On Monday, March 7, I woke up early, rolled over in bed, checked my phone and looked on Facebook.
A few “Rest in Peace” posts were on my newsfeed, and when I saw who was tagged, I thought at first that one of Jenny’s friends had passed away, and she had made a post.
I promised myself I would text her that I was sorry for her loss. Then I realized she was tagged in all of the posts, and the horrible news started to sink in that Jenny had passed away.
Last semester, as editor-in-chief of The Quad, I had the honor of working very closely with Jenny Miedwig, one of our copy editors. She was an English major at WCU and a wonderful employee of The Quad.
In December, she graduated from the university. As a copy editor, Jenny had the slightly tedious job of reading every single article that went into the paper and copy editing and proofreading the articles. I respected the hell out of our copy editors because I thought the job was very difficult.
Not only was Jenny a reliable and dedicated employee, but she also showed up to the paper every time with a smile–and sometimes with a plate of brownies. Jenny was a complete joy to work with, always friendly, and outgoing.
When I hired Jenny for the paper, it was one of the first times I had ever conducted an interview.
I felt like a phony, like no one would take my authority seriously, but Jenny walked into the interview–in which she would have to copy edit an article–with a smile and an Associated Press Stylebook.
I told Jenny to take her time, and she spent over an hour editing the articles. I sat in the editor-in-chief office, checking emails and doing homework. I was in awe of this girl who was so intently editing.
When she told me she was finished, I skimmed her edits to make sure they were, in fact, accurate. They were fantastic. I remember texting a friend that I had the perfect new copy editor for the paper. I hired her on the spot. Jenny smiled, clearly happy to be offered the job. I never once regretted hiring Jenny, and I’ll forever be grateful we got to work together.
Jenny made a point of getting to know me, friending me on Snapchat and Facebook and always chatting with me at the paper. She worked at Kiwi in town, and whenever I saw her, we would chat. I am absolutely heartbroken to find out that she has passed away. In the coming days, I know this news will spread around campus.
It’s hard for people not to hear about such a tragic event. With Jenny being such a joy and always having a smile, I’ve already heard from people who are upset and heartbroken she’s gone. So many more people knew Jenny and were friends with her than I even realized.
Entertainment editor Jeffrey Holmes said, “Knowing that someone who had helped me grow as a writer is gone is heartbreaking, but thinking of Jenny as a young and recent graduate is downwright shocking.”
Writing this article, I spent hours rereading it and proofreading it. I wondered if I had missed a comma or spelled something wrong. I wondered what corrections Jenny would have made to it.
I’m going to spend today thinking about Jenny and remembering her. I know no one who knew her will ever forget her. I’m so sorry for the loss of those who were close to her. Rest in peace, Jenny.
Theresa Kelly is a fourth-year student majoring in English literature secondary education. She can be reached at TK780615@wcupa.edu