March 22nd 2002: Revising the loss of a childhood friend and how it still affects me today.

Hi Fan Friends,

This will be a somber post, an honest post. I am revising an old wound from the past. As 17 years today I lost a close friend of mine. I still remember sitting in the guidance counselors’ office after I heard the news. I couldn’t cry quite yet because I didn’t even believe that it was real. Have you ever had one of those moments where the world seems to slow down into slow-motion and you feel like you’re going to wake up any minute? I thought I was dreaming. I just remember looking out the glass window of the guidance office seeing all the other people just laughing and running up and down the halls after the bell rang signifying the end of a class period.

Lost and sad were adjectives I’d use to describe my emotions as the moments ticked on. Thoughts like, ‘how could they be laughing and smiling when I just lost my friend? How can the sun even be shining when such an infectious smile can no longer be seen?’ Wracked my mind and left me feeling isolated in the days, weeks and months to come.

Its no secret that I took up a bit of a mantle in making sure that my friend Jessica was never forgotten for the rest of our school years but I’ve never really gone on record and talked about 17 years ago today because it was painful.

It’s still painful, to be honest. I don’t know, looking back, if I really properly grieved for her. While I never went to her services because I did not want the last memory I had of her to be in a coffin, I also wanted to remember her healthy and vibrant. I was much too young to really understand the impact that loss would have on me. Looking back I can honestly say, losing a friend before you even turn 13 is traumatic in a lot of ways: mainly in the way that it made me realize just how human and mortal we all really are.

The aftermath of Jessica’s death, affected my anxiety attacks which had gotten so bad that I would often wake up at 2 or 3 AM, nauseous, feeling like I was gonna throw up, and shaking from head to toe. These nights were fraught with me praying that I could fall back to sleep peacefully. During the daytime hours made me want to hug my friends tighter and do my best to be the very best person I could be, even on days I didn’t feel like it. Remembering how someone so beautiful on the inside and out, someone who was a genuinely good person and loved to do good for others can just be gone in a blink totally sobers you.

I often sit sometimes and talk with our friend Nate and we usually always wonder if we still would’ve been friends at this stage in our lives, the three of us. We wonder if Jessica would’ve become a vet because she really loved animals- not only did she love them she was really good with them-while both of us would like to think absolutely we would still be friends as we hit mile mark 30 one thing I know for certain that I can truly say is that I am a better person because she was my friend.

I pray for her every single morning when I wake up and I talk to her every single night before I go to sleep. I don’t know for sure if she’s listening but I like to think she is. I’d also like to tell a funny story because that’s the story she’d want told.

While walking to lunch one of the days it was no secret that Jess loved Lance Bass. For those of you who do not know who Lance Bass is he was a member of the very popular boy band *NSYNC. She always used to say if she couldn’t have him no other woman can. Nate and I would always laugh when she said this. Turns out no other woman really can have Lance Bass because after Jessica passed away a few years later Lance came out as gay. I laughed when I read the article, not because I’m homophobic in anyway, but because I thought ‘well Jess you got your wish no other woman shall have him’.

God rest, keep, and bless my beautiful friend in heaven Jessica Renee Gonzalez until we meet again. Jess, you were such an amazing person on the inside and out, may your fighting spirit always live on in the hearts of those who knew and loved you.

love you. Mean it.

Brittany

Xoxo

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