“I didn’t think it possible, but my heart has grown another size thanks to the generosity of the donating family, the mission of the KWF, and the memories made with my wonderful family. I am very similar to Karen in that I too want FUN on the calendar. I need to write it down, to anticipate it, and to imagine what it will be” - Jen Anderson
Do Today Well. That was Jen’s life motto, her daily outlook and the legacy she left behind. You see, as my mom would put it...cancer sucks. The chemo, the radiation, losing your hair, the fatigue, the nausea, all the ‘what ifs’ and the extra BS that comes along the way. But one thing cancer does provide is a new life perspective for all those it affects. “Cancer brings out the best in everybody. You really get to see the best side of the world. The KWF is the exclamation point on that statement,” said Jen of her cancer journey in 2015. Jen had an appreciation for life. She understood the power of LIVING for today.
I (virtually) sat down with Jen’s mom, Roz Mathie, this past month to learn a little bit more about herself and Jen’s lasting impact on all those who crossed her path. Roz, originally from the East Coast of Australia ended up moving to the states after high school. She attended Miami University and soon after found her calling as a nurse. Roz practiced at the Christ Hospital for 17 years. And just as Roz lived to help other individuals, she expressed how Jen lived out a similar life mantra. “You know, she should’ve been a lawyer...she loved fixing people’s stories,” Roz states. When asked about Jen’s personality Roz spoke of her daughter's quick wit, intelligence and humor. She was a critical thinker, a model of efficiency, as well as incredibly hilarious. Jen was always telling funny stories. Much of which she did on their KWF trip.
Jen and her family were given a Lake Lanier vacation back in 2014 thanks to the Davenport family. Roz recalls the getaway just like it was yesterday. 11 members of Jen’s family attended the vacation timed perfectly for her daughter’s 35th birthday. Roz mentioned that they wanted to do something special for Jen and make her favorite dessert...fondue! Jen’s daughters, Greta & Maren along with their aunt went up to the kitchen, cracked open the fondue machine only to find that it didn’t work. So they then went to the second kitchen but appeared to be out of luck - no fondue machine (as expected). The girls then ventured to the THIRD KITCHEN to find a perfectly working fondue machine and prepared the world’s best birthday dessert for their mom. “Three kitchens, two fondue machines!” Roz laughs. It’s the little (sometimes extravagant) things that make these experiences so memorable.
Although the fondue was exciting, it definitely wasn’t the trip highlight. Jen’s youngest daughter Greta learned how to swim that week. A memory that the whole family will remember forever. It was a much-needed vacation, a getaway, a chance for Jen to live out the meaning of ‘doing today well.’
As I finished up my conversation, I asked her if there was anything else she would like people to know about Jen or the life mantra she left behind.
Roz left me with this, “Do today well. Sometimes I can only do 15 minutes. Then I go for the next 15 minutes. You can’t fix what you did yesterday, you don’t know what is coming tomorrow...but you’ve got today.”
So today, do just that. Slow it all down and do it well.
By Angeline Wellington