Sadness. Grief. Disbelief. Shock. Pain.
A lighting designer, and a friend, passed away last week. She died in her sleep, sometime between Wednesday night and Friday night, when she was found in her bed. She was 36 years young, vibrant, talented beyond measure, genuine, lovely, everything I strive to be. She was known for her distinctive clothing choices (usually climbing ladders in skirts and bare feet, focusing lights, sometimes without underwear), her constantly changing hair color, and her warm smile and friendly words for everybody around her.
I found out early Saturday morning, when I logged on to Facebook, and the first post in my newsfeed was from an actress commenting on Jen's passing. I was in shock, I couldn't fathom what it meant. When I checked Jen's profile page, there were more comments, the news from her brother, and throughout the day, the news unfolded. Cardiac myopathy, weak heart muscles (I think). Two of her uncles had also died from this, one at the age of 25.
My grief turned to a dull pain, from that initial shock. Jen and I worked on so many shows together over the last ten years, I can't even count or name them all. Eventually, I'll put a list together, but for now, I'm just missing her.
I last saw her almost two weeks ago, in St. Cloud, at a tech rehearsal for "Arsenic & Old Lace". This is the one show I've costumed this year for which I didn't create anything - I either pulled the costumes from my stock, or borrowed them from a couple of theaters. It also opened the same night as "I Hate Hamlet", so I could only go to the one tech rehearsal, to drop off the costumes and say "Hey" to the other designers. Originally, I wasn't even supposed to be there that night, but I wasn't needed at the cue-to-cue for "I Hate Hamlet", so I made the trek to St. Cloud on a Monday afternoon/evening, and had one last quick chat with Jen.
I'm so glad I did. I will always remember our shared love of Pink, wearing sundresses and working barefoot. And in tribute to Jen, yesterday I wore a short skirt, no underwear, striped footless tights, and no shoes in the costume shop. I may not have the words to pay tribute, but I have the wardrobe.
Hug your people, people. Enjoy every sandwich.