jessI write tonight with sad news and a plea. On Friday morning, Jess, a woman from my hometown, was killed along with her younger brother in a car accident. She was a single mother of three children, whom her sister now plans to raise. I want to ask you to click here and help them if you can.

Jess and I were in totally different circles in high school. We’d gone to elementary school together, too, and while we weren’t especially close then either, she came to my birthday parties and I thought she was pretty and nice. But the strangeness that is Facebook brought us together in the past few years. She was a reader of this blog. And I so enjoyed her frequent, feisty, funny status updates. She was a firebrand of lefty politics who took no shit and always said exactly what she thought. She was funny and acerbic and whip-smart. She was a fiercely loving mother who was proud of her children and truly enjoyed them. She was a powerful advocate for the health of her daughter with epilepsy. Jess finished her associates degree this spring and had just begun nursing school, a goal of which she’d dreamed for a long time. She was rightfully proud of what she had accomplished on her own and was excited to begin the next part of her journey. But then her father became seriously ill and she and her family moved to West Virginia (from Worcester) to care for him. She was just settling in there when she and her brother (whom she’d helped raise) died.

I hadn’t spoken to Jess for probably twenty years. But she’s been on my mind almost daily in the four years or so we’ve been Facebook friends, which is the odd thing about this whole Internet friendship business. She’s supported me through Das Big Boy’s challenges and triumphs, and I hers with her daughter and school. So to have her light extinguished when she has children who depend on her, so many who love her, and when she has accomplished so much and was set to accomplish more is heartbreaking. I might never have seen her again, but knowing she is gone hurts. I will miss her.

I’ve used this space to nudge readers to give money to causes before. This one’s not a cause, really. You’re not giving money to some charity and helping people you don’t know (although that’s great, too). You’re giving money to help a young woman raise her sister’s three children. To feed and house and clothe them. To pay for medication. To try to do something tiny like brighten their Christmas when they’ve just suffered a loss from which they will never recover. Some of you don’t know Jess, or even me, but you might be inspired to help a bit. But some of you grew up with us. Guys, let’s help this family. If you have the means, give. I’ve talked about this before: that in the face of sadness or suffering, it means so much to do something, no matter how small. Because you can read this and say, “How tragic.” Or you can read this and say, “How tragic,” and then do your tiny part to help.
To Jess’s family and friends, know that many of us are thinking of you and sending our love and strength.

Be well. Be safe. Love each other.



3 Comments on “Give”

  1. Laura Quinn says:

    wow I just read this and all I can do is cry…. I am Jessie and Liam’s sister. I want to thank each and every one of you for helping it means more to me then you will ever realize and I am just so shocked as to how many people are helping me and my family through this tragedy. life has not been easy for us and I keep questioning why? why am I always faced with such hardships? losing my brother and sister who were all I really had has iced the cake… I am blessed to have my sisters children and I made a promise to do any and everything I can to make sure they are taken care of along with my two boys. so again thank you all for your donation to helping me get started on the long road I have ahead of me. god bless

    • Leda says:

      Laura, thank you so much for your comment. That you took the time to write to me and my readers means so much to me. Please know that we all continue to think of you, and that in this dark time many people are sending you their love and strength; it’s not much in terms of all that you’re facing, but it’s here. I’m heartbroken for you, Cam, Evan, and Jack. But I am so glad that they have you. I know Jess’s big heart and strong spirit live on in your caring for her children.

      Please let me know if there is anything I can do.

      Much love and my deepest condolences, Leda

  2. […] to give, Jess’s family could still use our help. Her sister Laura was kind enough to comment here. Please continue to send her all of your good thoughts, love, prayers, white light, positive […]

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