When I went to say goodbye to Jackie, I sat next to her bed, and held her hand. On the other side of the bed was her oldest sister, Stephanie, and sitting at Jackie’s feet was her oldest friend, Michaela. They asked me if I wanted them to leave, but I said no. I’d already had my private conversations with Jackie, and frankly I knew if they weren’t there I’d never have the courage to leave her bedside.
I rubbed Jackie’s head while she slept, and I chatted a bit with Michaela and Stephanie. As we fell into silence, I noticed that Jackie’s iPod was randomly playing “Chasing Cars,” by Snow Patrol. It was specifically at this verse:
I don’t quite know
How to say
How I feel
Those three words
Are said too much
They’re not enough
I looked at Michaela and then Stephanie. “Are you kidding me that this song is playing right now?” And then I started laughing, because I had to. It was the kind of absurdly serious moment that defined our friendship. Jackie and I always joked that our lives over the last five years were straight out of a TV drama, but one of us would always point out that we were more of a comedy with dark twists. We had to laugh, because if we didn’t, we’d cry. So we made morbid, self-deprecating jokes to carry us through the hard moments.
I wanted to laugh with Jackie about the Snow Patrol song. I was not ready to have a hard moment without hearing her laugh. So I opened my mouth to tell her, but when I looked at her serene sleeping face, the only words that came out were, “I love you.”
And she mouthed back, “I love you, too.”
Beautiful post. She was a beautiful soul and no- life isnt fair. I just know that she and Maddie and your aunt are taking care of one another. I just know it.
She might not have bee physically able to laugh just then, but the fact that she responded to you shows that she’d shared that one last bit of absurdity with you. And, strangely, that moves me to quick flowing tears more quickly than the pictures of her bright$ smiling eyes or her love-filled face in those precious pictues with your girls.
I know you’re going to miss her dreadfully–and it will be future moments like those that can pierce your heart most.
I hope and pray that in those times you’ll remember her mouthing “I love you” to you…because that’ll never change.
With love, hugs, and tenderness~Mary
Oh gosh, it hurts to hear of the loss of your wonderful friend, but the world is better for that kind of love in it xx
Can’t find words again. Just cyber (((hugs))) and love to you, Jackie and your friends and families.
Beautiful words for a beautiful friendship. Sending the kindest thoughts I can across the Internet.
Heather & Mike
I am so sorry for the loss of your beautiful friend, Jackie. The photo you posted of her in a previous post shows what a bright light she must have been in this world. It’s so senseless and tragic that someone like her should leave this life before her time.
Hugs…thinking of you.
Utterly beautiful. Your reaction to the Chasing Cars lyrics made me smile, and I’m glad the moment made you laugh. I’ve always believed that laughter is medicine for the soul. So I’m very happy that in the midst of this tragedy, you still have your sense of humor. Never lose that. She wouldn’t want that! xxx
Beautiful! Jackie was such an amazing woman and I’m so lucky to have known her! I love you!
Beth Mariel says:
That’s really beautiful no other words can describe it. Jackie has sure made her mark on this world. I’m so sorry, sending you my love.
I am so so sorry for your loss. Jackie was such a beautiful person, in every possible sens. I only know her through your writing, but her grace shines through your words. I will hold you and your family and her loved ones in my heart.
I am really sorry for your loss Heather and Mike. The world lost a wondetful person, as I gather from reading your post. I am saying a prayer for you guys and Jackie’s family.
I think that I would have loved Jackie! Thank you for letting us get to know her a little. xo
My heart just breaks for you. Your post made me cry for your loss.
Reading your posts about Jackie! break my heart for you. Having been through this with a close friend I know how gut wrenching the grief is, but imagining it happening to my best friend who I love more than life makes me feel like I can’t even breathe. All my thoughts and prayers are with you at this horrible time xxxx
You are both so lucky to have had each other. I feel like I got to know a piece of her through your writing. Thanks for that. Much love to all of you.
This post gave me goosebumps – it is so perfectly beautiful. I love the idea of life being more of a comedy with dark twists. If it is ok with you I might borrow that during my dark days. As always I wish I had the right words but until I find them I am just sending hugs. Take care.
I’m glad you had those moments….as ironic as they were. Jackie will never be far from your heart Heather. She is throughout your soul – just like you are throughout hers. You will meet again and when you do, I bet she’ll be holding Maddie and both of them will have their beyond BEAUTIFUL SMILES on their precious faces!!!
