No matter what he does, every person on earth plays a central role in the history of the world. And normally he doesn't know it. ~Paulo Coelho
Dr. Jennifer (Smith) Galbraith
July 28, 1974 - August 27, 2013
Tragedy is no stranger to me and my family. It has directly landed on us, suddenly, and with pinpoint accuracy, so I know what dealing with sorrow and confusion feels like. We've been wrestling with it for nearly twelve years. I'm not saying I understand it, and I'm not saying it's easy, and I'm not saying I like it. I'm just saying it's a close friend and I certainly recognize it.
At this particular moment, I'm at a loss as to what to say. I've never dealt with such a situation. So instead of my typical format, I chose to write Jen a letter. I'm sure it doesn't do her justice, to her kindness, beauty inside and out, intelligence, sincerity, adventurous spirit, wit and sense of humor. But my words are sincere and straight from the heart.
My thoughts and prayers are with Jen's family and friends at this time and always. We have been blessed to know such a wonderful person. The world will not be the same.
If my memory serves me correct, we have known each other since I was in the first grade and you in the third, going to Sacred Heart Elementary School. To be honest, I don't remember when you officially joined our family because it seems like you were always there. Who would have thought, from that moment on, you and my sister would have become friends for so many years?
Even though you were always Nicole's best friend, you always treated me as a friend too. I can't believe it's been years since those days at Sacred Heart, but we've always kept in touch, only due to your continued friendship and sisterhood with Nicole.
Over the years, my family would get updates on how you were doing, what was new and what was going on in your life. Even though Facebook has been the focus of the media for negative uses and development of an anti-social society, Facebook helped us to connect again. Prior to that, even without direct communication, you were always in my thoughts. After all, you were very much a part of the Piper household. I mean even dad remembered your name!
By the time I reached the seventh grade and you in ninth, in the Latrobe Junior High School, I would grin when I saw you in the halls. You would smile and give me a friendly nod. Actually, I think it was more of a laugh, I was always so lost, mentally and directionally. Here I envied you because I thought you were so much more together than I ever was! Even in junior high it seemed like your life would take a straight path to greatness. Well, you certainly achieved greatness, in many ways. But I was wrong, your life took a sudden and fatal sharp turn.
When I joined the colorguard and you were in the band (clarinet), it was nice to know someone among the older strange faces. You never snubbed me or anything of the sort. Actually, you looked out for me, and over the years as we both matured, maybe you more than me, I wasn't just "Nikki's little sister", I was your friend too.
When I heard you were going to school to be a doctor I was so excited for you and I remember thinking, "Yes she is one smart cookie who will have no trouble getting through her studies. She is going to be such a success in life!" You were always such an intelligent girl, it came so natural to you. In that respect, I could see why you and Nicole were always such good friends, you challenged each other intellectually. In my younger days I didn't appreciate that, but over the years I certainly have.
Jen, you always had such patience. Every time I asked a stupid question like "How can you be an optometrist and not have perfect vision?", you would answer me. Even though we were private messaging each other or communicating digitally, somehow I could see that Jen smirk. It's funny, Ryan had the same type of grin.
You may not have realized it at the time, but you were loved! You had a lot of friends, family, acquaintances, co-workers, neighbors, patients and the list goes on and on, that relied on you in one way or another. There were so many lives you touched, including mine! I know my sister looked up to you and was proud to call you a friend, as was I.
In a way, ...
Read the rest of my letter to Jen, may she find peace! Blue Skies Dr. Jennifer (Smith) Galbraith
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