Running Ahead

Nov 22

Running Ahead

Friends,

It is with profound sadness that I share with you that on Sunday, November 10th, our beloved Jen passed away peacefully.  She was her brilliant, sharp, loving and courageous self all the way.  She was so beautiful.  To be honest, it’s still hard to believe.  We are trying to process it all.  I supposed there is a certain peace that comes with the gentle ebb & flow of memories, sadness, promise and smiles.  I still talk with her daily.  I’d like to think that we’re still exchanging high-fives.  Her last words?  “I love you so much.”  She said it to me, but I’m sure it was also for our girls, our family & friends – all of us.

Our life verse was Hebrews 12:1-2, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.  And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.  For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”  Pre-marriage,  we committed to an unknown journey with open hands – knowing there were no guarantees and excited to see how God would mature us as individuals and as a couple.  We didn’t know life’s curriculum, but were all-in from the outset.  That never changed despite our circumstance.  I am so happy to have been married to her; I am convinced it was God’s appointment.  Our journey was accelerated.  And with that came the blessing of focused priorities, strengthened community, and intentional living.  We ran a great race – realizing most everything we dreamed about.  I just wish we could continue a little longer here.  I personally will choose to use sadness as a catalyst for hopeful joy.  The reality, now, is that we carry forward with much momentum and a ‘North Star’ in Jen to help guide us in continued intentional relationships.

Jen was known for her fierce intentionality and deep relationships in community.  She has taught me so much that it will take the rest of my life to work out consistent application of what she has demonstrated.  I believe that others have been similarly impacted.  I must say that it has been an absolute privilege to celebrate her life and continued legacy with many from our community this last week.  A Celebration of Life event was widely attended by family & friends from near and far.  Please feel free to join in our continued celebration by watching a recording via the link, below:

https://youtu.be/Hb4nIBEPHbo

 

Sincerely,

Brad (husband)

72 comments

  1. Lisa Smith /

    Oh my Gosh Brad, thank you for posting. Sending love from California.

    • My deepest sympathies to you and your girls. My heart broke to read this update. I am another person who found Jen’s words years ago and who has followed each post she wrote. She has changed my life for the better and her legacy lives on in so many of us. We are blessed to have read the words from her heart.

  2. Norv Mathie /

    Beautifully said Brad

  3. Julie Talford /

    Thanks Brad for this lovely post and for sharing the Celebration of Life video. What an amazing celebration it was. I am so glad we were there to celebrate Jen! You have been an amazing husband through this whole life journey as well.

    What an honor to have known Jen. I actually talk to her at times now too. It somehow brings peace. I have also created a “Jen” board to remind me how to live my own life and keep her intentional message alive as much as possible, hoping that I will inspire others to live that message as well. Intentional living..truly what Jen was all about and oh how well she did it. I am so glad you found her and that she was part of our family.

    Thinking of you and the girls daily with love and prayers.

  4. Heather Rose /

    Oh Jen! What a privilege it has been for these many years to join with you in these pages. A light as bright as yours never dims.
    Brad thank you for loving her so well and thank you for letting us k ow. I light a candle for you and Jen and the girls tonight. Much love.

  5. Michelle /

    Those of us who knew Jen, either in person or in writing (or in both), are all better because of her. Wishing you and the girls and the rest of her family members and close friends comfort as you continue to “Do Today Well” in her honor. Much love. 💕

  6. Tiffany /

    Loving you and the girls as you journey on…with Jen as your North Star. We will ALL be right by your side! 💕 She has changed my life forever…that I know for sure.

  7. Patty Wheeler /

    Brad you are an amazing, wonderful husband, father, son, sibling and man! I was talking to Kathy Roberts today who flew up for the celebration of her
    Life. She told me it was an incredible day with hundreds of people. She said you gave a wonderful tribute to Jen. What a great family you helped create with Jen. Maren and Greta have a strong support system. Kathy and I talked about her last blog which I will always treasure. I sent it to my kids who knew the Mathie “kids”. Following this journey has been a gift to so many. Much love to you and the girls.

  8. Another Jen /

    Oh my goodness. Oh no. I’m so, so profoundly sorry for your loss.

  9. Lisa Lampman /

    Oh Brad I am heartbroken for you and the girls. I lost my husband suddenly almost 4 years ago. My kids and I have been on such a journey of grief and moving forward. I can only imagine how strong of a force Jen was in your lives as I feel that I got to know her through her blog over the years. Sending much love to you and your family.

  10. Bill Griffiths /

    Your family’s love,faith,and focus is an inspiration. So glad I was able to experience it.
    Bill

  11. Margaret /

    Brad you married an Angel.

