I once read that friendship is picking a human being, thinking ‘I like this person’ and you just do stuff with them. It’s weird isn’t it? Because that’s exactly what happens.
He was the first person I became friends with outside of school, you know when your situation doesn’t force you to like someone, or talk to them, and you really want to like that person and when they like you back a friendship is formed. It’s like falling in love, without the sexual part. And you can’t ever imagine what it could possibly feel like to not just not have that person in your life any more, but to have them taken away from the world completely.
Jack wasn’t just my friend, he was everyone’s friend. Everyone knew him and loved him and each of our relationships with him were totally different. That’s what makes it that much harder, everybody had Jack in their lives in one way or another. When Jack died, it was the worst day of my life. The absolute worst day, in more ways than one. Not only did I lose a friend but I had to grow up. I was 16 years old experiencing pain that I didn’t know was humanly possible. Everything became transparent, nothing mattered, nothing was real any more. People tell you life is short but I don’t think you ever really believe that until someone else loses theirs.
In the years that followed, everything just seemed to remind me of the fact that he wasn’t here. That he isn’t here. Five years on, it doesn’t get any easier, but it doesn’t get any harder either. Jack was the person whose advice I sought first, he always told you the truth no matter what. He wasn’t afraid to hurt your feelings. He was the person that I could laugh with, dance with and just have a good time with. He made me FEEL. Like, really FEEL. In ways that nobody else could. But that was just Jack, he made everyone feel that way, the party definitely arrived when he walked in. His nature was unlike anything I’d ever experienced before. Or probably will ever experience.
But I still feel him here, I still experience him. It’s usually when I’m in the car by myself, singing along to the radio. I get this overwhelming feeling that he’s in the passenger seat next to me, singing and dancing along too. And I tingle, I know he’s there. He’s always there. I feel the constant need to talk out loud, to get all my thoughts and feelings out into the open, all the damn time. I know he can hear me. I still ask for his advice on everything, even though I’m not going to get a reply I know exactly what he would say to me anyway. He was always right.
I don’t think grief ever really goes away for anyone. You never really learn to get over losing someone, but you learn how to cope without them. Five years later I’m coping, we are all are. But that doesn’t mean that because it’s been five years I’m not allowed to feel pain any more, or that I’m not allowed to cry over him or that I need to forget. I’m allowed a moment to break down every once in a while, and not feel pathetic.
I can sit and imagine what my life would be like had he still been here, how different my life might have been. But that’s a dangerous path to start walking down, no good can come of it. Five years ago today I could have quit, I could have given up on life, but I didn’t. Jack made me a better person, stronger, more grateful, less selfish. He was a blessing in my life, I just can’t help but wish that he had been a blessing to my daughter’s life as well. But that’s a dangerous path. The cruel reality is that life goes on, even when at times you don’t want it too. And that’s okay. But for anyone who was friends with Jack just remember, he would slap you in the face if he knew you were upset, even if he was just a little bit flattered 🙂