I had a hard time deciding what I wanted to write about today. What with everything going on in the Middle East, and Assange’s hearing on the Swedish rape case, there’s a lot on my mind. And still, there’s something else that’s been bothering me and consuming my mind more than these huge events.
My friend, Jhade.
I don’t know what happened yesterday, but I just spiraled into sadness. I’m still feeling the effects of it today, so I decided I might as well write everything out. Normally, I would call Jhade up and make her hang out with me when I just felt overwhelmingly sad. And I made her do the same when SHE was overwhelmingly sad. At the end of our time together, we would be laughing and sharing all our favorite songs of the moment.
Unfortunately, Jhade isn’t here anymore. She passed away a little over a year ago, from complications of an illness she mostly kept hidden from friends. I was stunned and upset in so many ways. Because I found out on Facebook. Because I thought about calling her the night before but didn’t. You know, the usual gut-wrenching guilt and anger that generally surrounds the death of a loved one.
Let’s rewind to oh, around 2008. I got a voicemail from Jhade, stating she was in the hospital, she was fine, but she almost died, and had a serious condition. Naturally, I made my way to the hospital as fast as I could, and with a half-crying, half-trying-to-be-lighthearted, I told her if anything EVER happened again I needed a call (I never got a call – but I think that has more to do with the fact Jhade hated when people worried about her).
Life was hard for Jhade after that. She was this amazing singer, writer, painter, and artist of all sorts, but her limitations changed her, made her sad and hopeless a lot. She was literally told by doctors she couldn’t sing anymore, because her heart couldn’t take it (how sad is that?). She was a singer. And you know what? She probably had one of the most beautiful voices on this planet. It’s a shame the world never got to hear it (though I feel lucky I did – and can still hear it in my mind!). I tried to encourage her to do things she COULD do, and she did them. But it wasn’t the same. I understood that.
But Jhade, like she always was, took care of everyone else, no matter how bad off she was. We went out to lunch one day and talked about music. There was a Guitar Center right across the parking lot and she wanted me to go look at guitars. So we walked over. Even though she struggled with the short walk there, her face lit up and had 3 people working there tending to my every need. I had no money in my bank account, so she told me to just put the guitar on my credit card. Ha! Oh, she forced me into the best bad decision I’ve ever made! And I could never turn her down for anything when she used her “mother” voice at me…
I still miss her every day. Some days, like today, it just hurts my heart how much I miss her. Days like now, I wish I had called her more, I wish I had talked her into a few more “bad” decisions and I wish I had listened to her good advice. Days like today, I would give anything for a letter from her, and I wish I could write her. I don’t believe in heaven, but she did. Either way, I know that her soul is still out there, doing things. I dream about her all the time. So much reminds me of her.
But nothing reminds me more of Jhade than music. That’s where our souls totally linked. And she did this really annoying thing all the time, and I do it too, when she really liked a song, she’d play it on repeat until it was burned in your brain forever.
One night we had a sleepover and watched 50 First Dates and she played IZ’s version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” for like, 3 hours afterward. I was annoyed by the song, until now. Now, I can’t help but cry when I hear it. It means a lot more to me now.
So here’s to you, Jhade: I will always love you, you’re always on my mind. And I promise to never again waste a moment of my life not doing what I love doing. Life really is short, but it can be a great ride if you want it to be.
Until next time.