Bittersweet Memory



This weekend has been one of those perfect Middle Tennessee springs. Clear blue skies, brilliant sunshine, and just-right temperatures.

The dogwood and redbud trees are blooming.spring.Dogwood

spring.REdbudTulips nod gently in the breeze.spring.Yellowtulips

SpringflowersLawnmowers disrupt the neighborhood quiet to trim the deep green of new growth.

Just perfect —- unless you are allergic to trees! Pollen count is very high right now, but the weather pulls me outside.

It was just such an April weekend 13 years Larry and I waited at a nearby restaurant for Jennifer and Josh, her fiance. They called to say they were on the way, had been lost and ended up taking the long way back.

When they arrived, they were so full of joy, sunshine, and love for each other! They had spent the day looking at outdoor wedding venues. They planned to marry in a year – Jennifer had one more year at Tennessee Tech before graduation.

This was such a unique experience to share with them – anticipation, planning, considering options. We ate and talked and then headed to our house. They spent Saturday night with us, worshiped Sunday morning with us and returned to Cookeville Sunday afternoon.

It was the last time we saw Jennifer. It’s a memory that I pull out every so often and treasure. Happy times with the promise of a future together, finding their path in service to God.

I spoke to Jennifer for the last time on the following Wednesday night when she called just to talk. On Saturday she and Josh climbed Star Mountain in the Cherokee National Forest. Josh called us early that evening to tell us she had fallen, never regained consciousness, and died.

JenniferBeachHeadToday is the anniversary of her death.

Sunday I found myself feeling a little melancholy, unmotivated to tackle the projects on my list of to-dos. Sometimes this day of trauma sneaks up on me. Sometimes I’m not aware of the date; even Sunday morning in Bible class I asked someone the date. It didn’t register with me that Monday would be April 13, the day Jennifer died.

So I give myself permission to feel sad, to feel at loose ends. Sometimes I plan a specific activity in her memory, but other times I don’t even want to talk about these tentacles of grief that tug at my heart and my memory.

Thank you for reading this blog, for encouraging, for understanding. Your mercy ministers to my soul.

Thanks be to God that

  • the searing pain of trauma has faded.
  • my memories of Jennifer’s last visit are so full of joy.
  • I have found comfort in this walk of grief from a God who never leaves me, a Savior who knew grief, and a Spirit who intercedes for me with wordless groans.


For more of my story, use the category Heart Lessons to read archives of my walk in grief.


12 thoughts on “Bittersweet Memory

  1. dmjlollar05

    I think about her a lot. Thanks for sharing your journey of grief with us. Love you and thinking about you today.

  2. thornthwch

    You’re in my prayers… especially on this day. Jennifer was so precious… and her mother continues to be a precious person who has positively impacted so many lives. Take care, Martell.

  3. Stephanie

    I miss her daily. She is still with us and I keep that comfort with me in my memories of her. She was such an amazing person and I was so blessed to call her one of my best friends.


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