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Thursday, March 09, 2006

something about judy

At Carina's suggestion, and Darin's request (the first time he has requested anything regarding my blog), I am going to attempt to write Something About Judy. And by Something, I mean the memories I have of her.

In August, 1999, the phone rang at our apartment at Wymount Terrace. The caller i.d. said "Judy Brackett" along with an on-campus number. I answered and was told, "This is Judy Brackett from the BYU Financial Aid Office. Is Darin there?" He wasn't home, so I took down the message: "We'd like to offer him the position of Financial Aid Processor that he interviewed for. Please have him call me as soon as he gets in." I was so excited, and Judy was very kind. She later let Darin know that as he was being considered for the job, it had come down to a choice between him and a girl. Someone said, "We don't usually hire men for this position...", and Judy replied, "Well, at least we know he won't get pregnant." (Someone's pregnancy, of course, being the reason for the position being available in the first place.)

Darin was the processor for Judy (a financial aid counselor) for quite some time before he took another job in that office, and then eventually became, like Judy, a counselor. They got to work side by side, even in training for being "Super Counselors" - trained in financial aid and admissions.

The whole time they worked together, Judy was a big part of our kids' lives, especially li'l ~j.. Li'l ~j. was only 4 months old when Darin started working at the BYU, so Judy watched li'l ~j. grow up. As a toddler, li'l ~j. loved to go into Judy's office to play with the collection of teddy bears, all outfitted in appropriate sweaters for the current season. As li'l ~j. got older, she would request to go to Judy's office because of Judy's jar of candy, always full and ready for li'l ~j.. Judy would travel and return with a gift for li'l ~j. - a teddy bear or a dress or (yes) candy. Judy was at Taylor's funeral. She always gave a baby gift and a mommy gift, when a new baby joined our family. We were extended family.

I think it was about a year ago when she was first diagnosed with cancer. She chose an aggressive chemotherapy treatment and won that battle. Unfortunately, a short time later, the cancer returned and took over her body. She gracefully bowed out of her position at BYU, but not without being surprised with a grand tribute video presentation, showcasing just a small fraction of the people that love her so much (including my crying husband).

We last saw Judy a few weeks before Christmas. (I mean we as a family - Darin was able to see her at a luncheon a few weeks ago.) She had been asking us for a few months to bring the girls over so that they could feed the ducks behind her house. I'm not sure why we didn't go sooner - we missed duck-feeding season...but we did go to her house one Monday night in December. She was sitting on her floor, surrounded by neat stacks of photos, photo albums, papers (dictations?), and a voice recorder. She was very weak but welcomed us with open arms. We stayed and chatted until our girls were no longer able to be pleasant (although Darin and I could have sat at her feet for many more hours). We hugged and kissed goodbye.


Saturday afternoon, I received a text message on my phone from Darin that Judy had passed away. I see it all as a victory - her doctors had said she wouldn't make it to Christmas, but she did. She had a lovely holiday surrounded by her entire family. And that's who was with her when she left us on Saturday.

The viewing was tonight. We were all going to go, but at the very last minute, I decided that Darin should just go with li'l ~j., and I would stay home with Curly & Superstar. Li'l ~j.'s almost 7, and though she's very (perhaps a little too) familiar with death, she needed closure - Judy's been a constant in her life. Darin and I will attend the funeral tomorrow, which I'm sure will be very crowded, filled with, again, a small fraction of those whose lives she has touched.

(In case you're interested, here's a link to her obituary.)


Bek said...

That was a really nice tribute to her. It doesn't seem fair when things like this happen to people we know. It always seems like it should happen to other people.

I was reading her obituary and guestbook and saw that my best friend from High School's parents had signed it. Random. The world really is small.

Carina said...

Judy's daughter became one my little sister's best friends, and that meant that Judy was now our WHOLE family's friend. She was such a kind woman who raised an amazing family. She'll be missed by her growing group of grandchildren. We've lost a good one.

dalene said...

Thank you for sharing that. I frequently look through the obituaries and send up little prayers for comfort as I think about who must be mourning the loss of one more loved one.

I will be sending up one for you and yours tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

that's a nice blog jenny. my only memory other than visiting and meeting her in darin's office was when she was talking to em as i changed her diaper in costco.

Anonymous said...

Nice entry. Sorry for the loss. And I loved "the BYU" comment.

Anonymous said...

Hey ! That was very nice. I only remember meeting her once, in Darin's office but I remember thinking she was a very nice lady. I also know that she was a Grandma to your girls and I am glad thankful for them to have one nearby. Grandma's (or Grandma figures) are important in little ones lives. I am sorry for the loss in your lives, I know Darin greatly admired and loved her. I think it is was good to let Rae go to the viewing, life doesn't get any easier with age and children DO need closure on things, just like the rest of us do. I read her obit. I love the difference in the way they are written out there. To actuallly acknowledge a return to a loving Father in Heaven. What the world is missing! Thanks for writing more. I love you!

La Yen said...

Anyone who loves your family is good, in my book. I will send Rae and Em some candy, in case they are going through withdrawls.