I’ve started a new series on my blog. When something occurs in my life that I want to remember or document I’m going to post about it. How is that different from what I’ve been doing? Good question. These episodes will be more of a memory journal than an opinion piece. I’m hoping to find something once a month to document and share in this way. This episode shares some heartache. Read on and the tell me what you thought in the comments below!
Highschool is a time of learning, growing and (at least for me) some intense, uncontrollable crushing on boys. I can remember every boy that crossed my path back then who made an impression in my soul. Sadly, this past weekend, one of those boys died. Who knew a loss from the past would crumble a little piece of my heart to dust.
When I saw the obit on Facebook (a friend from highschool shared it – I don’t live in the same town anymore) I went momentarily numb. There was an accident here that had closed a road for a lengthy amount of time and guess what – it was him. The circumstances seem quite unfortunate, and if you’d care to satisfy your morbid curiosity, the article from the local paper is here.
Regardless of the situation I am actually surprisingly upset by his death. When I was 16 (20 years ago!) this guy had somehow worked his way into my heart. He was a “cool” guy with all his “cool” friends and I was just the smart, quiet girl. We had a few classes together; he used my crush on him to get me to help him with his math, we dissected a frog together (which he was so squeamish about!) and I basked in every minute. Only my really close friends knew how intensely I liked this guy.
I’d seen Jesse around town a few times in the years since graduation. I’m still that shy quiet girl around people I have (or had) intense feelings for. He looked the same – my heart skipped a beat when I realized who it was. But then I just smiled and walked by. No stopping to chat. And those few sightings were likely 15 years ago now.
The most amazing thing about this tragic ordeal is how much I remember about my life in highschool. I remember being in that math class, gazing at the back of his head and hoping he’d ask me to help him. I remember how I couldn’t talk to him about anything but math. And I remember the jackhammering of my heart as I tried to explain whatever we were trying to learn, and wondering why he couldn’t hear it too. Those memories are there, etched into my heart, and now when I think back to that time there’s a shadow of sadness knowing he’s gone from the world forever.
What really gets the tears flowing is knowing he had a family – a wife and 3 children. If I feel this sad about a guy I knew 20 years ago I can’t possibly comprehend how they are feeling right now. A piece of my heart is gone forever, but they’ve lost a husband, a father, and a friend. Every quiet moment I’ve had for the past few days has been filled with my memories of Jesse. I don’t think I could stand it if it was my husband, the father of my children who had been snatched from the world at age 35. My heart cries for them.
I was not surprised when my best girlfriend from highschool messaged me about Jesse’s death. She alone, of everyone I ever knew and likely will ever know, understands me and my wild crushes. Her message caught me at the perfect time, and I was able to chat for a few minutes about it. She told me I was the first person she thought of when she heard the news. I should hope so – no one crushes on boys quite like I did (and still sometimes do!)
It was quite cathartic and comforting to know someone else out there gets me and totally understands what I’m feeling right now, even if we don’t speak much. Don’t get me wrong – there are a lot of people in my life right now who understand that I’m upset by this news, but they weren’t there when I was trying to time my walk down the hall at school hoping to catch him coming out of his last classroom so I can walk behind him on the way to our mutual classes. This was the intensity of my boy crushes in highschool.
Thank you for letting me share my feelings. If you’re still reading, double thanks! I feel a little better getting this down “on paper” and I hope over the next days my thoughts and feelings will lessen in intensity. I only teared up twice while writing this. Who knew a loss from the past would crush a little piece of my heart and bring back so many strong and emotional memories.
Those are the hardest years. The years of the deepest emotions and the most confusion all at the same time. Your heart is broken, but this pain will allow you to be the best Mom in the world to your own two beautiful girls when it’s their turn to live through those years. Because of YOUR pain, you will never negate their feelings as “foolish” or tell them “that’s silly, you’ll get over it” because you know they are real loves and they never WILL forget. Bless you Jess for being so true to your feelings. XOXO
What a lovely comment Martha! Thank you for your kind words and understanding. Patrick really can’t wrap his head around my emotional instability right now over someone from my far distant past. But he was never a 16 year old, boy crazy girl. I can only hope my experiences will help me with my girls when they get there. I will say I do feel a little silly for having such major feelings over this when it really was a lifetime ago…but the heart is a funny thing. Thanks again!
Sorry to hear that this has hit you so hard. As a teen you never told us that much about what was going on at school let alone your feelings about boys. It seems that
the first people your own age to pass away are the hardest to deal with. Especially when they have a young family like yours. It does get somewhat easier to deal with these feelings as you get older. I sincerely hope that you won’t have to deal with anything like this again for a very long time. Love you.
Thanks Mom. I think it’s the young family part that really got to me. I’m thankful for everyone’s support and comments, and the opportunity to write out my feelings to help me get through it. Love you too.
I’m so sorry to hear about your friend. It’s amazing how things from so long ago can still have such a huge impact and I think things from our teenage years can be the worst because our feelings were so huge back then and they can still feel so real all these years later.
Thank you Melissa. I agree completely – those teenage years hold a lot of emotions in them. Thanks for sharing my post!
Sorry to hear about your loss. A couple of years ago I heard some news about a boy I had a thing for when I was a teenager. (We even went out a couple of times.) The news of his death, even though we hadn’t seen each other in a few years, was a little rough. I can understand your feelings. Thanks for sharing! #alittlebitofeverything
I found it kind of wild, how strong my feeling still were. I’m still sad thinking about it. Thanks for sharing your experience with me.
I can understand this hitting you hard. I avoided Facebook for many years and then decided to get it. It is amazing how many people have views of you (positive) than what you had for yourself in high school. I have been out for 30 years and some of the feelings I had for people back then resurfaced. It is amazing.
Sorry and prayers for your lost.
It really is amazing how those feelings get buried, but they’re very much still there. And the memories – sometimes they feel like just yesterday. Thanks for your comment.
Grief is a powerful thing! I definitely find that writing about it helps. It’s a great release to get those emotions out. My advice is always to grieve however your heart tells you to. It is yours alone. Hugs to you.
Thank you Emily. What a lovely comment. You are absolutely right – grief is different for everyone. It felt good for me to write it out. Thanks for the comment (and the hugs!)