Borrowing My Girlfriend’s Garlick Press

Lisa Garlick is the mother of Jocelyn.  Or Jocie.  Or Jiggy.

I am the mother of Parker. Or Frenchie.  Or Par Coeur. Or PFB.

Five years ago, we didn’t know each other and couldn’t have ever found one another, I don’t think, on this big wobbly planet. But a kind and common friend, Diane, and our cruel and common tragedies, our children’s tragic deaths, brought us together. We bonded online.  It was instantaneous for me, and I think it was pretty quick for Lisa, too, who is a woman of such honesty and such sheer heart-volume, it’s been a marvelous lesson just taking in all she has to give.

Since there are certain geographic constraints, we only see each other once a year. At the Parker Hike. Every year she brings her dear Dean. . .

. . .and their youngest son Chet. . .

. . .and every year they make homemade (scrumptious) flavored beeswax lip balm they call Jiggy Stix, which they hand out to all the hike participants.  (Just to give you an idea of their capacity for giving. And to reveal to you that hunky, soulful Dean is a beekeeper on the side, as well as a bereaved father and splendid all around human being. And Chet, the sly genius, is a poet.)

And Lisa, besides all this, is a quilter.  A master quilter.  Twice already, Lisa has hand made our family the most impeccably designed quilts — major artistic renderings of carefully selected fabrics stitched thread-by-thread into visual harmony with our Parker’s clothing: his volleyball uniforms; his basketball uniforms; his drum-beater T-shirts; the light blue swim trunks he was wearing that July evening he lunged back into the whirlpool to try to grab his drowning classmate.

Yes. Those quilts are sacred to us.  I only crawl under mine when the world feels wobblier than usual, which, you know this as well as I, can be just about any time.

The hike — The Wagon Train — has brought me face-to-face with Lisa, and all of us face-to-face with Michelle, who recently lost her beloved mother.

And with Sharlee, who, when she was a girl, lost both her father and oldest brother weeks apart to tragic accidents.  She also lost her sweet mother to cancer.

And with Julie, who cared for her mighty and terminally ill son Brigham for 14 years, then held him in her arms as he expired into the next life.

And with Patsy.  And Ellen.  And Maja.  And Cheri.  And Bonnie Jean.  And Jacque.  And Angelique. And Renee.  And Kathryn.  And Glen.  And Aaron.  And . . . Such friends.

Michelle’s husband, Eric, and two of five adorable sons

Such magnificent souls.

Dean carrying Michelle’s youngest, Mary

Such constant manifestation of God’s solid everpresence in an ever-wobbly world.

Emily, Brigham’s sister; My niece Eliza and Michelle

Part of the Bradfords and our new Singaporean friend, Chloe Ith

Lisa’s blog is a gust of clean, clear air to read, and treats beautifully this year’s Parker Hike.  I haven’t even asked her yet, but I’m inviting you to drop in and visit her place. Here’s the address:

You’ll love her, as I do.


© Melissa Dalton-Bradford and, 2012.  This work (text and images) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. . . which means, as long you’re not selling it, you’re welcome to share, but please remember to give me a link and mention my name.

8 thoughts on “Borrowing My Girlfriend’s Garlick Press

  1. I keep my “Jiggy Stick” on the nightstand by my bedside. Because:
    1) I swipe it on every night before going to sleep.
    2) It is a meaningful reminder to pray morning and night.
    3) It reminds me to thank God for the beatiful souls He has given me to raise.
    4) It reminds me to pray for those who no longer have all of their loved ones & children by their side.
    5) It reminds me of our beautiful day each summer hiking and honoring friends and loved ones–which is the essence of the Gospel–we walk through this mortal journey side-by-side, through the good and the bad.
    5) And lastly the phrase “Let’s get Jiggy” runs through my mind everytime I see it and that makes me smile.
    I have only met Lisa in passing once, but I feel of that families kindness and strength and appreciate their association.

    • Jacque, I hope lIsa drops by to read this. She would be moved to think someone far away is drawn close to her, to her daughter, to God and to His children through a kind gesture she has made. It says lots about her. Lots about you.

  2. Melissa, what a beautiful surprise to visit here and find your words written of my Jocie. Ironic that such tragic loss in both our worlds can produce such an endearing and enduring friendship. I simply cannot believe that my healing journey these past 4 1/2 years could have been possible without your words of depth and grace to steer me through the darkness! And Jacque what a further delight to read your comment above. You have summed up exactly the purpose behind our jiggystick. Life is beautiful and good and sometimes very difficult for all, but with love and concern from the people we surround ourselves with…tomorrow comes anew!

  3. Lisa, We both know 4 1/2 years is like last week. Or more like yesterday. And even after writing these posts, we’ll find ourselves in a closet tomorrow or next week, curled up for a moment or longer. Then love draws us out again. Thank you always for adding wise and hopeful words.

  4. Jocie, Parker, Brigham, Tommy, Dre’ . . . they have all touched my life in indelible ways, whether I knew them in body or not. As have Lisa, and Dean, and Melissa, and Randall, and Michelle, and Jacque, and Cheri, and Chante’ . . . and so many others–greathearted survivors of unspeakable loss. Melissa, participating in this yearly Hi(k)e to Kolob, this annual Wagon Train of mourners and co-mourners, has been one of the great blessings of my life. Love, always. Ad infinitum.

  5. My dear friends. . .these friendships were orchestrated from above. This is know. I love you, Melissa and Lisa!

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