Who am I?

By Molly Bice-Jackson - 8:58 AM

As a youngster, my dad taught me a game that has saved me from boredom on many occasions. It's called, "Who Am I"? It's played much like "20 Questions". You think of a person that everyone playing the game would know, then pose the question, "Who Am I"? At which point, everyone in the car (yes, this is a road trip game) takes turns asking Yes or No questions to discover your identity. "Are you famous?" "Are you a politician?" And so on. We've gotten pretty ingenious over the years. My dad was once the character Pop, of Rice Crispy "Snap, Crackle, and Pop" fame. Oooh...that was a good one. Took us forever to figure it out. I recently had the pleasure of playing this game "MHS" style while making the five hour drive from Salt Lake to Boise. MHS stands for Madison High school. My Alma mater. Class of 96. IT. WAS. A. HOOT. Here's a sample:

"Were you popular?"
"Did anyone in this car ever kiss you?"
"Were you a cowboy?"
"Were you athletic?"
"Did you graduate in 96?"

As each mystery person was discovered, we roared with laughter. Mostly because we were REDISCOVERING people from our past that we hadn't thought of in YEARS. It was like knowing a foreign language but forgetting that you knew the words. With each name...("Elisha Grover!") came a whole new remembering. "Oh ya, I DO know that person. I know that word!"

Have you ever asked yourself that question, in a complete moment of honesty and introspection..."Who AM I?" I think the time in my life when I asked this question the most, desperately searching for an answer and a sound identity, was during my high school days. High school was not the greatest of times for me. (Confession/News Flash/Shocker: I had an eating disorder. Some of my closest friends had no idea. And yes, you may ask any questions you would like. I am completely "better" now and have no problem discussing the complex and interesting world of eating disorders. But that's an entirely other book. Which reminds me, I want to write a book. But I digress). Eating disorder aside, I never felt like I fit in in Rexburg, Idaho. I was a big city gal trapped in a small town setting. I left the Burg, never to return, never looking back, wanting to put the cowboys, the Mormony Mormons, the guns and farms and boys who never liked me, far behind me. Don't get me wrong, I had great friends. Boy, did I have great friends. Friends that made you laugh until strange things came out of your body. Friends who had the same religious beliefs as I did. Friends who embarked on crazy toilet papering, ski resort philandering, boy spying, costume wearing adventures. We're talking THE GOOD GOOD OLD DAYS. Complete insanity and fun. All the while throwing up and hating my body. Needless to say, I stayed in contact with only a few of these friends over the years, wrongly assuming that we had "different lives", different interests, different goals and lifestyles. I wanted the big apple, they would never leave Idaho--we were just too different.

BOY WAS I WRONG. SO VERY WRONG.

It started those agonizing days in the hospital. First Amy Ferguson showed up (she's one of the few I've stayed in touch with. A true kindred spirit). Next, a package of food from Ashley Webster brought to the hospital by a relative of hers. A bag of food! And a card. Bananas, fruit leather, trail mix. I couldn't believe the thoughtfulness. I just cried. I love her so much. Brooke and Janeese attended the funeral. Now, Janeese and I have seen each other off and on over the years. She was the photographer for our wedding. She is one of my best friends. I love her dearly. I couldn't believe she made the drive with her mother to attend Lucy's funeral. Brooke Mendenhall...well, that was just a shocker. I was overwhelmed with complete gratitude for the love these Rexburg girls were giving to me so freely. A package soon arrived from Leslie Clarke, a beautiful and thoughtful bracelet with small frames filled with photos of Lucy. I cried and cried. I wear it nearly everyday. On Lucy's birthday, Katie Quinn sent a Bonsai tree all the way from Hawaii. Will the tears ever stop? Next, a long, sincere, hand written note from Mandy Webster, who lost her brother 9 years ago to cancer. These girls! I could go on and on. The comments left on my blog (Andrew Black..where are you??? You left a comment but didn't leave any contact info. I must find you). James Clark, Jill Hancey, Rachel Clarke--coming to the funeral! Who does that? These people just came out of the woodwork. I was OVERCOME. I felt like I owed Rexburg an apology. (We used to say on my mission every time we drove across the Iowa state line... IOWA= I Owe The World an Apology).

