The world’s a little dimmer today. I learned last night that a friend from an earlier stage of my life died yesterday morning. It’s strange; last week when going through some old papers and photographs, I came across a picture taken around Christmas time several years ago. It was of Julie and Debbie smiling and wearing tiaras fashioned from magnolia leaves. Shortly after the picture was snapped, the three of us went to a young woman’s house so that Julie could give her some last minute expertise about her table decorations for a dinner she was hosting that evening. That was Julie, helpful and giving.
A phenomenal woman, Julie was the mother of five children, four of them quadruplets, all of whom she dearly loved. In fact, during the time that I spent with Julie as a colleague, it’d be safe to say that her life revolved around her children who were all in their teens at that time. At least the “quad squad” was; her oldest child had been killed in a tragic automobile accident years earlier, and Julie grieved for this young girl, her first born whose life had been snuffed out so soon. Once I asked her how she got through from day to day, and she answered, “From breath to breath.”
Though we were from different walks of life, somehow we clicked, and I think it was because of two of our common interests: children and spirituality. She once told me that I had a certain light that broadcast who I was and what I stood for. Thanks Julie. I’m trying. She introduced me to a line from The Book of Common Prayer, “Give thanks with a grateful heart.” She then jotted down my verse from Alma in The Book of Mormon, “Live in Thanksgiving daily.” No matter what was going on in our personal or professional lives, we had a tacit agreement to remember our blessings…and to remind each other of how fortunate we were if we heard the other complaining.
With a grateful heart, I’m glad to have known Julie Blakely. I hope her children will find some comfort in knowing what a strong, beautiful, loving person their mother was.
8 thoughts on “A Dimmer World”
What is so weird is that I was looking at that same picture a few days ago. Why I have a copy I am not sure, but I was looking at the picture and thinking about how vivacious she always was; it was so sad to hear the news today. I know her children must be devastated.
Remember the day when you spent an hour or so with her at the college? She always had a way of making people (especially young people) feel welcome and important, and although the two of you had never met, I always sensed that she had made a big impression on you.
I am so sorry, marlajayne. It’s never easy to give up loved ones. Good memories and the imprints they leave are always held close.
God Bless You in Your Sorrow and Fond Memories.xox
Thanks for your comments. I KNOW that she’s in a better place today.
Jayne, what beautiful words! I remember Julieanne from Columbia College and remember how beautiful she was–inside and out. Even though it is difficult for us to understand, I, too, am certain she is in a better place; however, that does not totally ease the pain her family and close friends are feeling. May God be with them.
It’s so neat to know someone who knew her as a young woman full of hope and excited anticipation of what life might offer. Although our paths crossed decades later, she was still beautiful and full of vigor…and funny “as all get out” when she wanted to be.
As always, your thoughts so beautifully express how many of us felt about Julie. My office was right next door to hers, and despite a very busy schedule she always took time to chat. She and her daughter Olivia gave me a sunflower frame, and several other sunflower decorations for my office. I have moved several times but the treasured sunflower decorations always have a place. I look at them now and remember what a loving person she was and is. How privilged we all were to have known her, and that we will see her again someday when we cross over.
“She always took the time,” is a key phrase in describing this wonderful woman with such a big heart.
I knew you liked sunflowers and can even now see Van Gogh’s (hope I spelled that right) print on your wall. However, I didn’t know that she gave you other sunflower decorations. This summer I planted some mammoth (really what they were called) sunflowers in the front yard and often thought of you when I looked at them. Next year they’ll conjure up thoughts of Julie too.