Remembering Jen

mejencharlie

mejenkyokoshower

My dear friend Jen Wilson passed away last night after a long and heroic battle with cancer. Her friends and family are all grieving today.

Jen’s husband and mine are in the same band and we traveled the world together. Many nights, we said goodnight across a bus aisle before drawing the curtains of our bunks. In the morning, we stumbled into each other on our way to find coffee. We sat around together for hours in both grand hotel suites and crappy European dressing rooms. She was my stage-side companion for the last ten years and in a way, we were family.

When I showed up in the Weezer picture, she had been at it for years already. She welcomed me into the camp with open arms and taught me the rockwife ropes. I can only hope that I’ve learned to weather this blessed and challenging life with half as much grace and humor as she did. Jen was real. She managed to be the salt of the earth, while always carrying the latest Louis Vuitton bag. Above all, she was devoted to her family and friends.

When Scott and I were desperately trying to have a baby, Jen was already pregnant with their second child. Many of our friends with new babies acted uncomfortable around us. Jen was a notable exception. She was able to truly listen to me, sometimes offering advice, sometimes just being a sympathetic ear. More than once she prescribed immediate retail therapy and dragged me out in pursuit of some much-needed distraction. She was able to be present for my pain and so she was fully able to be present for our joy when Tariku finally came home. She threw me an amazing baby shower. Jen threw a lot of showers. She was the girl who wanted to give you a party.

mejenpeg

I love the story about Jen working as a barista at Starbucks when the “Undone” video first came out. People would come into her work and say, “I saw your husband on MTV!” She would just nod and smile but she hadn’t even seen the video yet, because they couldn’t afford cable.

jenpatscott

I remember a flight to New York one time, during which Jen was holding Ian and I was holding Tariku. We were across the aisle from each other and both the boys were being fussy. I was far tenser than she about having screaming babies on a plane. I remember looking at how she was rocking her son and shaping my arms around my baby in the same way, learning from the wisdom of a more experienced mother. Soon they were both quiet.

There is so much she taught me. I will take it with me. I will remember her sunny smile always.

group

A Wife’s-Eye View

side-stage.jpg
blaze.jpg

The guys saw the tour out with a hometown show at Irvine Meadows. We watched from the side of the stage and Tariku picked up a classic move from the folks in the front row. He’s now pumping his fist with the best of ’em. He had extra time to practice, as we stayed to watch Blink’s first few songs. By that time, people were giving me the I-can’t-believe-you-have-your-baby-out-after-10pm stink eye. But they don’t know my baby. He was thrilled to party all night then sleep in until 9, splayed out across the pillows with a bottle still clutched in his hand and a dog on either side of him.

the-gang.jpg

Here’s a pic of the gang backstage. That’s me, T, the very lovely Nicole Amdurer (Josh’s babymama and soon-to-be bride- someone finally told those nice kids that they were living in sin), Josh Freese, and Jen and Pat Wilson. The best part of the evening was seeing Jen out and about, crowned with soft, blond hair and facing her very last radiation treatment the next day. I feel privileged to have been a part of her life over the past year as she kicked the ass of some really awful breast cancer. I learned a lot from her about honesty and courage and how being the perfect mother doesn’t mean always being perfect.

Sayonara, tour. Next stop….. is a secret. The new album comes out in October.