So Young, So Unfair

The young lady in the middle, in the denim, is Jenya Guseva, a young friend of mine. The picture was taken in a Russian classroom in St. Petersburg when I was invited to speak to a class learning English after she asked me if I would. I was nervous, but Jenya had asked me so I went. I think it went okay. I drew a map on the blackboard and showed them some of the places I had lived.

I first met her years ago in St. Petersburg when I was there for the winter, and she was a little girl and a friend of my wife’s daughter. She was funny and spoke English, which was a nice treat for me, and she was always coming over because her home life left much to be desired. 

Jenya had had a tough life. Her mom died unexpectantly when she was about 13, and she was left to live in her dismal, dark apartment with her alcoholic father who did absolutely nothing as far as being a father went, including working. But she was always smiling and she was my favourite friend in Russia, even with the age difference.

My wife and I were going to buy her a plane ticket so she could visit us in Canada. Show her some real life for a change. Maybe some day she could immigrate.

It wasn’t to be.

Several months ago Jenya developed a rare blood disease and entered the hospital.Yesterday, Thursday, March 25, 2010, she passed away. She was just 23.

My heart is heavy and I’m not feeling very good right now. Sometimes life is very unfair.

Rest in peace, Jenya.

14 thoughts on “So Young, So Unfair”

  1. Dennis, I am so sorry to hear about your loss. My heart goes out to you and your family during this difficult time.

  2. So sorry to hear of your loss Dennis. Jenya is with her mother now, take some comfort in that. So sad when someone so young passes.

    God bless

  3. Dennis and Mrs. Kane:

    I am saddened to hear about the loss of Jenya.

    She was very lucky to know you. I will light some incense and say special prayers for Jenya and you and your family during this difficult time.

  4. Nothing anyone says right now can ever make you feel better at this time but it reminds me what my best friend told me after my dad had died. He said he always envied me and wished he could have had the same kind of relationship with his father that I had enjoyed with mine. 25 years later that comment makes me feel better. Remember the affect you had on this girl and how much you both enriched each others lives.

  5. Dennis, just remember you brought some sunshine into her life!! As Puckgone said she’s with her mother now & in a far better place, but I know all to well it’s hard to handle, when someone so young passes away. My thoughts are with you & Lucienna.
    Take care your bud from the East!

  6. To everyone, thanks so much. I think I have some of the kindest and best people anywhere, and I’m lucky you come here. You’re all also great hockey minds.

  7. Our sincere condolences, Dennis to you and your family. Life throws us these devastating curves when we least expect them. Somehow we manage to get through and be stronger because of them. Sorry for your loss from all of us here.

  8. Sorry to hear about your loss Dennis. Stories like this always make me realize to never take life for granted because it can be taken so fast. She seems like she was a real great person. My thoughts are with you and your wife

  9. So unfair. You have my condolences. I suspect your stories were a big part of the reason behind her constant smile.

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