phase of life, just as you are, but I know they’ll be fine. Jenny will live on in their hearts, and everyone else’s too. She got them off to a good start-now she will look after them, and her many wonderful friends, from heaven. God saw to it that she wouldn’t have to suffer, and for that I am grateful. I’m so glad Erik and Addy have wonderful friends like you and so many others that I have met when I’ve been up there. Thanks for taking care of my “babies”…and I’ll be praying for you and yours.


  1. Dear Shana, That was a beautiful tribute to my daughter and I thank you. I am very thankful that Jenny was able to impact your life in such a positive manner. I will never understand or fully grasp her untimely departure from so many lives and at a time when she had so much to live for, Addison & Erik but it is a blessing for any parent to know that she spread so much joy and knowledge among her friends and was as well liked and respected for her honesty. My daughter will be sorely missed and yet at the same time is remembered as someone that people respected unconditionally. God bless you and yours always, Cletus – a very proud father


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