And this lengthy introduction all for this:



This past weekend was the greatest three days I have had since Lucy passed away. I made the drive to Boise, Idaho with Amy and Brooke, to meet up with 6 other beautiful and amazing women with whom I attended high school. The minute I saw them and was able to embrace them, the tears of gratitude were unstoppable. Oh, how we laughed! And cried ! And laughed and cried. It was like miracle medicine for my soul. These women are beautiful in every sense of the word. They have overcome trials, learned from life's hard knocks, worked their way through the mess of life, to come out stronger, more beautiful and compassionate than ever. Quality women through and through. We each have a story. I am so very proud of the stories they are creating. I am so proud to call them my friends.



These beautiful women organized a little reunion on my behalf. I have rarely felt more loved. I had not only HOURS, but actual DAYS, where I felt "normal". Where the weight of my grief was completely wiped away. It was just what the doctor ordered and more.



The English language (and my knowledge thereof), is woefully inadequate to express the gratitude I have for these women. For this weekend. For hope. For friendship. For the good in humanity. And it's not just these women. It's all of you. I have been paralyzed by gratitude. Not knowing even how to begin thanking all of you. Yes, YOU. The person reading this. The person calling me "just to say hello and see how I am doing." The person sending cards in the mail almost weekly (Scott and Megan). The person praying for me on their knees. The person sending packages in the mail to me, a complete stranger! If you could see my tears, if they could speak, they might be able to do the thanking more aptly than my words. Love does not divide, it only multiplies.



Who Am I?

I am an Idahoan! There, I said it. I am a daughter of God. I am Lucy's mom. I am a friend and a daughter and a wife. I am an actress and a dancer and a singer. I am a beautiful spirit. I am a recipient, perhaps undeserving, of God's love and the love of strangers. And just as my dad taught me this silly game of "Who Am I"? He also taught me this: There are only two kinds of people in the world. Those I love. And those I don't know yet. I love you all.



Fore more photos, details, and stories of my Boise weekend, (and a trip down memory lane as well as some good laughs. My entry was so HEAVY. Janeese will have you rolling in the aisles) click HERE, HERE, HERE
or HERE.

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30 Loving Lines

  1. Molly,
    I just love reading your posts! This is silly, but I was in Park city for a whole week a couple of weeks ago. And I was secretly looking for you wherever I was. I am not a wierdo, I promise. I just wanted to hug you, and tell you I think and pray for you and Vic often.
    What a fun reunion with your friends. They are so lucky to have such a sweet friend as you.
    Love, Julie

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  2. I am so happy to read this post on your blog! Sometimes you just needs girlfriends, and it sounds like this was so perfect to you! You deserve whatever happiness this little weekend brought you:)

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  3. Wow, another beautifully written, insightful and thoughtful post. I'm so impressed, Molly. I love you so much, and being able to spend the weekend with you was such a GIFT. There was so much to learn from everyone--it was so fantastic to be together. What amazing friends, gorgeous women, great times.

    I didn't think you'd ever say it, but I am happy for you (and me) that you're an Idahoan.

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  4. Oh, and by the way, to anyone who might consider playing "Who Am I?" on their own road trip, it is IMPERATIVE to begin the game with the question, "Who Am I?" Don't get any ideas about just starting the game. No, siree.

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  5. Molly, I had learned of your blog and journey through Brooke Olsen. After months of reading, I feel the need to thank you for reminding me to be thankful for every moment with my children. I truly mean EVERY moment. Those ever-so frustrating moments with my 4 year-old and trying times with my 1 year-old, I am prodded by the knowledge of your plight to savor them and give thanks to God that I am able. Thank you for renewing that in me. I am one of those who pray often for you and your family, and I will continue to so. That is my promise to you.
    Blessings,
    Sonnet

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  6. Okay, let me say this first. It's totally not fair that I can't read your blog EVER without crying. Not even this time.

    Second, I want to say how absolutely FULL my heart is because of so many things right now. Because of old friendships. Because of new friendships. Because of great blessings and love and sisterhood. Your beautiful smile all weekend long, your bright spirit and your ridiculous cravings that I got to take part in with you.

    Aside from my own fulfillment last weekend (which is enormous beyond words) to hear these words come from your mouth, about your renewed hope and your lifted spirits...it is more than I could have hoped for you. It was so inspired and so perfect, and it was truly in you and Lucy's name.

    Don't let that bright light go out, Miss Molly. You are a strength to so many. I loved hearing your "story", and especially the one about your first date with Vic. Who knew you were such a rebel?!?!

    Once again, you crafted a superb post. I love you, dear friend!