Thinking of you my friend….
I am sorry for the loss of your friend. This Story People quote is something that gets me through some hard times when I am missing loved ones. Thoughts and Prayers for you all.
“I carry you with me into the world,
into the smell of rain
& the words that dance between people
& for me, it will always be this way,
walking in the light,
remembering being alive together” -Living Memory
cindy w says:
So glad you got that moment. So sorry for what you’re going through now.
Looks like a lot of people are having the same thought after reading your post – “beautiful”. It’s the word that came to my mind too.
How vwrtr special and touching. The post made me cry. You will be in my thoughts Heather.
Just beautiful. And beautiful song, too. There’s a kind of random song that reminds me very much of my deceased father… a Carly Simon song from years and years ago, and there have been several times that the song has come on the radio or shuffled on to my iPod on meaningful days (Christmas Eve, my husband’s grandfather’s funeral day). I choose to believe that it’s the universe’s way of giving me an extra hug, or maybe even my Dad winking at me.
Anyway, a tangent to say that I am sending you and Jackie prayers, and virtual hugs. xoxo
I would bawl, but instead I will make sad clown face and then stick my tongue out at you, because I also enjoy the absurd. Love you.
Ashley Hast says:
Made me cry. I don’t know you, or Jackie!, personally, but my heart aches for you. My lifelong bestie’s name is Jackie, and I couldn’t imagine her not being here. Prayers.
You and Jackie! remain in my thoughts… hugs.
Beautiful, Heather. Simply beautiful, just like the two of you. xoxo
I think Jackie! heard and appreciated your last absurd moment together. I hope thinking of your silly memories with her makes you smile. I am so sorry that she is gone.
I just want you and Mike to know I’m thinking of you. Your honesty in sharing the story of your lives has been amazing and I thank you for that. I’m so sorry for all the loss you have faced.
Kristin (MamaKK922) says:
What an amazing friendship you two had. And I am so privileged that you are sharing your love and stories you have with Jackie! HUGS
Katrina @ They All Call Me Mom says:
I love that she heard you talking about that song, and she heard the humor you were referring to. Maybe physically she could not join you in the laughter, but she said “I love you” back after you said it to her, which means she heard the humor, too.
It makes my heart hurt that you have just lost such a wonderful friend. It makes my heart hurt to think that Jackie!’s life was cut short. But it’s so very wonderful that she went “out” that way — surrounded by such wonderful friends and family, so much love, and a friend who found some humor among the sadness …. and wasn’t afraid to share it with her.
I just don’t know how many holes your heart can take anymore. I am sorry about the loss of Jackie! Thinking of you and Jackie’s family. There are just way too many beautiful souls taken way too soon. I will never understand.
Oh Heather, I am in tears as I read this. I am so sorry to hear about the loss of Jackie! It sounds like the two of you had an amazing friendship & bond & that she was a wonderful person. My thoughts & prayers will be with you & your family, as well as Jackie’s family during this very difficult time. (((hugs)))
heather, you are a beautiful, brave writer. brave because you fearlessly share your journey and your emotions. i think about you + your family non-stop. to say i’m sorry isn’t enough, but i am sending love, hugs + light.
Heather, this has always given me a sense of peace. I just think it’s so beautifully written, and I hope you can find some peace in it, too.
You Want a Physicist to Speak at Your Funeral
You want a physicist to speak at your funeral. You want the physicist to talk to your grieving family about the conservation of energy, so they will understand that your energy has not died. You want the physicist to remind your sobbing mother about the first law of thermodynamics; that no energy gets created in the universe, and none is destroyed. You want your mother to know that all your energy, every vibration, every Btu of heat, every wave of every particle that was her beloved child remains with her in this world. You want the physicist to tell your weeping father that amid energies of the cosmos, you gave as good as you got.
And at one point you’d hope that the physicist would step down from the pulpit and walk to your brokenhearted spouse there in the pew and tell him that all the photons that ever bounced off your face, all the particles whose paths were interrupted by your smile, by the touch of your hair, hundreds of trillions of particles, have raced off like children, their ways forever changed by you. And as your widow rocks in the arms of a loving family, may the physicist let her know that all the photons that bounced from you were gathered in the particle detectors that are her eyes, that those photons created within her constellations of electromagnetically charged neurons whose energy will go on forever.