  12. She was a positive impact on me from afar, although we never met. I know angels met her at the gate. May God hold you, Maren and Greta in the palm of His hand. Much love, many prayers. So sorry for the loss of Jen. 😞♥️

  13. Valerie /

    Thank you so much for taking time to share this sad news. I have been thinking and praying for Jen and all of you. Jen was a bright light in the world. Her sharing through this blog brought me closer to God, and I’m so grateful to have “known” her, albeit virtually. I will be praying for your family. My deepest condolences to you all.

  14. Amy Wheeler /

    I’m at a loss for words. My heart is broken, and I am just so honored to have been able to know her, to be her neighbor even for a short while before we moved away. Our prayers are with you all.

  15. Thanks Brad for your brave words. 😢 love the image of Jen as a “North Star.” Oh the wisdom that girl had…so much to celebrate.

  16. Marie L Griffin /

    Oof. I am so sorry. I don’t know you, or your girls, or your wife – but I feel like I do after having read her beautiful words for years. I was inspired by how well you and she loved each other, her boundless love for your girls, her ability to find joy even in extremely trying times, and her talent with words. I am so sorry for those that knew and loved her, and for those of us who loved reading her thoughts.

  17. Marlayne /

    Well said Brad ~ You & Jen did today & everyday well ~ such mentors ~ setting such wonderful examples for your daughters ~ May Peace, Mercy & Grace fill your hearts with memories of your beloved Jen❣️✝️❣️🤗

  18. Cindy Mitchell /

    Brad, Our thoughts and prayers are with you, your family and friends.. Jen was the most amazing warrior, mother, wife, friend who had the pleasure of knowing during our chemo treatments together.. She had a long process and different types of treatments, who was so strong through it all..She is in no more pain and will be watching over you and the girls and be with you always..

  19. Sending all of my love to you Brad, Maren, Greta and all who loved Jen. I will forever feel gratitude to Jen for sharing her journey with such grace and truth. Much love and comfort to you all. Sarah x

  20. Gregory Smith /

    I’m so sorry, man. I know you don’t remember me but our daughters used to dance together at Star Performance Center. The way she talked about you as her hero always made me want to be a better husband.

    I wish you the best.

  21. Brad, you are just as eloquent as Jen. Your words are powerful and I have no doubt that you’ll continue to do every day well. Praying for you, the girls and everyone hurting. Thanks for sharing your Jen with us. You are all amazing. May God’s peace comfort you daily.

  22. I never met Jen but she had a profound effect on my life through this blog. She was a shining light and I thank you for sharing her with us. She reminded us to “do today well” and to live our best lives. She was a blessing to everyone. I am so sorry for your loss and know you cherish the memories of having her in your life.

  23. Carol Pugh /

    I am so sorry to read this news. I don’t know Jenn other than from her beautiful writings. She was so inspirational and an amazing example of approaching life with the expectation and desire that she would give her very best, always. Please hug your babies and feel God’s unending love through all who are loving on you. (And, as a widowed mom of 2 myself, these are hard, hard days but you will be okay and Jenn’s live for your girls will live on in them. I promise ).

  24. Angela Johnson /

    I’m so desperately sorry to hear of Jen’s death. She was diagnosed just before my sweet mother, who died last fall after making it 5+ years past her life expectancy. My mom’s last words to me were the exact same. So often reading Jen’s posts (and I only found Jen because of cancer, many years ago due to a SM share about her brilliant attitude whilst fighting the fight) I would marvel at how tenderly you loved each other. Her love for you was so tangible. For the girls. For them to have had such a mother is an incredible gift and for them to have lost her so soon grieves me deeply. From Jen I learned to do the best one can, give your best people your best, and to keep ones face turned toward Jesus and joy – even while being real with the less fun emotions. So sorry for your loss. For our loss and the world’s. Her final post is beautiful. Cancer is a thief. Sending prayers for you all as you adjust to this new painful normal and learn to walk with your grief.

    I hope your girls (and you) can always feel how deeply you were loved by Jen. <3

    Hugs from Michigan,
    Angela

  25. Laura Acero /

    Dear Anderson Family,

    I am terribly sorry for your loss. I only met Jen through her words in this blog, but her courage was my inspiration. The way she lived her life, her fierceness for living in the moment, in finding the good on everything and her motto of Do Today Well will stay with me forever.

    Love never dies, and Jen will always be with us because her legacy left an indelible mark in our lives.

    With love,

    Laura A.