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  7. I love this post. It reminds me to be true to who I am, which is easy to forget these days. It also teaches me so much about you. Back in the day I remember you introducing yourself as being from New York, and I would think, I thought she was from Rexburg. Ahhh, I get it. Thanks for your candidness ( is that a word??). You inspire me every time I read.
    And I still think you are one of the funnier people I have ever met. I only hope I can learn to laugh and have fun the way you do, even in your deepest sorrow.

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  8. oh my molly. you have a beautiful mind. you could have written about that in the typical "we did this, then this" kind of way, but you spun that into such a lovely, metaphorical soul enlightener. you are a gem.

    and glad you had fun! sad i missed the rager!

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  9. what a fun time! how cool that you have so many girlies that you are still in touch with enough to have an event like this...plus, SO MANY of them! I never had that many close friends in HS!! So fun. So cool. You are all so beautiful! I went to each of their blogs that you posted here & enjoyed reading each one's perspective on the event. What a treat for everyone to hang out & re-connect!

    Friends are priceless. Girl time is always a joy-giver! :) It's great to feel your smiles through these posts!

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  10. Molly-
    I had such a great visit with you, and was totally amazed by the wonderful woman you have become. Also, by your many achievements and by your current trial and suffering of losing little Lucy. You will continue to be in my prayers.

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  11. I am so happy that you have such good friends to help you through this challenging time as you discover your new "normal". We are going through it with my sister in law. We are all pulling for you Molly. I wish you nothing but peace and happiness.

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  12. Molly- I loved reading your account of your weekend. It sounds absolutely heaven sent. You are very gifted in writing, and if you wrote a book I would love to read it. I am so happy that you were able to have a wonderful weekend and feel "normal" again. What a sweet and tender mercy. You *are* a beautiful spirit. It shines through in any post you write. I do not cry easily, I really don't, however EVERY single post you write, you can envoke that emotion in me. Thank you for being so open. By the way- how are you feeling? I hope fabulous! :)

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  13. Molly, I have never left a comment on your blog before, (I don't know why) but I couldn't leave this time without telling you how much I appreciate you and your willingness to share all you did this past weekend. You have such amazing words to share, which I can only think in my head and never get out of my mouth right. I truly felt like our Boise trip was a true moment in time. I think about you every day and can't wait to see you again. Make sure that when you have a baby shower you invite all the girls, because like Janeese said, we already need another vacation! Thanks again for all you share on your blog, it truly helps me more than you know. Love ya forever, Mandy

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  14. This New Yorker/Idahoan totally understands the quality of people that Rexburg has generated. Your Boise weekend looks like it was SO great! I have fantasies about gathering with MHS folks. I also have a Mann/Bice girl reunion fantasy. Maybe in Manhattan?
    I love you Molly! Please don't let the number of packages I have sent (or not sent) reflect on the amount of love you know I have for you.
    Also.. Amy Ferguson... if you are reading this... I ADORE YOU!

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  15. Molly- I was so excited to hear what a great time you ladies had this weekend. I don't even know if you remember me but I was so bummed I couldn't make it this past weekend. Congratulations on your pregnancy! By the way I love the picture of you and the pork shank. Susie (Elliott) Lage

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  16. That is so awesome. There is something about those Rexburg friends that can never be replaced. They are the best. I am so glad you were able to spend the weekend together.

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  17. What a great weekend! It feels so good to read about how much fun you had. You are amazing!

    Luv ya!

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  18. So glad you want to write a book! You are a fascinating person- just blooming with insight and the words to make it hit home. I am going to be in Salt Lake Oct. 29-Nov. 8. I am going to try to have lunch with Russ- i would love to see you too. I have some ideas that i think you could help me get inspired and fired up about ( music, dance, inspirational performances...)

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  19. Im so happy for you! I agree, there is nothing like hanging out with OLD friends, friends that after this many years you realize really how great they are. I know it lifts me up, so I can only imagine how wonderful and needed it was for you! FUN FUN!!!
    Cute group of girls too.

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  20. What a neat weekend. I had no idea you had an eating disorder. I hope you know now how beautiful you are. Seriously. I wish I could pull off that short-hair look so perfectly.

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  21. Molly, you don't know me, but I found your blog from a friend's links. I want to thank you because I thoroughly enjoyed the last hour I've spent reading through your blog. My brother lost his youngest child at just over 12 months from choking on an unpopped popcorn kernal. I admire the strength of a mother who can come through such a tragedy and be able to learn and grow from it. I am sure that you are a light and a strength to many...many who you may not even know. Thank you.

