Our greatest fear realized

One of the people who supported me the most when my mom was sick needs my support now, and the support of others. I have talked about Jessie’s generosity and good character before and she is still a close friend I see at least once every couple of weeks. I’ve written a lot of praise about her but it still doesn’t quite do her justice. I can’t really explain to you just how far Jessie will go to help someone and comfort them; you just have to know her.

Her dad died suddenly last night. Her parents had just gotten back from a cruise a day or two earlier. They’d never been on a cruise before, and Jessie was telling me how much fun they were having when I met up with her Thursday night. Can you imagine? I can’t tell you about suddenly losing a parent, only very slowly losing one. So I can’t comprehend the shock of receiving that phone call – it’s a horrible, sickening thing to imagine that makes my heart ache just thinking about. It’s our greatest fear realized. And Jessie is honestly the last person to deserve such a painful event – not that anyone really deserves it, of course. But especially not her. Jessie was not only there for me when my mom was diagnosed with cancer; she checked in on me and my whole family throughout the worst nine months of our lives.

And she stayed. That’s the important part.

I called my dad last night after I heard the news; something about hearing about the loss of a friend’s dad made me want to call mine more than ever, and he reminded me that Jessie knew better than most what it would take to help me through our loss. She was still there after all the visitors went home, the chicken casseroles and cards stopped coming, and the phone stopped ringing. That’s the loneliest part of grieving, months later, and in the moments when you find yourself alone and it’s suddenly almost unbearable. Jessie seemed to have a sixth sense about that kind of despair and knew when to check in and make sure I was doing okay. And if I wasn’t, she could handle the weight of my grief when I couldn’t. She still asks about my dad whenever we meet up for coffee, and I’m not sure they’ve ever spoken.

You don’t get over it, you get through it. And it’s my turn to help her get through this. I am so sorry for her and I have a feeling I know what lies ahead of her. Two years ago I only knew a couple people around my age who had lost a parent. I remember I wanted to talk to them more than anyone else. I’m not sure Jessie will feel the same, but I want to be there for her somehow.

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