Read personal stories from our founder and Jennifer's mommy, Libby, along with other Warrior Moms and news from our Unravel team.

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the vest that did me in..

February 3, 2021

A damned uniform.

Brown vest with numbers.

that smile.. totally worth it..

Thats it. Thats what did me in.. Maybe thats why I waited to take it out of the bag.. Maybe thats why it sat in the corner of the room.. So much like my own missing of my Jennifer.. Tucked in a corner.. stepped past and over everyday.. almost able to ignore it .. almost.. but then again still always aware its right there.. Right within reach waiting to be dealt with.

im sorry baby. im so sorry i do that to you.

The guilt is tremendous every time I acknowledge that I do it. The guilt is there and crushing to admit that I push her out of my mind even though I know its part of surviving all of this .. I have learned that through my years of bereaved parenthood.. man.. years… how is that even possible?

Charlotte missed the troop meetings.. I thought it was just because I forgot about them.. But I realize now.. it was just my form of self preservation.

I learn so much through my own fingers as I type.. As I sit here and write.. the words pouring out of me without my mind having a chance to catch up.. I learn.. or maybe its more like I admit the truth out-loud, through the blinking cursor.

Charlotte wanted to be a girl scout.. just like her big sister. I never did it when I was kid. So it was one of those silly things I was excited for Jennifer to be a part of.

She made one meeting. One f-ing meeting. I remember it so vividly.. the house.. meeting new moms.. her meeting new girls.. . She was so nervous .. and so happy about it all.

I remember it like a show I watched though. Like a 3D model of a memory in my head. And I want to rip through the memory and tear it all apart. I don’t even know why..

But I do .. and it’s a visceral rage.

We got Jennifer’s uniform. After she died .. because she wasn’t even alive long enough to get to wear it.

She wanted a little sister so much .. her joy knowing we actually had a girl is one of my most beloved memories. She wanted to teach her how to shower like a big girl.. and brush her own hair…

just like this.. somehow i think they are just like this

That damned vest did me in.

Taking it out of the bag and laying it on the table to sticking the numbers on it.. the pain unable to be silenced any longer running down my face..

Like a rake to the face moment that jumps up out of nowhere and knocks me out. A pain so sharp and sudden I can’t ignore it.. and I can’t shake it off.. But after the initial shock wears off I am left with the blackened eye..

And nothing changes. You know that? Nothing? This pain cuts as deep today as it did 6 years ago..

Because 7 years ago.. 7 years ago she was here. Exactly 7 years ago.. she was the one in pain. Horrific pain. Unimaginable pain. all night (please read that link and remember her pain.. all parts of her need to be remembered)

im so sorry jennifer.. with everything i am .. i am so sorry..

And 6 years ago I was the one in pain. .. and truthfully though I can shove it in a bag in the corner now much better than I could then.. nothing has changed. .

That damned vest did me in..

Because since then its been just like it was then for me when I wrote this.. Flashes and sleepless nights..

And a longing … a simple pure longing.. You know how when you are sitting in one position for too long and suddenly you realize it.. And you just need to.. you have to stretch your legs out.. And its all you can think about.. You cannot stop the physical or mental need .. The longing the yearning is like that.

I hate this .. I hate that missing her, that crying for her is how I connect with my daughter. That acknowledging the desperation with which I miss her and the guilt is how I find her again. I hate that reading my own words of her pain.. Of my pain.. our pain.. Is how I connect with her. The only time I feel her around me..

i know you are here sissy miss.. i know somehow my tears pull you in..

one step closer..

I hate that she is six.. I hate that I can’t know her anymore. Or know whats it like where she is. I hate that my daughter is dead. I hate that she suffered so tremendously .. I hate that I know that. That I remember that. And I miss it. I miss her pain because at least she was here.. Because this hurts so much.

That’s the truth of it . . I remember it all. I can still taste her pain . So easily. So deeply.. But I’ll be damned if I don’t want her back ..Becuase it wasn’t mine.. yet..

I cannot believe how much I miss those moments and days that seemed unending. The inexcusable jealousy I have.. of wanting .. of longing to get to do it all again with her.. My desperate desire to reach back into those photos and be there again.. with her.

with you

I know how crazy it sounds.. even to me.. How it doesn’t make sense. How its not what we as parents .. as their protectors are supposed to do.. I don’t know how to not though. .. I don’t know how to stop it.. The thirst for her..

But I know .. I know I have to admit it. I know its good to share it so others can know it too.. So many other parents have come after me..

So many others enduring their own pain and loss this past year in particular.. I hope they can find some sort of kinship in my words.. Even if the loss is different .. I think the pain is the same.. And I know the need to be honest about it .. even.. especially the dirty parts is crucial.

And know that this ugly release opens me back up again in a wonderfully freeing, beautiful way. I know it. I’m always so much lighter afterwards.. A better wife and mother.. I don’t know why I resist it.. It’s hard though. Physically.. emotionally .. But it’s beautiful too.. .

i have loved you

for a thousand years

oh my jennifer lynn

i will love you for a thousand more

…until there is a cure..

  1. Kristin Brown says:

    Libby this is so heartbreaking 💔😭 thank you for sharing your feelings and posting. I cried right along with you through this post! You are one strong woman!

  2. Kelli says:

    II still so often think of Jennifer and the messages you have shared on her journey, and after she left this world. Sending hugs to you and your family.

  3. Jackie Coursey says:

    Libby
    Thank you for sharing your pain and agony with us. You shouldn’t carry it alone.
    I appreciate your honesty and truth. Crying.

  4. Susan Johnson says:

    Libby, you are amazing. Each and every day. Know that. I am so fortunate to know you and Tony and your 5 beautifully kind children. 🥰

  5. Elizabeth says:

    Your beautiful girl.

    Reading your story has undoubtedly changed the way I parent my daughters.

    I turn no’s into yes..
    I ask myself if it will matter in a month…
    and when I notice I do these things I remember you and your family and your sweet Jennifer.

    I remember early in your journey you mentioned your fear that people won’t remember

    Sending love from far away o

  6. Nicole Ingram says:

    Sending you and your beautiful girls scouts lots of love. ❤️

  7. Stefanie says:

    I followed Jennifer’s story back when I was a college student living in the Bay. I thought about her today out of the blue and found your blog. Her story touched me deeply then and even more so now as I now I have two year old child of my own.

    I’m still so sorry for her pain and for yours. It’s something I can’t begin to comprehend and I feel angry that any precious child should ever go through such suffering and that any parent experience such lasting loss and grief. I’m just so sorry. Please know that I remember Jennifer and am reminded to appreciate each moment, big and small and love as much as I can.

    Thank you for sharing Jennifer’s story and spreading awareness. Sending all my love.

  8. Jenna says:

    Thank you for this. It was so raw and beautiful. I’ve never cried so much over any thing I’ve ever read as I did this. I felt this to my soul and I had to stop and just cry every sentence. I imagine that being your life of thinking of her and missing her, every single day. I’m so so sorry.

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