Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Theta House.

The title of my blog came from our good friend Ray who, until last weekend, I thought used to say it to his beautiful wife, Kitsie.

They clarified for me over coffee last Sunday morning that it was actually Big Ray, or Ray's daddy that used to say it to his daughter-in-law when he would drop by to find her running around the house toting babies, laundry, and a cookbook.

I loved it and so I stole it. Or borrowed it. Whatever. Anyway, just in case Big Ray ever wants to use "A long way from the Theta house" for anything official, it's his.

Looking back on those days in the sorority house compared to now, it certainly was a little idyllic. We studied a lot (that's for my father who sometimes reads this), watched a little Melrose Place, and perhaps drank a little Zima on Thursday nights. For four incredibly impacting years I had some beautiful friends walk alongside me through finals, boyfriend break-ups, bible studies, and eventually, job offers. We spent a lot of time together and learned to love one another for all our similarities and our differences. We laughed. A lot. Sometimes until we cried.

This past Wednesday night, I had just sat down to read my Bible or watch Modern Family, I can't remember, when I looked on my phone and saw several Facebook posts on a pledge sister's page.

They were words of shock, sadness, and condolence and I immediately felt her loss even though I hadn't seen her in years.

On a beautiful fall day in New Orleans, a city that fit her like a perfectly broken-in pair of jeans, Jennifer, for reasons we don't yet know, took her life.

She was a force and fiercely loyal. She was the life of the party and the deepest of thinkers. She was brilliant, and beautiful, and a lover of people and a defender of the weak. Even in college, she was always taking in animals or adopting gross things like snakes. I swear, the only reason I can own one now is because I watched her bring one home in college and laugh at its antics like was a more animate pet. She moved with me to Dallas after graduation and we watched Jack Ingram play live every Tuesday night. She was my first friend to meet Trey and issue her approval when he wanted to marry me. We took road trips and plane trips to places, I'm sure, we would have ended up incarcerated without her ability to think fast and talk faster.

She beat me every time we played Words with Friends.

Although it's been a long time since graduation, and I haven't been exactly spectacular at keeping up with everyone, seeing their pictures now, and hearing their voices or reading their emails takes me immediately back to the familiar family we were back at A&M. It's weird the lasting impact some people can have on your life. I'm so thankful for Jennifer, her life, and the impact she had on mine. Even though I haven't seen her in years, I miss her. I liked knowing she was walking around the same planet as me. I thought of her a lot because she was so stinkin' opinionated, I often wondered what she was thinking about when a scathing political story made headlines.

This past week has been hard and yet, she's managed to pull people out of the woodwork to remember who she was and how she impacted them. Everyone has a story and they, in the words of another sister, have been a salve to our souls. Some days, it does seem like we're a long way from the Theta house. Other days, it seems like we're just around the corner.

15 comments:

Karen said...

Thank you for sharing this. It has definitely been a bittersweet week. Loss and reunion all mixed as one. Love to you, love to those reconnected with, and love to the one at peace.

Process Mapping Blog said...

FYI, I check your blog every day and think of you all. Sorry about your friend.
DAD

Chrys and Mike said...

Well said. She was a beautiful soul with a magnetic personality. I have shed many tears as I've thought of her and how much she must have been hurting. I only wish we had known. I continue to pray for her husband and her family. Weeping with those who weep...

Chrys

ABK Couture said...

Beautiful! Thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

M,
Sorry for the loss of your friend. Love, B.

Anonymous said...

Melissa,
I am so sad to hear of your friend...praying for her family and friends as you all mourn,

Shareese

The Hidalgo Family said...

So sorry...

Kim said...

Sending you our sympathies from Hong Kong.
Thank you for the reminder of how important those friends are from every season and every chapter of our lives. Your beautiful post has me feeling the tug to reach out to my the Tri Delta Dolls from The University of TX.
Love & Blessings,
Kim

dkt said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. We just lost a good friend to suicide this year too. There are no easy answers. My husband, when he did the funeral service, reminded us all that what a person does in a moment of weakness does not determine eternity or reflect on who they were as a person. But it is also a good reminder for us to be walking close to Jesus every single moment... My prayers are with you...

pendy said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. I get it. Although my story played out at the Alpha Delta Pi house at UGA, it was a similar story. Those years were so important that I continue to feel the impact nearly forty years later and treasure those friendships still.

missy said...

i am so sorry about your friend. i lost an old friend suddenly last year and it was confusing and such a deep loss. she sounds like she was a beautiful person.

Linda said...

I couldn't agree with you more with how you spoke about our friend, Jennifer. I keep thinking about all the great memories we had...especially while living in the Theta House...Love you! Linda

Deidra said...

This is a beautiful tribute...
I feel as if I knew her.
It seems as if life just catches us off-guard sometimes and reality comes rushing in.
My prayers are joined with yours...

Devour Houston said...

Love your tribute to Jennifer. You said it all so perfectly. I, too, love how her life is now bringing us all back together. It is weird to think she's not on this planet anymore. I miss knowing she's not going to posting more Who Dat on her FB status. We had a great pledge class and incredible chapter. So happy to have been blessed by y'all.

Vanessa (Ackley) Jones said...

Very well said, Melissa, and a sweet tribute to Jennifer. You are right . . . some days it seems like life in the Theta house was just last year. I feel blessed by my life right now, but OHHH wouldn't it be fun to re-live it for just a little while?? Lots of fun memories . . .