Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Welling up...

This post is not so happy mayhemish...but try to bear with me.

My friend Coin-O, has suffered great losses in the past few months and today I'm just not sure how she carries herself so delicately and strongly at the same time.

Let me start at the beginning...

A few years back, I was the assistant childcare manager and my "buddy" (that's her nickname I call her) Lora was the Program manager. While Lora was out on maternity leave I was interviewing for a new infant lead teacher. This was vital to both myself and Lora as our babies were 6 weeks apart and this would be our babies teacher. I interviewed a whole bunch of people but fell in love with a Jennifer Coin who was new to the area. That Ms. Coin though was a stickler to get. With most people, you offer them the job, they consider it and then either accept it or go on their own way. Not with Ms. Coin. I must have talked to her 10 million times on the phone answering all kinds of questions from our early childhood education philosophy to NAEYC Accreditation. After all that she went through a second interview process with Lora, who also loved her. And finally, after much deliberation on her part because we weren't the only center who was trying to snag her, she chose to come and be our lead teacher.

After a month or so, she came into mine and Lora's office we shared crying. She just didn't know if her heart was in early childhood anymore. While she did the most excellent job, she was just feeling the long term stresses that the job can bring. She also said that she was lonely because she was new to the area and didn't make new friends easily. Lora and I reassured her that we didn't want her to leave and that maybe if she stayed she could move up in the ranks to an administrative position. We also welcomed her into our circle, which really consisted of me and Lora ha ha.

Me and Lora are very close from sharing an office and from my former social phobic years when she allowed me to be her buttcheek and tag along behind her EVERYWHERE she went. Coin completed our trio. Lora and I are complete opposites. Lora is extememly efficient and well detailed but doesn't like chaos. I am not so efficient and hate to be detailed but I love chaos. Coin falls somewhere in between that and bridges the gap.

Lora ended up leaving us...sniffle sniffle...for a better job opportunity which meant I moved into her position and Coin moved partially up into my old position. I say partially because she was still in a classroom half days. I got to know alot about her. We shared crazy stories about her husband Shawn and my Chris and crew. Coin was always the worrier and I used to laugh at her for it. She was afraid to go places or drive without Shawn and always consulted him for everything. It never ceased to make me chuckle. When her and Shawn started trying for a baby, it was a bit rocky for them, so Lora and I tried to be as helpful as we could. We might have gone into their room to position them if they would have let us. ha ha ha. Ok, maybe not that far but you get the point.

Shawn started experiencing some chest pains that Coin was concerned about. I remember the first time she told me and said that she thought it was a tumor. I think that might have been the first time I didn't chuckle at her.

Coin then made the decision to leave for another job opportunity that involved a WAY lower stress level in order to better focus on trying to have a baby and so that her and Shawn wouldn't both be so stressed out. Shawn was under a tid bit (understatement) of stress at his job as a football coach. She was so worried about what I would think when she left. But, leaving me wasn't going to shake the trio apart.

We all still talked all the time and then....Coin got pregnant! We were all so excited...Lora even went so far as to sneak her in pregnancy books while Coin was working.

Then after I had been home for a week while my boys passed around Hand, Foot and Mouth disease and returned to work finally....

I was up in the business offices getting ready for a meeting when the operator yelled out..."Hey Coin just called here and said it's an emergency she needs you to call her back right now." I headed down stairs to get my phone and call her back. I call her and she answered the phone calmly..."Hey, I'm at the er. Do you think you could come over with me?" I immediately thought she had lost the baby. I asked her what was going on and she told me that Shawn had collapsed at work and something about his trying to get his heart started. I told her I would be right over. I ran the three flights up to tell my boss I was so sorry but I HAD to leave to be with Coin.

