Monday, January 7, 2013

A Life Well Lived

One week ago, I was writing this blog post. One week ago, I was looking back on all the amazing things that happened in 2012, smiling as I thought of all the joy we'd experienced. One week ago, Thomas and I were cuddled up on the couch watching a movie at home before going to ring in the new year with friends. And in an instant with one phone call, my world was turned upside down.

One week ago, my beautiful sorority sister Jennifer Stanford was in a car accident in Austin and the Lord called her home. 

Monday morning started out like any other, except that since it was New Year's Eve, our office was closing at noon. I was trying to speed through my to-do list in order to get home, but that morning, I texted Jennifer to see how she was feeling. You see, Jenn found out in November that she had thyroid cancer and had her thyroid removed in early December. The doctors were sure she'd be fine, but that weekend they'd administered one round of radiation to be sure she was completely cancer-free.

"Hey girl! Just wanted to see how you were feeling," I said in my text message. "Good! Going in for a follow up with my doctor this morning," she responded. But Jennifer didn't make it to the doctor's office Monday morning. She was involved in a five-car accident on her way. My heart breaks just thinking that Jenn had BEAT the cancer, and yet in a tragic turn of events, she was gone.

Receiving the call from Jenn's mom that evening was devastating. Making more phone calls to inform friends and sorority sisters was probably one of the most difficult things I've ever had to do. I was numb, in shock, struggling to process the reality of the situation, and the next few days were really, really hard.

Jennifer was so loved. She had a way of making anyone feel welcomed and appreciated. She was the life of the party, always initiating get-togethers and inviting you to join in on the fun she was having. Jenn's friends quickly became your friends. She was crazy about music and had a promising career in the Austin music scene as a Tour Marketing Coordinator with Ambiance Artists. She loved Jesus, had such a servant's heart, and was altogether an incredible girl.

On Saturday, we gathered in Jennifer's hometown of Magnolia to celebrate her life, a life that was short but so well lived. It was comforting to be surrounded by sorority sisters, and we know that one day we'll be reunited with Jenn. Through tears and hugs, we praised God for Jenn's life and reminded each other of the strength of our sisterhood. We don't understand the Lord's purpose for this tragedy, but we know He's still a good, loving God who promises He'll walk with us through the storm.


"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted..." Psalm 34:18 



At the graveside service, all ADPi's were asked to take home a rose from one of the many arrangements received by the family. This photo was taken after circling up, singing an ADPi song that's close to our hearts, and praying for one another and the Stanford family. Man, am I thankful for these amazing gals.


{via Instagram; we wore our pins with blue ribbons to Saturday's services.}
 "We've all said it before... 'I've never been more proud to be an ADPi' or 'I've never loved my sorority more than I do right now.' After recruiting a stellar pledge class and celebrating on Bid Day, after our Pigskin invitation, with intramural wins or campus achievements. But honestly, today I can say I've never been more thankful for my sisters and for what ADPi means. As we said goodbye to a sister today, we wore our pins in honor of Jennifer and the incredible strength of our sisterhood. My love for you girls was intensified this weekend through tears and hugs, through prayers and memories. So blessed to wear this beautiful pin."


I debated whether or not to publish this blog post, but writing about it seems to help my grief. For those of you who knew Jennifer, I hope these words bring you comfort in your sorrow as we reflect on Jenn's well-lived life. And for those of you who didn't know our sweet Jenn, I hope you see her amazing heart and lasting impact in these words. Jenn, you'll NEVER be forgotten. We love you and will miss you until we one day see you again.

{so grateful that Jenn jumped in next to me in this photo from my wedding. I'll cherish this photo forever!}

8 comments:

  1. I'm so sorry, Amanda. It's heartbreaking to hear that someone I probably walked past a thousand times at Baylor is gone. But I'm so glad that you have so much love and support around you. I'm glad you wrote this. :)

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    1. Thank you Nincy! She was an amazing girl. I'm glad I wrote it too. Helped to express what's been going on in my mind for the past week!

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  2. Amanda, Your post is beautiful. The memorial Facebook page helped us so much. For me this was hard to accept. Even when home Jennifer was always trying to plan something.

    Next Christmas will be difficult as she always wanted to be Santa Claus passing out presents. She always helped me pick out and buy mom's gifts. I treasured those times.

    I am so proud of Jennifer and all her ADPi sisters.

    I miss Jennifer so much,
    Dad

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    1. Mr. Stanford, I'm so happy to have met you and hugged you this weekend. Your daughter was a phenomenal person and friend! When she moved to Austin to follow her dreams in the music industry, she and I continued our friendship formed in ADPi. We attended Austin Stone (church) together last summer. She introduced me to Le Cafe Crepe and to Maudie's. She let me stay with her when she lived off of Riverside so that I had a shorter to commute to a early morning work event. So many laughs, so many good memories. She will never be forgotten!

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  3. Amanda,
    Though I didn't know Jennifer, she sounds like such a sweet woman of God. Know that my prayers are with you and Jennifer's family!

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  4. I am so sorry for you loss, Amanda! What a gift to have such support and tight knit group of girls that can come together in times of tragedy. Thinking of you.

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  5. Wow. I'm not even sure what to say. So sad for your loss. As a sorority alum I couldn't imagine loosing a sister. You girls are amazing. xo

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