Jenny Elizabeth McDaniel passed away suddenly on September 1, 2020, at the age of 41.
She was born January 15, 1979 in Winter Park, FL.
She is preceded in death by her father, Mark McDaniel.
She is survived by:
Jayde McDaniel and Cooper Taylor, her children
Her mother, Jane McDaniel, of Altamonte Springs, FL, and her partner Don Rose, of Regina, Canada
Her twin sister, Heather Schmitt, of Altamonte Springs, FL
Her sister, Catherine Taylor and her wife, Ashley Taylor, of Altamonte Springs, FL
Her brother, Sean McDaniel and his husband, Eric Small, of Salem, MA
Her niece, Annabel Schmitt, of Altamonte Springs, FL
(This was written with the express help of many who loved our Jenny. I included quotes and names to give credit to the people who contributed. It is really a testament to – contrary to her own belief – how many people she positively impacted.)
As I sit down to write a remembrance of my sister Jenny, I can’t help but gravitate toward the obvious tragic nature of her adulthood. Our sister Theresa said, “Her life was never easy. She was tormented with mental illness and drug addiction.” And, that is true. The circumstances for her journey down that road are unclear to me, but it was a combination of things that would destroy her from the inside and outside. She suffered horribly, from the mental illness, the addiction, the destruction of her body for sure, but also the destruction of her ego. It separated her from her family and the people she cared most about, who continually reached out to her to give her words of encouragement. The family often drove her to the hospital. They gave her a phone to make sure that she would stay in touch. They helped to make sure that she had some of the things that she needed, and most of all encourage her rehabilitation. To her credit, she was in and out of formal rehabilitation more times than I can count. Each time Jenny genuinely wanted it to work, and every time it failed. I use the pronoun “it” to refer to the rehabilitation. To be clear, Jenny never failed. She always gave it all she had. But the reins of addiction coupled with the silencing bit of illness, would always have its way. She lived most of her life in that tenuous relationship with family; always wanting to be a part of the family, and be “normal,” but always being driven away by her own struggles. She tried her hardest. Ultimately, it was too much for her.
Not too long ago, Jenny was in the hospital for surgery that we were not sure she would recover from. I sat next her hospital bed holding her hand, remembering the Jenny from our childhood, but seeing the body of a woman ravaged by her disease, her addictions, and her homelessness. When she was lucid, we talked. I told her she was good. “No I’m not,” she said. “Yes, you are,” I insisted. “You are good, and loved and cared for.” I carefully reached over and gently hugged her and looked her directly in the eyes. “You have beautiful eyes, Jenny.” She teared up a little, but kept eye contact. “Even now?” She asked. “Yes, honey, even now.”
This is how we will remember her: beautiful, vibrant, funny and generous.
She was beautiful, funny and generous. She would give the clothes off her back to a stranger in need. If she loved you, then she loved you fiercely. She was so full of love that she loved unconditionally and it spilled over onto all around her. She loved animals. There was a time that she wanted to be a veterinarian.
She loved to sing and dance, and she had an amazing sense of humor – a genuine wit – that came out sometimes randomly.
“I remember her non-stop energy and that laugh of hers is truly unforgettable.” – Michael McGrath
“Funny and generous is exactly the memory she left me.” – Frank Schmitt
“I remember she was so vibrant and pretty.” – Sherry Nelson
“Sometimes, death comes as a blessing for the ones who leave us, but it is much more difficult for us – the ones who are left.” - Leann Cowden King
“The loneliness is ours.” - Don Rose
“Jenny is in a better place now. . .She simply drifted off to the Great Sleep that claims us all.” - Don Rose
“I believe her suffering is over. Her spirit has been released from the body that betrayed her. She is Free.” - Catherine Taylor
We will do our best with your beautiful children. We will tell them about all your “good.”
Be at peace. We will always love you.
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