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Saturday, November 24, 2012

Jenavieve Phillips. Words are not enough.

Jenavieve Phillips age 28 died on November 16, 2012 in Gilbert, Arizona. Born December 19, 1983 in the Republic of Panama she is survived by her parents Joe Phillips and Jackie Gresh of Douglasville, Georgia, oldest brother Joseph Jr. and his wife Kate and her brother Jonathan. They currently reside in South Korea and Georgia respectively. Also surviving are numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, great-aunts and great-uncles. Even at a young age Jenavieve loved travel and chose just about a year ago to make Gilbert, Arizona her home. An accomplished soccer player she played for and loved BYU Women Soccer and played on the U-19 National Women Soccer Club Champions in 2003. She also served an honorable full-time mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in the California San Francisco mission from August 2008 – March 2010. Jenavieve was also a proud employee of Alpine Valley Bread.

Where to start?  I attended a funeral today of someone near my age.  Jen was only a year and half older than me.  It makes it more real.   I grew up with Jen.  She was always so full of life and such an amazing athlete.  She would sleep during seminary, but I think we always knew she was listening.  She didn't care about stereotypes or divisions.  She truly saw everyone just as they were...daughters and son of our Heavenly Father.

As my mom, Drew, and I walked around the room looking at pictures and memories of this amazing young woman, I caught her casket in the other room out of the corner of my eye.  This entire week, as I have been contemplating how this morning would go, I knew one thing - seeing her would not be easy.  I hadn't cried at all this week.  There had been moments when I would think about her, but only a tear or two were shed.  Now I really understand why people want to view a body before it's placed in the ground.  I don't want to call it closure.  There's nothing about seeing a dead person lying in a casket that is "closing" to me.  Seeing Grandpa Sleight wasn't that difficult.  I have been to many funerals where seeing the deceased was not hard.  But seeing adorable Jen laying in that pretty sky blue box with white pillows all around in her white dress...it made life just feel that much more precious. 

I saw Drew reach his hand out to touch the white cover.  He held it together a lot better than I did.  I just wanted to hug her.  I wanted to fall at my knees and tell her how much it meant to me when she hugged me after not seeing her for years.  I wanted to tell her how comforting it was to have her as my navigator on our temple trip to Birmingham.  I wanted to tell her how much I missed seeing her moves on the dance floor when we went out for hers and my roommate Becca's birthdays.

The service was beautiful.  So many memories.  So much life.  My mom reminded me about our Young Women's basketball team in the Powder Springs Stake.  We had one maneuver.  Give the ball to Jen.  She'll make it in.  I remember when she almost fell out of her chair one morning in seminary.  She would tilt her chair back and try to balance by putting her foot on the chair in front.  We knew when she was in a deep sleep because she'd almost fall over.  I remember her fighting with the guy at Wendy's because all she wanted was a plain potato, nothing on it.  She said she'd pay for the entire thing, but she couldn't eat the other stuff.  The guy just didn't understand. 

I can't imagine what her parents are going through.  I really can't imagine what was going through my mom's head.  All I kept thinking was that no parent should outlive their child.  When I first heard the news, I just kept thinking she was robbed of so much more life that she had to live.  But she fulfilled her life and her purpose here on Earth.  Listening to the amazing stories and hearing the words of lives that she has touched.  I know Heavenly Father has a much better purpose for her in Heaven. 

I'll miss you, girl.  You always had a smile on your face and a warm hug.  I know you're still with us.  And I know you hear all the prayers we have in our hearts.  You won't ever be forgotten.

8 comments:

  1. This is so sweet Nubia. I'm glad you were able to go. I've been thinking so much about Jen recently and miss her too. Hope you're doing well...

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    1. Hey Tracy! It was good to see Aaron and Amanda there, but I didn't have a chance to talk to them. Sad when you see so many people on account of a funeral. It was wonderful.

      We're doing well. Just getting through all of it. Hope y'all are doing well!!

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  2. This was beautiful. I know the Phillips Family from our time at Fort Knox. I googled Jen's name and was brought here. This was beautifully written, thank you for sharing such wonderful memories of a beautiful woman.

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    1. I'm glad it was able to reach other people! It was a wonderful service full of amazing words and beautiful emotions.

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  3. Well said. You know.. it may seem like she was robbed of life. And so she may have been, but who I truly feel for.. are the people who never got to meet her. Who never got to see her smile. We can carry on her legacy, if you will, and only hope to live half as well as she did in 29 years. -kim

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  4. Thank you for the kindness and love you showed Jenavieve. She was and is one of a kind. Jackie and I could never had expected this nor been prepared for this. She seemed so indestructible, so resilient so very special. Bless you all for being a part of her life and we hope too to live worthy enough to be with her some day. We miss her so and will not be complete till we meet again. Love Joe and Jackie

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  5. Dear Jenavieve,

    I remember in 2005 when we talked about one day opening up an advertising firm. You doing all the advertising and marketing and I would do all of the web development and graphic design. We chatted about that in the student-athlete building for awhile, you in your BYU Soccer apparel and me in my BYU Football apparel. It felt like yesterday that we were g-chatting and you telling me about the exciting job you had in Arizona and asking me for advice on mobile websites. I am so saddened. I also remember in 2005 when I went over your house in Provo for Valentine's Day and with your friends and you made us hot water cornbread with honey on the top. To this day that is still the best cornbread I have ever tasted, I thank you for your friendship. You did so much for the world with the little time you had on this Earth and may you be a beacon of light for us all that still love you and keep you in our hearts.

    Forever
    Gary Lovely

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    1. Thank you Gary for your kind words as even now we miss her so and are thankful for her wonderful friend. Someday we hope to have a scholarship fund in her name at BYU as she wanted to give back...

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