Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Her Free Spirit

I had never met anyone quite like her.

She was from Arizona--a place I'd never been. She loved the sun and drove her very own silver car. I came from the windy plains of Idaho and walked or took the bus.

She took classes because they sounded interesting--drawing, beginning piano, fencing--not because they were for her major. Her attendance at class was sporadic, because she needed to drive up the canyon and see the fall leaves or because she had heard about a cool something happening somewhere that had nothing to do with BYU. While my grades weren't spectacular, I always attended class and kept my schedule focused on filling requirements.

She convinced me to skip church one Sunday to attend Mass in Salt Lake City. I visited my first Catholic cathedral and shook the hand of an LDS prophet on that very day.

She reminded me that college was a time to play. When I had to take a 4 am janitorial job to stay at school, she would try to be quiet while I slept, but on occasion she still could convince me to dance around the room with pantyhose over our faces way past midnight.

She was a free spirit who loved people. She was my roommate, and she taught me much about life and living in those seven short months.

Our paths split after that first year of college. I married a year later, began our family, and followed Brad to Chicago for school. She went on to grand adventures around the country and the world, flitting from interesting thing to interesting thing. She married, had two children, and divorced. She bought a VW bus and toured the country with her children, supporting them through odd jobs and garage sale finds. She gave her children experiences and love and taught them to see joy in this life.

When Brad took an internship in AZ during law school, my freshman BYU roommate took me to lunch and showed me around. She was a desert rat, and little did I know that her tour of Mesa's malls would be my first introduction to my adopted home town.

We've lived less than two miles apart for the past fifteen years, and while we haven't seen each other a lot, that bond created over seven short months in a concrete-walled dorm has always lingered. We would see each other at church functions, kids' football games, leave comments on each other's blogs (you can find her blog here) or chat on Facebook.

I always knew she was there and she always knew where she could find me. A few weeks ago, another of our roommates came down for a quick weekend. We went out to dinner and talked for hours. We talked of our children (all 14 of them), our families, our favorite recipes, and our chickens.

We also talked about Robin's breast cancer. We joked and didn't joke. We talked of treatments and PET scans. We laughed to keep tears away.

The lumps and lymph nodes have been removed and tested. She cut her hair short and cleaned and organized and prepared.

It's her first treatment today.

Shedding tears and thinking of you today, Robin. Thank you for teaching me that there is so much more to life than following rules and schedules. Thank you for making me live a little bit. Thank you for some of the best memories of my life.

Prayers to heaven that all will be well and that your free spirit will be flying again soon.

Love you.


  1. That was really nice of you Jen. I not only " made THE blog ", I AM the blog. :)

  2. That was a beautiful post...almost eulogistic. ;) Thank you for saying such kind things about me. We really did have some fun times...and the cool thing, you were often willing to join me in my antics. The Sunday we met Ezra T Benson was quite memorable indeed...imagine just randomly picking a ward in SLC to go to and finding him on the stand. I loved that we didn't listen when we were told to remain at our seats while he left...and that the security guard motioned for us to go up to him. I loved talking to him and telling him we were not missionaries but BYU students. It was a great experience for us both.

  3. cancer sucks! my brother in law who lives in mesa is recovering from hodgkins stage 4b lymphoma. it was a rough road the first year, but now he has had clean PET scans every 6 months for the last two years. it's amazing how having someone close to you have cancer just sort of takes life, dumps it all out on the floor, and then somehow you have to get down and pick it all back up. never goes back in the same way as it fit before, but it can be the amazing part--the not fitting back in the way it fit before. prayers for your friend. clearly, she's a special gal!

  4. Sending thoughts and prayers her way. I've watched two of my best friends make this journey. Not an easy one, but they are both well and happy today. Wishing the same for your friend.