  26. Newbie friend /

    It is with profound sadness that I read this post. I hoped and prayed that this day would never come, that God would show us a big miracle. It wasn’t the plan He had. I watched the video, laughed, smiled and shed tears. Jen taught me how to do cancer, how to do life better, to Do Today Well. I know that this world is so much better for her 40 years here. Her legacy will live on. I will continue to remember you, Brad, Maren and Greta and the rest of the family in my prayers. Thank you Brad for this post. Thank you Jen for sharing yourself with us.
    Cathy Klass( aka Newbie Friend- we had chemo together 7 years ago)

  27. I’ve followed Jen’s story for quite a long long time, and what an inspiration she is to so many people. I’m so very sorry, Brad for you and your precious girls. I lost my thirteen year old daughter back in March, very unexpectedly. She is in heaven with Jesus, and with Jen now, as well! What I have come to realize is that while the knowledge of where our loved ones are, brings much comfort, it doesn’t make us miss them any less here on earth. May the God of all comfort bring peace to your heart, and also to the hearts of Greta and Maren. You all will be in my prayers!
    -Karen Colver

  28. While I did not have the privilege of knowing Jen, it has been an honor following her journey of doing today well. Her fierce love for her family & friends and commitment to living intentionally have been an inspiration. Please know that Jen touched the lives of so many who never had the chance to meet her.

  29. I am a stranger who had stumbled upon Jen’s blog so many years ago and have followed her with awe and respect as she navigated “doing today well” and loving her life and family. I am so sad to hear this. Her love for you and your girls shined through so deeply and powerfully in every post she wrote. Her grace for herself and others inspired me. I didn’t know her in “real life” but know she leaves a wake of love and compassion in her wake, even among “strangers”. ❤️

  30. I have read this blog since Jen’s diagnosis. She will always be an inspiration to me—I am grateful for the ways she shared this story. Please know your family will remain in my thoughts and prayers.

  31. Mojra Logsdon /

    I only knew Jen through her writing, but I feel as if she were a close friend. Reading about her and her life, her family and friends, has had a profound affect on me and my own life. Her fierce determination to live her life was inspiring. Her life has touched many, whether she knew us or not. And he writing can continue to touch others.
    Your words show your own faith and love. I can only imagine the loss you and your girls are feeling. May you all feel God’s continuous presence and love in every moment.

  32. I am so sorry for your loss. Although I didn’t know her personally, I have followed her writing since her diagnosis and something about her incredible outlook on life always brought me back to check in and I am so saddened that the world lost this light. All the best to you and your girls in this difficult time.

  33. I would like to raise my hand as someone Jen has impacted. I started following her blog years ago on the recommendation of a friend. My heart always jumped a bit to see a new post by her in my inbox. I knew it would be thoughtful and remind me of what truly is important in this life. I only know Jen through her words on the screen but she has had a tremendous impact on how I look at this one glorious life. Thank you for posting her service. What a remarkable woman and life! My prayers are with you, Maren and Greta.

  34. I am so deeply saddened by this news. Love and prayers for your family.

  35. I am so sorry for your loss. I didn’t know Jen or your family in real life but I’ve been a fan of hers since the beginning. She was such an inspiration and I think of her and your family often. Peace be with you.

    Lizzy

  36. Amy Warren /

    I have been praying all week since her last post. What an amazing inspiration she is for so many. She lifted me up in so many ways and taught me to Do Today Well. Although I never met her, I’m so grateful to have shared her journey with her. Much love to you, the girls and all of her family!

  37. Deborah Cole /

    the words won’t come. just know that we grieve with you the loss of Jen. May the Lord bring you comfort.

  38. Shelley a faithful reader of this blog /

    I am so sorry. Your soul sounds just like Jens. Peace.peace to you and your girls.

  39. Cindy Jones /

    And He works all things together for good. Let’s all be lifted up so we can have a glimpse of what Jen knows now and knew then. Lets not be so grieved that we forget we will all be together again one day. Let’s all do today well until that glorious day where there will be no more pain and suffering. Thank you Jen, we love you so.

  40. 😔
    Praying for your family.
    🙏🏻

  41. Lori Delaney Johnson (Lori6NV) /

    Oh no, no, no, no, no. I’m so sorry Brad and girls. I never met Jen, but we became long distance stranger-friends when I found her blog after a cancer scare of my own. We emailed, and exchanged cards, and I awaited your family Xmas card with joy each year. I did my best to bless her with little gifts and support — but it was she who blessed me – and blesses me still. I have, and will continue to DO TODAY WELL in her memory. Praying for you.

