“People say you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. The truth is, you knew what you had; you just never thought you’d lose it.”
To be completely honest, I have tried writing this post for the past couple of months and still don’t know what to write, which is new to me. I’m never at a loss for words, but here I am staring at a blank page, contemplating my feelings, and struggling to put words into place to describe how this past year has been. It goes without saying, I’m still in the process of putting all the pieces together and think I will be for the rest of my life.
One year ago, today, my world shattered. Losing a close friend really messes you up inside. I’m not talking about a boyfriend or girlfriend when you break up or losing contact with someone; I’m talking about losing your best friend. No more conversations, no more hugs, no more future plans, no more advice, no more seeing them every day, no more funny snapchats, no more responses to texts, and all you have to look back on are memories. Imagine waking up and saying, “today is going to be a great day, I can just feel it,” and then an hour later you get the phone call that one of the closest people in your life is just *poof* gone: no explanation, no goodbyes, no nothing. It really screws with your mind, body, and soul. You can’t sleep, You are always on edge, You think about all the “what if” situations in your head until it physically hurts.
This loss has shaken our community to its core and left us trying to develop the why. How could someone so bright, loving, funny, caring, and generous be taken from us so soon? There are absolutely no words in the English dictionary that can fix this situation; as awful as this is, I’m choosing to find peace and honor the divine life Jessica lived through this post.
Looking back on freshman year, I knew absolutely no one in the entire state of Alabama, but from the second I met Jessica while moving into my dorm, I knew that she would change my life for the better. She was the first friend I met on campus who made me feel like I made the right choice coming to Alabama, and maybe that’s because she spent some time living in Utah and understood that I was completely out of my element in the south. Jessica was the one who went out of her way to make me feel included and who forced me to trade in my comfort colors small shirt in for a large. From day one, she had my back and was not going to let me look like a fool on the first day of classes; thank you, Jessica 😉
I’ll never forget running into you on Bid Day full of joy, knowing that we were forever bonded in sisterhood and eager for all of the memories that lay ahead of us. Truthfully, I was just excited to see a familiar face in a sea of girls who looked almost identical. What made it even better was that you were my best friend and next-door neighbor, which definitely led to some pretty wild late-night shenanigans, LOL. I won’t go spilling the beans on all of our adventures over the years, but I will say glass cups are forever off-limits on Wednesday nights… If you know, you know 😉 From late nights at rounders, our favorite Alabama bar to heart to heart conversations that would lead to a group cry or embarrassing storytime, to trying the infamous amazon tea altogether. Whenever I miss you and need a good laugh, I look at those amazon reviews, and I can just hear your voice in my head reading them out loud and making your own remarks along the way. *Cue me opening a new tab to look at those reviews*
To know Jessica is to love Jessica, especially when she cooked! From homemade cinnamon rolls for our annual Christmas party to cakes at our freshman year goodbye party to dinner parties with new recipes she wanted to try out, she was a true queen in the kitchen. Jessica was the mom of the group for sure. If you needed anything, she was there in a flash. Someone said something mean to you, don’t worry; she’s either giving you a boss ass response or kicking their ass herself. And don’t even get me started on the boy or life advice she would give. Jessica was extremely wise and knew how to read the situation before telling her what was going on. She used to tell it how it was even though we might not have wanted to hear it, but she always relayed the information in the most tactful way.
Oh, what I would give to hug you just one last time, Jess. Now I reach for photos to see your face and videos to listen to your voice. I don’t think you truly knew how much love and brightness you brought into this dark world. You were one of a kind, and it hurts knowing that I will never find another you in this world. I pray that this is all just a nightmare, and when I wake up, I will get a notification on my phone with your name on it.
People say that time heals everything, but that’s the biggest lie I’ve ever heard. It’s the complete opposite; I miss you more and more each day because there is so much I want to tell you, but you’re not here, and it hurts. I don’t think it has fully set in that you’re gone, gone. When I went to your grave in June, I thought that would click in my head, but I’m still in denial after seeing that. Or after your phone number got switched to someone else, we had to officially take you out of the group text. Man, that was a hard day. I used to text your number all the time and update you with how my day was going, and that brought me so much comfort being able to keep you in the loop. From breakups to engagements to girls’ trips to walking across the stage on our graduation day, we could feel your presence, although we wish you could be here in person.
I’ve met a million people from all over the world, but no one seems to light up the room with an affectionate and warm smile like you. Anyone who knew Jessica can back me up on that statement; the world is definitely darker without her in it.
Every year suicide takes the lives of over 48,300 Americans, which ends up being 132 people a day. This number is entirely unacceptable, and the sad thing is there are ways to prevent this from happening by knowing the warning signs. Mental illness is a severe concern in our community, and there is ALWAYS a person you know that is struggling; you could even be the one struggling. If you know someone who might be fighting with anxiety, depression or is having thoughts of self-harm, please reach out to them. It doesn’t have to be anything big or elaborate; a simple “thinking about you” text or an invitation to go grab coffee could completely change their day. A few warning signs to look out for are :
- Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs;
- Sleeping too little or too much;
- Withdrawing or feeling isolated;
- Talking about feeling hopeless or having no purpose;
- Talking about feeling trapped or being in unbearable pain;
- Talking about being a burden to others;
- Displaying extreme mood swings.
If you are struggling, please know that you are not alone and that there are several resources out here to support you.
Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
Crisis Textline: Text “HOME” to 741-741
If you don’t want to talk over the phone, this website allows you to instant message online. On top of these professional resources, I want to make it known that my email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and DM’s are always open for you, no matter what. I am here for you and care for you more than you will ever know.
I’m trying so hard right now not to be angry with God. Why do the best ones always seem to leave us before the time is right? I’ll spend the rest of my life trying to figure that out.
I hope that one day you are blessed enough to have a “Jessica” in your life. She truly was a one in a million type of girl, and I’m blessed to have had her in my life. My heart hurts and is confused why I only got a few years with her, but I’m grateful for our time together. I love you more than words could ever describe Jessica. & I know that you are always with the girls and myself but feel free to drop us an extra sign here and there if you feel like it.
your spicy queen