Interview with Jenny Jasick from One Small Victory
Possessed is probably a good word for it. I don’t really know why I did it. I mean, I had reasons. I was so tired of people talking about the drug problem like we talk about so many problems in our society, but we don’t do anything. But I know it also had a lot to do with losing Michael. I couldn’t just sit there in my grief. It was too much. I had all this emotion inside me that needed an outlet, and I was afraid if I didn’t do something positive in my life I would drown in that grief.
It is said that losing a child is the most difficult death experience for a woman. Is that true for you?
Yes. Women are connected to their children in a way that not even the fathers can be. We carry the babies inside us for nine months and our bodies are as one. To lose a child is like losing a part of us. My father died five years before Michael, and at the time I thought nothing could hurt so badly. Little did I know.
It appears that this is still difficult for you.
It is. I don’t think you ever get over losing someone you love. You just learn how to live without them in your life. But you still miss them and grieve for them.
So how did working with the task force help you with all that?
It gave me purpose everyday. In the first weeks after Michael died, I didn’t even want to get out of bed every day. Having Scott and Alicia to care for helped with that, but they are pretty self-sufficient. They could fix their own breakfast and get ready for school without me. So if I wanted to wallow in bed, I could. That changed when I decided to try to get on the task force. I had something else to focus on besides my loss.
What was the hardest part of the work?
It was all hard. My gosh, if I had known how complicated and challenging it was going to be, I probably would have chickened out. I worked as a confidential informant, so it was like being undercover. I couldn’t tell my family or friends what I was doing, so that carried its own set of problems. Especially when Scott started pressuring me to tell him what I was doing. Some of his friends saw me talking to the dealers. And that, too, was such a challenge. The first time I had to try to make contact with the dealers I thought I would wet my pants.
Were you ever in danger?
Oh, yeah. We watch stuff like this on TV and it looks like an adventure. In real life it is scary as hell. These are bad, bad people and they eliminate their problems, if you know what I mean. Twice I was sure I was going to die.
Wow. Would you ever do it again?
I don’t know. Maybe being a super hero is a once in a lifetime experience for me.
Do you consider yourself a superhero?
No. But that’s what my friend, Carol, called me.
There was some chemistry between you and Steve in the story. Is that going anywhere?
Maybe. (little grin) We are taking it slow and easy, even though I would like to jump his bones. But jumping into anything right now would not be smart. The past few months have been extremely hard and I’ve been on an emotional roller-coaster. I don’t want to compromise what Steve and I might be able to have long term by satisfying a short-term need. I hope that makes sense, because sometimes I’m not sure it makes sense to me.
Do you consider yourself a role model for other women?
Heavens no. What I did was not very smart. I put myself in danger. My kids in danger. I compromised friendships and relationships. How can I be a role model?
But look what you accomplished. I think you are a very courageous woman.
Well, maybe so, and I thank you for that. But often acts of courage are not acts of good sense.
Seriously, would you ever consider doing it again?
I don’t know. That is such a hard question to answer in the abstract. It was the set of circumstances I was in at the time that propelled me into this. Not something that I carefully thought out and planned.
Is there anything we haven’t covered that you would like people to know about you?
I just want to say that our lives are settling down now into a comfortable routine. And a lot of good has come from the trauma of the past six months. The only way we can deal with the difficulties in life is to face them head on and try to find the positive in the midst of the negative. One positive for me was a reinforcement of the relationship with my other two children, as well as discovering that I can survive anything.