Colorado – 2006

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“Sometimes I forget why I’m sad, but then I remember and I’m much more sad.”

I just came back from Atlanta. I was visiting my brother there. We all were visiting my brother there and remembering his 18-year-old daughter.

Jennifer Ann Crecente. Jenny-Penny, I used to call her Jenny-Penny.

We were in Atlanta to be with my brother and bury his teenage daughter.

I can accept the horror of what happened. I can understand that we all have a time to die, that life isn’t meant to last forever, but I can’t accept what this is doing to my brother.

“This is so hard. It’s so sad.I’ve never seen Drew cry before; it’s so upsetting to see him not happy.”

Saturday evening my brother’s odd little house, with its strange corners and mismatched colors, filled with friends who came to say goodbye to Jennifer.

Friends fill the sunroom, crowd into the den, stand in the kitchen. I walk around and talk, hug, cry.

It was nice to see that my brother has so many friends, so many people who care for him and are there for him.

They were such an odd assortment of people, all made common by my brother’s affability and charm.

We watch a slideshow my brother put together, pictures of Jenny-Penny with her family. Images of her eight years old, smiling for her school picture. Images of her playing with my 4-year-old son. Images of her as the flower girl at my wedding. A picture of her hands covering her face, hiding that big smile, those beautiful eyes.

Where are you Jenny-Penny?

“Imagine a 12-year-old girl hanging out with her dad, helping him clean up the house. He puts on some music, some Ella Fitzgerald and she starts just bopping along to the song.”

Somewhere music plays. It’s Ella Fitzgerald, she want’s some water from the waiter. People cry. Somewhere, maybe somewhere, people don’t.

The funeral home isn’t packed, but the right people are there, the people who want and need to be.

Jennifer is in an urn sitting behind a mound of tulips, baby’s breath and nosegay.

My brother is standing in front of the gathering dressed in black. He’s talking to the people, telling them all about his daughter. A proud father.

Everyone but Drew cries. Then he sits, then he sobs.

“Brian?”

My mom sounds tired, frail, empty on the phone.

“What’s wrong?”

“Brian, are you sitting?”

What’s wrong mom?”

“Jennifer’s been murdered, she’s been murdered.”

Maybe I can’t accept it.

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