    Liza

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  22. Miss Molly....You have such a wonderful gift in the way you express words and memories. I would love for you to write a book. Who would have thought that such a sad story could bring sooo much positive changes. You and Lucy have influenced and inspired so many people, its both amazing and powerful! I am at peace with your story right now, knowing what a wonderful future that Heavenly Father will gift you with. I hope you continue to surround yourself with friends and those you love, and I know you will continue to touch those you haven't met yet. You deserve nothing but happiness and you'll continue to be in my thoughts and prayers always.

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  23. Hey Molly,
    It's Liz (Packer) Thompson. I don't know if you would even remember me from Rexburg, but I love your blog. I check it regularly through Melissa's blog. You are very inspiring and I think of you often. I wanted to let you know that I know where Andrew Black is. He is in SLC with his wife Becky (Anderson) and their two kids. He is finishing up school there. You can find his blog through mine, kind of. You will have to go to Tricia Church, then they are on hers.
    Thanks for all of your posts. You are truly very strong and inspiring. Sometimes I wonder how those who don't have the gospel in their lives could even function. Little Lucy is so beautiful.

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  24. I've read your blog a few times and I keep telling myself that I'm going to leave a comment but then I think that I don't have enough time to say all I want to say.

    Is there ever enough time?? Nope, so I decided I need to start somewhere.

    Someone (I'm not sure who) told me about your little angel a month or so ago. I came and read a lot of your blog, cried, laughed, cried some more and so many emotions came back to me.

    You write so real, so openly, and it's refreshing, heartbreaking, and all the emotions in between.

    My little boy, Payton, passed away 4 years ago this coming Oct. 29th.
    It was and still is the hardest but also the most faith building experience I've ever been through.
    I read a quote today that I saw at a boutique. It reads,
    "There is no TESTIMONY without the TEST." I thought that was so good and so true. It's through our earthly trials no matter how big or small that our testimonies grow.

    Our little Payton left this earth life also through an unexpected tragedy. We were moving into a new home and I had set Payton down on the driveway while I was buckling his carseat into my car that I had just switched over from my husbands jeep. My husband thought I was buckling Payton in the carseat and he backed up.
    He didn't see Payton and he backed over him.
    It was tragic and so hard. We rushed him to the hospital, he lived for three days in Primary Children's Hospital, and on the third day we said our "see ya laters" gave him kisses, he recieved one last father's blessing, and we donated his heart to a beautiful little girl who is still amazingly healthy and happy, and a few other organs to other children, and now he's our guardian angel!
    I know I said all that very quick and short, but you know as well as I do that there are way too many details to share it all at once.

    So I just wanted to say thank you for sharing your feelings with others. It hurts at times but it also helps. I think there is an instant bond when you meet other parents who have lost children.
    We all help each other in simple ways that we might not ever know.

    Keep in touch, amanda

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  25. This sounds like it was the best therapy imaginable, and boy, you deserve all the love you received! How healing (and reassuring) it must be to know, from experience now, that you can and will be able to feel at peace for longer and longer periods of time.

    Isn't this blog world odd? I think I have come to love you myself, and we've never even met.

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  26. It looks like you girls had fun. It was fun to see all of the pics.
    Kristen

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  27. Thank you for an amazing weekend. You are so inspiring and I thank you for sharing such sacred things. I am grateful to be able to reconnect with you and everyone else. I enjoyed playing "Who am I". So many memories. You are so beautiful and your Lucy is beautiful. Thanks again for great memories! Love, Brooke

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  28. What a fun time! I love your honesty about the Burg. I had a hard time through those High school years too, and when I left the Burg, I was certain to never return as well...especially when my mom moved to Utah. I still have weird anxiety feelings when I go back...but its those times when we must share those feelings to really get past it all. Thanks for your example. I always looked up to you during those years, and thought you were a great friend, even though you were 2 years older. I'll always remember the good times jumping on your trampoline. (especially off your deck.. ha ha)
    If you ever want to take a look at my blog, send me your email. I made it private after getting weird comments from some guy in Brazil. (karentingey@gmail.com)

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  29. Molly!
    I loved your post. I'm heading to a reunion with 6 of my high school friends soon and can't wait. There is nothing in this world like those good ole' memories and love that you share from the past. I love you and continue to pray for you guys. You looked beautiful in your pictures!

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  30. That is so awesome. It's funny how strong the ties you make when you're young are. I think that even though I haven't talked with some of my friends in years, they are closer to me than others I see on a daily basis. There's something about growing together that really sticks. Your support group is astounding.

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