Today is Jackie’s 36th birthday, the third we’ve celebrated without her.

Since Jackie’s birthday fell in November, she was the first in our group of friends to turn a year older. We always threw her crazy parties for her birthday, but the year she turned thirty she decided to throw the party herself. Jackie’s thirtieth birthday was only a few months after she was diagnosed with her brain tumor, and she somehow managed to plan an amazing party while she was recovering from brain surgery, undergoing chemotherapy, and easing back into working.

I remember sitting next to her a few days before the party. We were talking about how much she’d put into pulling the whole thing off, and she said something like, “Well, who knows how many more of these things I have left? Gotta do it up while I can.” I was horrified, and told her that she was going to beat cancer and have another fifty birthdays. I was naïve, but she wasn’t.

Her party was great, very Jackie, held in a fancy champagne bar in San Francisco. Friends and family flew in from all over.

party guests

Jackie was in her element, moving around the party all night, dancing and laughing. She was surrounded by the people she loved, and we were so happy to be around her.

Brianne, Christy, Heather, Jackie!, Catherine

This picture of her laughing, champagne in her hand, is exactly how I remember her from the entire night:


I’m so glad she threw that huge party. She only had three more birthdays with us.

Jackie’s mom posted on Facebook that today is not only Jackie’s birthday, but also National Kindness Day. She asked that we all do a random act of kindness in Jackie’s honor.It’s very fitting that one of the sweetest, most selfless people I’ve ever known was born on National Kindness Day. For the last two years, on Jackie’s birthday and the anniversary of her passing, the kids and I have done something nice for strangers. We’ll usually go to Starbucks (Jackie loved Starbucks) and buy a bunch of people coffee “from Jackie.” We’ll do it again today.

Happy birthday, Jackie. I miss you so, so much.

Jackie and Maddie
The first time Jackie held Maddie, right after Maddie came home from the NICU.