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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Remembering Christina


Me with Christina - the summer of 1999

I'm feeling sappy and emotional, so I'm about to treat this blog like a journal or therapist, or something like that. If you don't feel up for that, I understand, and I promise to be back to showing you my outfits tomorrow. :)

I feel like it happens way too often, a high school losing a student due to somebody's poor decisions while behind the wheel of a car. That happened to my friend Christina 13 years ago yesterday. We were 15. It was a Friday and we had our last class of the day with each other that year. I remember having backpacks on, goofing off with a few other friends, just waiting for the bell to ring. There was a home football game that night, but as she headed home with a few friends, most of us stayed for either cross country or volleyball practice first.

I ran cross country and Fridays were what we called our traditional practice. I'm not sure why we called them that, but since it was the day before a meet, we'd simply do our usual warm up, then just turn around and do our usual cool down. We got to do this without the watchful eye of our coach because he was meeting with the guys team, which always made it more fun. I remember passing the baseball field, then the practice football field, and as we turned to come back into the stadium and on the track, I remember laughing and having a good time with the girls. I know I saw the lifelight go by, the crash happened within a few miles of the school, but I never gave it a thought.

After we finished our workout, we swapped places with the guys and went into the school for our team meeting with coach. I'm sure we talked strategy and all that good stuff, but I don't remember any of that. We headed to the locker room to get our stuff, then walked out to the parking lot as a team. I remember a teacher who I'd had as a softball coach and is the aunt of my oldest and closest friends stopped us and asked one of the girls if she had talked to her dad. When she said no, she told her she better go talk to him before heading home. You see, that girl was Christina's cousin, the girl's dad was our assistant coach.  They grew up about a mile apart, and if she would've headed right home from practice, she would've no doubt gone past the crash site and seen everything.

Our immediate reaction was to all spend as much time as we could together. We had a pretty big group of us that were close and I remember spending each night that weekend at a different friends house with everybody, only leaving to go our cross country meet on Saturday. When my parents finally made me stay home, I remember being so mad that I told my mom I hated her, then pouted on the front porch. Freezing, but too stubborn to come inside. Thankfully she knew I didn't mean it, but I think it about broke her heart to see us all go through that.

I truthfully don't think it'll ever get easier. I can't speak to what my friends have experienced, but I know for me, the way I grieve changes. Most recently I've thought about the 3 boys her sisters had - nephews she never got the chance to meet. The past few years I've had so much fun being Aunt Jess to my niece and nephew, and I think that's why it makes me so sad that she never got to experience that either. The date of the accident is always a day that I think of her, but events have been hard too. Proms, graduation, weddings she missed out on. That 10 year reunion I had back in June? We had it at a bar that Christina's parents opened up a few years ago. I was fine until the end of the night, when the bar was closing and we were all getting ready to go home. I went up to the bar to close out my tab, and Christina's mom was the one behind the bar who helped me. I tried to keep my composure and focus on managing a signature, but the tears just rolled. I'm sure the excessive amount of Bud Light I consumed didn't help! Her mom noticed and came out from the bar and just hugged me. It was good to see her and to tell her that we all still think of Christina and miss her like crazy. She should've been able to be there with us that night and I know if she was still alive, that she would've been. She wouldn't have been one of the ones we hadn't seen since graduation - she still would've been one of the girls.



3 comments:

  1. Heartbreaking story. I'm so sorry you lost your friend at such a young age. Suddenly losing someone you love is such a difficult thing to go through. I've learned to hug my loved ones tighter and tell them that I love them every day. Sending you a great big hug :)

    Take care Jess!

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  2. Hugs to you - I lost a friend around this time of year too, due to cancer, and it is hard. It gets a little easier with each passing year and like you said, the grief changes as time goes on. Talking about it helps too, so I'm glad you blogged about this!

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  3. So sorry you and your friends went through this at such a young age Jess, but it's always good to remember and keep those great souls alive in our hearts. Glad you posted this today and I hope it helped you heal a little more. <3

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