And the physicist will remind the congregation of how much of all our energy is given off as heat. There may be a few fanning themselves with their programs as he says it. And he will tell them that the warmth that flowed through you in life is still here, still part of all that we are, even as we who mourn continue the heat of our own lives.
And you’ll want the physicist to explain to those who loved you that they need not have faith; indeed, they should not have faith. Let them know that they can measure, that scientists have measured precisely the conservation of energy and found it accurate, verifiable and consistent across space and time. You can hope your family will examine the evidence and satisfy themselves that the science is sound and that they’ll be comforted to know your energy’s still around. According to the law of the conservation of energy, not a bit of you is gone; you’re just less orderly.
Courtney, this is amazing. I’ve read it five times, and still have chills. Thank you so much for sharing it with me.
You are so very welcome. I also find myself re-reading it many times. It flows beautifully and it is so, very comforting for me. I hope you find it comforting and peaceful, too. I comment sometimes, but I read your blog every day. You are an absolute inspiration for so many people–I hope you know that. So many virtual hugs being sent your way.
That is so perfect….I usually tell people energy can’t be created or destroyed so you just have to look for the little signs. Wind sighing. A bird on a windowsill. That gives me the faith I need. Jackie’s will probably show up in sparkly way. Thank you for sharing….
That’s a really beautiful thought–that the wind blowing on your face contains the energy of your loved one. I’m going to remember that
Jackie’s! words will forever live in your heart, Heather. I’m glad you had that moment with her.
What a beautiful moment. I’m so glad you had that with her, and so sorry that she’s gone.
this post breaks my heart. I am so terribly sorry for your loss.
grief is always hard, but seeing your recent photos of you and Jackie! on facebook is proof that you will always have her memory at the forefront of your mind and in that special place in your heart.
you’re such a lucky woman to have known such a wonderful person like Jackie! and even more lucky that you can call her your friend.
much love to you Heather, and to your friends, Jackie’s family and her friends also. this world has lost a wonderful lady, and may her soul rest in peace.
My heart breaks for you and all those that loved Jackie!. Knowing her only through your blog, it is so easy to see what a vibrant and loving friend she was. Praying for comfort and peace for you and Jackie!’s family during this time…
I am so deeply sorry for the loss of Jackie! I wish there
was something more I could do or say to make it better. I’m sorry I can’t. Just sorry:(
michele wallace says:
Thinking about you Heather – When I got done reading your post I had a knot in my throat – I dont know you nor her but imagine your friendship was awesome. She will now be up above with your little one caring for her. Hugs to you – my heart aches for your fam.
I thought about you a lot these past few days. Sunday night I laughed and joked with my friend and co-worker. Monday morning he was gone. He died suddenly, they don’t know why yet. I’m still in shock. Grieving I guess. I don’t quite know what to do, what to say to his partner of 14 years, what to say to his family, his parents, his brother. He was only 49. I’ve read your posts about Jackie and have been praying for her and now my Doug. Jackie will always be with you and your friendship is something that will never fade. I ache for you. I’m glad you got to be with her. Cherish, as I’m sure you are, everything.
Hugs to you, Jess. Wishing you comfort.
I’ve thought of you SO much, Heather. You aren’t far from the minds of many, many, many.
I’m really sad that Maddie and JACKIE! died. Let’s keep them alive by remembering them as much as possible.
Like so many here, I don’t know you or Jackie personally. However, since you first posted last week about Jackie, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about her, and you, and your friendship. You can see her spirit in every photo you’ve posted, and I agree with the physicists that her energy is still here and will stay with you forever.
A beautiful moment that you will cherish forever.
Oh I love Courtney’s shared letter! Yesterday, I suddenly thought poignantly of my grandfather as it goes, and sort of asked for a visit from him. Within 10 minutes I was out the front door with a basket of fruit scraps from peeling peaches and there in our gravel driveway was a butterfly sitting poking his little ‘tongue’ about in the dirt. His right wing was slightly tattered as if he had been traveling and living heartily. I put my hand down and he walked right onto my finger. I put my hand into the fruit arranging the juiciest bits for him and he sat and drank for at least 8 minutes before slowly gathering himself and fluttering 3 feet away to the roof of my husband’s car. He stayed a bit longer when I walked over and then fluttered slowly into a nearby tree.