The summer I was 17, the summer before becoming a senior in high school, my best friend moved away. Oh, we were all devastated to see her go. It was going to be our senior year, how could she go? We surprised her the night before she moved, our little group of girlfriends. We surprised her with a photo album we had engraved with all of our names so she wouldn't forget us. That night we took lots of pictures so she could fill up the photo album with. Even though she was leaving, it wasn't the end of the world; we would see each other again, right?
Our dear Jenny visited a few times the following year, but once we all graduated we were just so busy and went our separate ways. We never really had a proper good-bye. Not really. I always thought that we would all get back together one day; we were all in different colleges, in different places in our life, but when we graduated, when we got married, when we each started our own families, we would be there for each other. What else are best friends for?
On January 26, 2004, Jenny came home from school around 2:30 in the afternoon. What poor Jenny didn't know was that a man had broken into her home and had cut the phone line. This man gagged, raped, and stabbed Jenny in the chest with a knife and left her there, taking some of her stuff with him. Later that evening, Jenny's two younger sisters came home to find Jenny dead with the knife still in her.
A memorial mass was held for Jenny at St. Edwards University, in the school's chapel. I will never forget this day as long as I live. When I first walked into the chapel I saw a couple of pictures of Jenny. One of the pictures was of her sitting with some kids on the immersion trip she had recently gone on with her church. There were also two very large portraits of her with flowers around them, all neatly arranged in the front of the chapel. The chapel was decorated nicely, but the atmosphere was sad.
The sadness increased as soon as her family arrived. I saw Jenny's mom walk into the chapel first, then her sisters. When I greeted Jenny's mom, she didn't even recognize me. I just gave her a hug which was all I could do in order to comfort her. I talked with one of her sisters and gave her a hug. Soon the memorial started. It was terribly emotional. All of the seats in the chapel were full and almost everyone there was crying.
Throughout the memorial people got up and talked about Jenny. When her father got up to speak, he just rambled on and on. He talked about how he had always tried to give her the best in life; he just wanted what was best for her. He also had brought with him a teddy bear. This bear was Jenny's and he told a story about her and her bear from when she was a little girl. This man's heart was breaking, he was losing control and another family member actually had to go up and escort him back to his seat.
Jenny had recently returned from an immersion trip to Mexico, so the Priest got up and talked about this trip. In order for anyone to go on that particular trip, they had to fill out an application. He read a couple of her comments from her application. One of the questions was why she wanted to go on this trip. Her answer was, "because I want to share my heart with others." When asked what she hoped to gain from the trip she answered with something along the lines of, "I hope to have given my heart to others and know that I've helped them." All she wanted to do was share her heart and give her love to other people that needed it. But that was taken away from her and from anyone else that could have benefited from her kindness and her selfless love. Once again, we never got a proper good-bye. The world did not even get a proper good-bye.
It took me a long time to come to peace with her death. But I realize now that even though we never got a proper good-bye, it wasn't needed. It's not the saying of it that is needed; it's the feeling that goes along with it. The feeling of closure you feel personally which allows you to move on. This happens for everyone eventually whether they have the chance to say it out loud or not. It's one of those things you just do even if you don't realize it at the time. It will happen all in good time. However, since I have never actually had the opportunity to say it out loud, here goes.
Good-bye my dearest Jenny. You are terribly missed and will never be forgotten.