Her name was Julie. She was the most awesome kid ever. Well...she wasn't a kid. She was as old as I am...20. She had Cystic Fibrosis and struggled with it her entire life. I remember when they told me she died...I knew that it was eventually going to happen but didn't believe it did because Julie (or Jewels, as she preferred to be called) was SO strong. Always in and out of the hospital...the last time she was hospitalized she stayed in for 52 days before finally breathing her last. I don't even know what to say to her boyfriend Ben and his two year old son Shae.
I feel like I failed her. I had a scare with a friend dying earlier this year (it turned out to be a rumour my cousin made up for some stupid reason)...his name is Tim. They said he overdosed on Kedamine (horse tranquilizers). I promised myself once I found out he was actually alive still that I would keep more in touch with Julie...and I sort of did, for awhile.
Then she would disappear for a few weeks and I'd eventually get an email with her hospital room and phone number...I never called. We'd talk on MSN...I just...never thought she'd ACTUALLY die.
I can't sleep. Just as I start to nod I remember how funny she was. I remember how much she loved her Dad (he was our High School Janitor) and how she decorated the janitor closet door on his birthday. I remember how much she talked about her sisters and how excited she was when the Children's Make-A-Wish Foundation granted her wish and sent her and her family on a cruise to DisneyLand. I remember hugging her at Grad and KNOWING she was the happiest person to have actually gradded, because it was against all odds that she wouldn't. I remember eating her favourite food (Baked Spaghetti) at her birthday party...I remember her laugh. I remember her smile. I remember raising money with her and a few other friends for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and doing the walk...and skipping out halfway through (Julie's idea) to go to McDonald's and eat McFlurry's. I remember her showing up at my wedding in the cutest sun-dress and the brightest pink hair. I remember her locker...the pictures on the doors were old and faded...of hospital friends that had died. I remember sitting in class passing notes, and the day she actually got to wear a tank top to school because they had taken out "Bob", her tube under her collarbone that they injected fat and protein into, because her body rejected it and she was too skinny.
I'm flying home on Tuesday...her funeral is Saturday. I don't know what to do or how to feel. I've lost people I loved before, but this is different. It's been awhile.
I don't want anybody to say "Oh, it's not your fault" or "Don't blame yourself".
I know it isn't my fault she died. But it IS my fault that we didn't keep in better contact.
This one's for Julie.