Day 30- A picture of someone you miss.
This is my friend Jenn. She has been gone for 13 years now and I still miss her every day. We were friends for 20 years. We grew up in the same neighborhood, went to school together since kindergarten... she was like the sister I never had. There were good times and bad and a few years where we hardly saw each other at all. But by the time we hit 20 we were both back in the old neighborhood and spending most days together again. When I graduated from college (the first time) she took me out drinking - I'd never really drunk before, and definitely not in a bar. We spent many summer nights on my mother's porch drinking wine and talking about literature, philosophy, religion, politics... We disagreed on half the things we talked about but there was never any hard feelings. I know she had deep wounds from things she never talked about, but she didn't have to. I understood. We had a silent bond that no one else shared with us. She was a beautiful soul. She cared about animals more than anyone else I've ever met. She was vegan years before it became popular - sorry, hipsters, you were not the first. She gave me my first taste of vegan cheese - I hated it. I told her I could not be vegan simply on the grounds that I loved real dairy too much. She laughed and shook her head - then helped me polish off a box of Kraft mac & cheese - which, I reminded her, was not vegan. She bent the rules for me a bit.
I saw her only hours before she died, and I had no idea that it would be our very last conversation, our very last hug, our very last "wine & whine" session, as we liked to call them. I've always been a huggy person, but Jenn was my opposite. She didn't show a lot of outward affection towards people, although she was always loving on the animals. But I think people had hurt her too much. Every once in a while she would give me the one-armed-lean-in-hug, but she really wasn't big on PDA's. But that last night, before leaving my house, she hugged me and said "I love you" as she walked out the door. To my recollection she'd never said that out loud to me. I didn't think anything of it until the next day when I found out she had had a car accident in the middle of the night and hadn't survived. My mother told me. I didn't believe it at first, I had just seen her 10 hours ago, and then I collapsed and cried as my mother held me. And then I remembered her last words to me... "I love you". A gift from the Universe, that was. What I learned from that was to never hold back how you feel about someone. If you love someone, tell them, because it may be the last words you ever share with them. You never know.