December Journal Challenge: Week Two

Friday, December 11, 2020

This week's challenge is definitely a challenge. I struggled with writing this one because it brought up a lot of emotions I thought I finally accepted and got over. But the truth is, I never got over it and it's likely it will be a while before I am over it. 

Week Two: What is the saddest event/memory of 2020?

2020 was for sure filled with a ton of sad and depressing ass memories. I could go on and on about the several losses we've had this year. And although I could choose from several events that occurred in 2020, this one is most personal for me.

In February, a friend of mine from college, Jalissa, passed away. It's still unclear to me the exact reason for why, but I heard it was due to complications from surgery. I knew she struggled with some health issues, but she never gave the impression that it was life threatening. I can still remember exactly what I was doing and exactly what was happening when I found out.

It was early morning. I had just arrived at that God awful job I posted about in my previous week's challenge. Because I hated that job so much I would sit in my car for an extra 10-15 minutes before walking into the building. Typically, I would talk to my mom to pass time, but this morning I was scrolling through Facebook.

As soon as I opened the app, a classmate shared an old picture of herself with Jalissa and captioned "May you rest in peace."

My heart dropped.

I screamed to myself, "Oh hell no!"

I began digging through Jalissa's Facebook profile and the captions were continuous. Everyone was saying rest in peace. Everyone was sharing old pictures they had of her, and remembering such good times they shared.

All I could do was cry out because I didn't know what happened.

I sat in my car crying outside of my job. I couldn't move and I didn't know what to do. The shock of it all completely numbed me. 

Eventually, I mustered the energy to message my supervisor to let her know what had happened and I came home for the rest of the day. 

I was devastated. I still am. The last time I spoke with Jalissa was over Instagram as she commented on a video I shared of Liam. It was three days prior to finding out about her death. 

Jalissa was one of my first friends at Claflin. I don't make friends easily and she was someone that I found easy to be around. She was wild but fun. She was quiet but loud at the same time. She pulled something out of me that I didn't know was there, and for that reason alone I valued the friendship we had. 

My biggest regret is not keeping in touch more often after we graduated from college. She lived in Spartanburg and I am here in Charleston. We kept saying that one day we'll come to visit one another, but for some reason we never did. 

We still kept in touch frequently over social media. To this day, whenever I scroll through Facebook memories there's most likely a post in which she commented on or shared with me. Although she and I didn't have the friendship most people would consider close, she played a huge part in my life that I didn't acknowledge was dear to me until after she passed away. 

The best memories I can think about during college, she was a part of it. I'm angry with myself for not letting her know just how much she meant to me.

We often think we have so much time, but life is short. I believe she and I thought we had so much time to see each other again that we didn't push ourselves hard enough to just do it. 

This is still a very sad reality for me. 

What I learned from her death is to value the relationships you have with people. Tell them how much they mean to you and don't delay spending time with them. 

It makes my heart smile to know that she touched so many people in her life and that so many people have such great things to remember about her. She really was a great person! 

RIP Jalissa.

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