It’s been almost three years since I lost you, Jewels. I want to say that it gets easier, that through the passage of time the grief I felt and still feel has lessened even slightly, but it hasn’t. If we’re being honest, which is what we do best with each other, I’ve lost a lot of people in my life, but losing you has really fucking sucked.
People say that eventually I’ll look back on the memories and they’ll make me smile instead of feeling like I can’t breathe. I’m just wondering when that’s supposed to happen, because it hasn’t yet. People don’t seem to understand the bond we shared with each other, it doesn’t matter that weren’t friends for fifteen years or all our lives, the few years I was able to call you my best friend were the happiest I’ve ever known.
It makes me laugh to think about the first day I met you. You had just started working at the nursing home I worked at and I was supposed to train you. You walked up to me with your straight blonde hair pulled up in a tight messy bun and a pouch of Copenhagen winter green tucked into your lower lip, and all I could think was ‘Dear Lord, please do not stick me with this chick for our entire shift’. You must have been thinking the same thing about me because the first words you spoke to me in your light southern accent were ‘Hey there Barbie Bitch, my names Julia’. We spent that shift and the next couple weeks in a mutual dislike of each other.
The funny thing is that I cannot for the life of me pinpoint or remember that exact moment when we became friends. I can’t remember when the snarky comments became playful teasing. Or when the sarcastic remarks because full on jokes. I can’t remember when you became my person. You just did. Any day, and time, it didn’t matter if it was 3:30am in the middle of a rainstorm, we were there for each other.
Like that night you were stuck at work, and your entire world was falling apart because you and your boyfriend had another fight, and I wasn’t there because I had the night off. You called me from work at 1am, and I jumped in my Jeep still dressed in my pajamas and flew right there. Something about hearing you cry when you were the toughest girl I knew broke me inside. I would have walked through fire to stop your tears.
I know if you’re watching over me right now that you’re probably calling me a little bitch for being all wrapped in my feelings and stuff, but with all due respect I’m going to have to ask you for like the thousandth time to kindly ‘let me have a moment of insanity’. Let me have one of our moments of insanity and then I promise you I’ll pick myself back up, and adjust my tiara like you bad ass Barbie princess bitch you always referred to me as.
For the longest time I remember that people couldn’t understand our friendship. You were this quiet, down to earth, country girl with a dip in her lip and ‘shit kickers’ on her feet, and I was this loud, opinionated, makeup wearing, perfectionist, Barbie bitch who always had something to say. We didn’t make sense at all, and that made our friendship the most beautiful and unique thing I’ve ever known.
Remember how we called ourselves ‘Team Blonde’ at work? It was kind of like a private joke because no matter how different we were the one thing we had in common was our long blonde hair. We even joked a lot that maybe we were sisters somehow, because I never knew my biological father, and we’d laugh about it every time. I think that’s what I miss most. Your laugh. Your laugh and your brutal fucking honesty that is rare to come by these days. You really did know how to bring things back into perspective for me, without you these last couple years everything has kinda been off kilter.
Since August 24th, 2015, at 2:00am, everything has been off kilter. Ever since I answered that phone call my world has been on fire. Trust me, I’m not blaming you for leaving, but understand me when I say that I’m mad as hell. What had you done to deserve to go? We had no time. I’d give anything for just a little more time. It breaks my heart every day knowing that we were still in the middle of our biggest and only fight we’d ever had when you passed. We hadn’t spoken for weeks the night I got that phone call, and now I’d give anything in exchange for just one minute of having you back.
I just want one minute to say that I’m sorry, but knowing my greedy ass I’d probably ask for more. I wouldn’t be able to let you go, I still can’t. People say that sometimes the length of time you know a person doesn’t matter, and that never made sense to me until I met you. People would say that you could be friends with someone for 17 years and not connect with them or vibe as well as someone you just met three months ago. For us, I think this was true.
For us, we were soulmates. Not in the romantic sense, obviously, but in the way that my soul knew yours, and when we were together everything just felt easy. Like all the loud static background would just fall into this soothing low hum - and we’d just be. You were my soul-sister, and I’m not sure I’ll ever find another.
Some days, I’ll admit it still feels like my world is burning down. I can’t stop the self-hate I feel for thinking that I was solely responsible for your death. I know they said that your death was the result of a traveling blot clot that you’d developed during your emergency c-section, but all I heard was the blame crashing down on me. You never wanted kids, you’d said it a thousand times ‘Oh, fuck no I don’t want any rugrats’. And then we’d laugh and you’d say ‘If I ever get knocked up I’m giving that baby to you, and you can just keep it for me until it can walk and talk and make sense, cuz I’m not good with babies’. I said that I promised I’d raise your rugrats for you.
I’m sorry for breaking that promise. I’m sorry for introducing you to the guy who knocked you up. I’m sorry for not visiting or meeting your son, because I don’t have it in myself to not completely fall apart from seeing that little piece of you that’s left. I’m sorry for sometimes blaming that child for taking you away from us, and for more than often blaming myself for setting you up with the man who ruined and took your life.
I didn’t know what he was really like when I introduced you two. But, you never really know some people. I didn’t know he had a drug problem. I didn’t know he’d steal and borrow money from you. I didn’t know he’d manipulate you and isolate you completely from your friends and family. I didn’t know you’d love him anyway. And I didn’t know that he’d be the catalyst for our biggest, only, and last fight ever. All I know is that I carry around the weight of my consequences every day. I miss you every day.
I think if you were here right now you’d laugh and say ‘That’s life, dumbass, pick yourself up and keep going’. And I’ve tried so hard. I’m finishing my second year of college now. I kept my word and started school when Charleigh started kindergarten. I’m an English major; of course. Speaking of Charleigh, you should see how big she is now! Six years old, and so full of sass; you’d just eat her up alive. She’s come a long way in the last two years. She still talks about Aunt Julia all the time, and I tell her if she wants to talk to you to just do it, because you’ll hear her. She mostly likes talking about that time you let her ride one of your horses.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, I love you, Jewels. Rest easy, and just know that you haven’t been forgotten here, you never will be. I’ll keep your memory alive, I’ll promise you that. You’re my person after all.
— Half of Team Blonde