I flew over to the hospital on two wheels (it's only like 3 minutes from my work) and called Coin on the way to let her know I was en route. Her voice was still even. She said that she was in a little waiting room and to come find her. I call Lora who had already received a call from Teresa and was getting herself and her son ready to leave the house. My panic is starting to set in....I get to the er where there isn't a parking spot. I found one in the back, hastily parked my car and took off running through the parking lot. I ran in and found our other friend Teresa who had driven her there from work. She was telling me that Coin was still in the back but I was on a mission. I NEEDED to find that room with Coin in it. I grabbed a nurse out of the triage room and told her who I was looking for and she immediately knew who I was talking about. She led me and Teresa to a tiny room and opened the door. Inside, Coin was sitting on a little couch with numerous coaches all standing and sitting in the room with her.

As I made my way over to sit on the arm of the couch next to her, the doctor came in to give her the news that her husband had not made it. I know that this was the hardest thing that my friend has and probably will ever have to encounter in her life...or so I pray. I know this because for the five minutes that followed the doctor coming in was the only time since then that I have seen her break. I know that my heart break was NOTHING compared to hers, but that might have been the hardest thing that I have ever had to do. What do you say in a time like that? All I could do was wrap my arms around her violent shaking body and cry with her. I couldn't say it's going to be ok or I'm here. Nobody wants to here that hallmark crap. So, I just sat and cried along with her and all of the football coaches. After about five minutes, she proceeded with talking. Not the happy chat, but a cold shaky tone.

After going through the hospital Lora, Teresa and I went to her house with her to stay until her family could get in from out of state. She was the one offering us food and drinks and apologizing for her house being a mess (it was far from messy). We managed to feed her a few bites of yogurt and a plum. Through the next couple days, she plunged on trying to keep herself going and healthy for the baby.

She got through the calling hours and funeral and went for her first OBGYN appointment. Her parents, Shawn's mom, Lora and I went with her only to see that a heartbeat could not be found. They reassured that it might be too early and sent her with a script for her dr. in Michigan when she returned.

She went back to have her second disastrous blow. She had a miscarriage. Lora and I were at an event together waiting the phonecall. When it had not come yet, I decided to call. Coin answered the phone crying. The second time she has broken.

She has had her up times and down times since then. But, during her rollercoaster ride. During this time when the strongest of men would have been brought to their knees. I have watched her in awe. Even when stripped of all she has ever known, stripped of her husband, her child, her home, her life. She stands naked before everybody...transparent...feelings and emotions worn for all to see. And yet she does all of this with her chin out and head held high. Held together, full of pride thinking of the lessons Shawn has taught her, and striving to find herself in a world that has dealt her a hand that some might find cold.

Today, she called me. Shawn's autopsy came in. I listened as she read it and silently sobbed until the snot was running into my mouth. Once again, I sat in awe. While she read, she cried. But, I could almost picture her reading.....her head drooping....but only momentarily. Collecting herself together, and pushing forward towards the great unknown.

If any of you have ever read her post or Angie Smith's post , I'm sure you can relate to the feeling of awe. Here I am with my Chris and my crazy three boys. There is no way I can ever truly relate to the feelings that she feels, I can only imagine. But, I am in awe. I know that Coin is destined to greater things. I don't know what, but I know there is something. God has given her such grace and she has accepted it so gracefully. She is already reaching out to others who have suffered losses. (She must always be helping somebody...ALWAYS).

So,'s to you. You aren't just one of my best friends. You are an inspiration for life. For Grace.


  1. Thanks for sharing this post. I read Jen's blog. I hope she is doing okay. Send a hug to her for me.

  2. Such a sad story. I read Jen blog's also.

  3. That is so sad. My heart goes out to her!

  4. Ok...I know you told me not to, but I'm going to anyways 'cuz I can do whatever I want to :-)

    But all I'm gonna say is Thank you! and I love you guys!!


  5. jixnuiz.nieoanai

    (that was from Bo)

  6. What a beautiful and heartfelt post Jen, I have been reading her blog since just after her hubby passed away, she's a woman of great courage, she had been an inspiration to so many. You're an amazing friend to her.

  7. Wiping tears from eyes.... beautiful dedication to your admiral friend! xx

  8. Thank you all for commenting. If you haven't visited Coin's blog yet, I urge you to do so. She's got an amazingly inspirational story unfolding and she always welcomes words of encouragement.


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