admiration, chosen family, death, empathy, family, friends, friends for life, haberstroh, lessons learned, memory, optimism, Uncategorized

more death. this one was really close to home. like, next door.

i am writing this entry from my sister’s house in crawfordsville, indiana. why go back to the place from which you escaped years ago? the woman who lived next door to my family, whom we have known for 47 years (=/-) died in her sleep last sunday. her friend found her on tuesday and since then my interaction with the world has been a bit cloudy.

jennie haberstroh was an amazing woman. she baked, she entertained, she laughed, she loved. she let me read her people magazines when i was a teenager. she let me hang out if i was locked out of the house. she welcomed a spontaneous visit. as i grew older and moved away, she made sure that her dear friends would be able to join up and play some vicious rounds of trivial pursuit. there were always snacks and delicious nibblies that would almost prevent smooth play. but we managed well and always had a heated match, time after time. i cannot believe that the trivial pursuit nights are now part of my past. i don’t know how i will deal with driving past her house [on the way to my parents] and know that she is no longer there. no more visits to the small house that is surely storing all the records and costumes we used for our neighborhood variety shows. the roller skates, the christmas decorations, the photographs, and all the ephemera jennie so lovingly tucked away in the basement. i don’t know whether or not uncovering the treasures in the basement would be joyful or painful at this stage. i do know that i am going to her funeral tomorrow, and i don’t think it will be an easy thing to do.

i guess our culture doesn’t talk about death because its really not anything that has a road map with which to navigate the intricacies of emotion. i reckon through the years, one is supposed to learn as they go along…which is really crappy, but it is what it is. i will add to my own personal road map tomorrow.

and jennie? wherever you are, my precious darling sweet loving second mother, i will miss you for the rest of my life. you will always be my jen-jen. rest in peace and love and laughter and the friendship of us all. we will certainly have a gaping hole in our lives for a while that will hopefully fill with all the wonderful memories made with you and shared with you.

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3 thoughts on “more death. this one was really close to home. like, next door.

  1. Jodi Brooks says:

    I was looking for “Mrs. Haberstroh’s” obituary when I came upon your blog…you did a beautiful job describing her. I met Mrs. Haberstroh in 1986 when John moved to Huntington Beach, Ca…John was my roommate for several years (John went to school with my now husband, Jeff Brooks.)

    Mrs. Haberstroh always told me it made her feel so much better knowing I was taking care of John. I loved to hear her voice when she called John (that was before cell phones and she had to call on the house phone) she had the sweetest voice and always asked how you were doing and how things were going with you before she asked to talk to John.

    I too will miss her…not because I talked to her often, but for John…because I lost my mother and know the pain and emptiness he is feeling…there is no other person that can fill that void.

  2. Johnny says:

    I met Jennie seven years ago and from the moment we met she took me in like if she had known me for years. I thought that was very classy. I just wish I would have had the fortune to meet her earlier in life, but the short time we knew each other it was enough to know the loving and caring mother she was to John and consequentially to me. I miss our political discussions whenever she call for John I answered as well as her genuinely interest in knowing how I was doing. A person like this is so easy to love. Thank you so much for sharing your memories, I’ve seen pictures that John had share with me and can only imagine how much she meant to you and all of John’s childhood freinds. If only by knowing her for such a fraction the time compared to a lifetime that you guys knew her I can tell she has left an unforgettable print inyou hearts as well as mine.
    Thank you
    Johnny

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