  42. Kelly Bristol /

    I have been trying to come up with the “right” thing to say since yesterday and have found all words inadequate. Jen was always the master of that, bringing eloquence to everything she wrote. I too, like so many before me have posted, was a friend from afar. I started reading her blog from the very beginning and connected instantly being the mom of two young girls myself. I rooted and worried, cheered and cried with each new post, each new adventure, each new treatment plan. Through it all, I marveled at how much she loved her people and well she was loved by them. Brad, I am so sad for you and the girls, my heart is just breaking to have lost such a truly glorious human. The only thing I can offer in the wake of such a tragedy is to vow to never live my life the same. From the day I read her very first post, I was forever changed. I will continue to Do Today Well for the rest of my days.

    • Rebecca /

      So beautifully said, Kelly. I, too, cheered, laughed, and cried for my stranger-friend and her family since the very beginning.

  43. I’ve followed Jens blog since day one. I’m forever blessed to have ‘known’ her and will continue to Do Today Well. Tears, love and many prayers from Seattle.

  44. Stephanie /

    My heart is heavy today. I am so very sorry. Jen did every day well and inspired so many to follow in her footsteps. God Bless you and the girls and Jen in Heaven. Xoxo

  45. Thank you, Brad, for sharing. I have followed Jen from the beginning. She inspired me to Do Today Well. Praying for you and your family…

  46. I have been silently reading this blog for years now, always enjoying Jen’s beautiful take on life in spite of her trials. I feel like I love your family through all I have read and I have a heavy heart today reading this. I know Heavenly Father has blessed your family and continues to bless your family and all of us through her spirit that still touches everyone. Thank you for sharing. Prayers and love from Utah.

  47. I am truly saddened to hear this news and am so sorry Brad, Greta and Maren. A friend introduced me to this blog when I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013 and I’ve read every word Jen wrote since then. I eagerly looked forward to updates on how she was living each day intentionally. She gave me hope on the harder days and helped refocus my priorities to make sure each day was done well. Those inspirations will be greatly missed. Thank you, Jen for sharing your life with us over the years.

  48. Sending love and prayers from Washington state to you and your girls, Brad. Thank you for sharing her with us online for a season; she was (and will continue to be) a blessing and inspiration to many.

  49. Anna S. /

    I’ve been reading Jen’s blog since Glennon shared her story all those years ago. I count myself among the many readers who have been blessed to be a witness to Jen’s unfaltering faith and unmatched strength through her beautiful writing. I cry today knowing that Jen’s mortal journey has come to and end, but I pray that God will shower peace and comfort on your precious family.

  50. Rebecca /

    I am so profoundly sorry to hear this news. Jen touched my life deeply with her writing and she was such an inspiration. I have followed Jen since 2012 when Glennon Doyle shared about her on Momastery. I will hold your family close in my thoughts and prayers. I’m so sorry.

    • Your family is in my thoughts this week. I was so sorry to hear about Jen. Like the many other comments I was a regular blog reader. She had a great impact on the way that I look at life and I will be forever changed and better for reading her words. Like your girls I also lost my mother to cancer as a child. It is awesome that she seems to have left so many words and lessons for them. From my experience, while their life will forever be different, I can see from Jens words and your strength how well supported they are. They will certainly have awesome futures and grow to be strong women.

      Carol

  51. Glennon introduced me to Jen, and I have been following since. Jen’s voice here- both writing style and content, has been a regular dose of good soul medicine-a reminder to choose to see the beautiful life I already have. I miss you already, Jen.

  52. Brad, Maren and Greta, thinking of you at this terribly sad time. I only knew Jen through this blog but she is a true inspiration. Girls – you are blessed to have had such a wonderful, Kind and Compassionate Mum. Jen, rest in peace. With much love from the UK xxx

  53. Jen’s final words to us were, “My life is beautiful.” She knew it, she lived it, she loved it, and she graciously, generously shared it with us. I wish I could have sat at her feet and learned when I was a young mom how to “do today well” — Jen taught me so much about loving fiercely and loving well since I first read her words in “Day 1” in late March of 2012. We are changed for the better because your beautiful Jen shared her life and faith with us. Brad, you and Maren and Greta have been and will continue to be prayed for.
    With tears of sorrow and hope, Karen

  54. Sending your family and community much love. I have been here, reading about your family and lives, for years. I now wish I had stopped to write Jen a note saying how much I admired her and loved her writing and zest for life that so clearly shone through.

  55. Brad, Greta & Maren – I am so deeply sorry for your loss. I followed your story for years (I’m an ovarian cancer survivor) and prayed for you all constantly. Jen’s optimism amidst setbacks and her commitment to keep things as “normal” and joyful for the 3 of you as humanly possible inspired us all. Please don’t hesitate to ask this community for any help you all may need going forward. Sending love & light to all of you…

  56. I have followed Jen’s blog for ages and am heartbroken to read this. Thinking of you and your girls.

  57. I am a stranger who only knew Jen through her blog. It has been such a privilege to read her words and feel her love for her family and her life through her writing. I will continue to follow her example of “Do Today Well” and am sending prayers to Brad, Maren and Greta.

  58. Amy Weaver /

    What a beautiful, brave, inspirational soul. My prayers are with all of Jen’s loved ones. The Lord draws near to the brokenhearted.

  59. I am so sorry to hear this news. I learned of Jen from a friend of a friend of her mother. I have read her blog since the first few posts. My thoughts and prayers are with you all as you navigate life without her here. But you know she will be watching over you all. I will miss her posts. She touched so many lives. Many of whom she never knew. She was wise beyond her years. She was inspirational. She was a warrior. And I mourn her as I would a dear friend. May God wrap you in his comfort in the days to come and please know that you are in the prayers of many even though you may not know us. Thank you for sharing Jen with us.

    • I’m also a stranger who was blessed to be encouraged by Jen. Praying for each of you family and friends of Jen. Thank you for sharing her Celebration of Life. She loved you well and you all loved her well too. Kay

  60. Connie Stahlbusch /

    I was so sorry to read this— Jen was amazing- and I know she will continue to show that through you and your girls. We have been reading her blog for a number of years and I pass them on to a daughter and an Aunt- Jen showed us what true strength looks like– an extraordinary role model for your daughters… Thinking and continued prayers for your entire family and circle of friends

  61. I am so sorry, Brad and family. I am praying for your family.

  62. Beautiful celebration of a life well-lived! We can all learn so much from Jen.

  63. I am so sorry to hear this news. I discovered Jen’s blog many years ago through a link on another blog. I read her first post on my youngest son’s first birthday (so he and Greta are close in age), and even though I’ve never met any of you, I’ve followed along with her journey with you and your precious girls, and I have prayed for your family. She loved you all so well. Jen was a brave warrior and an amazingly gifted writer. I have never met any of you, but you have touched my life, and Jen will always inspire me to try and do today well. Prayers for all of you in the days ahead.

  64. Melissa /

    I’ve been following along from Italy and it was with so much pleasure to have each and every post pop up in my email inbox. I never commented but i always took Jen’s words to heart and tried in my own way to live each day intentionally. She was inspirational and touched so many lives from near and afar. Sending my thoughts and prayers to you Brad and Maren and Greta. Thank you for sharing your Jen with us. She will be missed.

  65. Jennifer /

    Thank you, Jen for inspiring me with the way you chose to live, in the good times and in the hard. Thank you, Brad for sharing the link to her celebration of life. It was a true honour to be able to shed a few tears and to say farewell to someone who wrote a blessed story about how to life this one beautiful life. My best wishes and blessings to you, your daughters and all of your loved ones.

  66. Thank you, Brad, for letting us know. I never met Jen in person, but her writing touched my life deeply. I will never forget her.

  67. Erin N /

    I found Jen’s blog a number of years ago and have been so inspired by her over the years. I am so sorry that you have to continue on the journey without her and I will continue to pray for your family. I am grateful for the way she shared her amazing self with so many on the Internet and for how God’s character shone through her and became so much more clear to all of us.

  68. I had the privilege of being one of the cloud of witnesses of Jen’s life, although I never met her and live across the country. Her initial post years ago, along with the choice of her blog name, drew me in and set a path of me using her words to self-reflect. I have shared her words with many – the boxing ring analogy for the chemo treatment is one I have sent to numerous family/friends on the eve of their first treatment. Her words were so powerful and so real.

    Through the years, I have treasured the many reminders God has given me to pray for her and for your family. Watching her Celebration of Life was such a gift – actually seeing Jen speak, seeing the sparkle in her eye which was somehow “visible” in her writing, listening to all of you share the many stories, and seeing so many sides of her life was such a privilege.

    I married a man who faithfully supported his lovely wife through a cancer journey. I know the toll it takes to watch the suffering, to be the encourager, and to absorb the pain of watching your children suffer the weight of grief. Your faithfulness and deep love were a gift to Jen. I am continuing to pray for you and for your girls as you walk though each of the grief moments a day holds.

    Thank you for continuing to write. It is a gift to all of us who have come to love your family.

Leave a Reply