My Best Friend, Jean
Jean and I were so close and I loved her like a sister. We lost touch in our twenties and by the time I located her it was too late. She was gone from this world in a very painful and devastating way.
As shocked and saddened as I was about all I learned, somehow I think she would have been very pleased with the results of how I came to find out about her demise.
This is that story.
"A best friend is like a four-leaf clover: hard to find and lucky to have."
Small Town Friends High on Love
We lived a couple miles apart and would walk and meet each other in the small town where we lived as often as her dad would allow her.
He was the town doctor and was a little stricter on her than my mom was me. Well, my dad either worked or slept all the daylight hours He was never home until after midnight so he had no idea anyway and left all that up to Mom. She trusted me always, as well she should have.
My boyfriend played music with his band in the bottom of a shoe store on weekends and that is where we would meet on any day. Outside that is, by a creek that flowed there. There was a cement wall just over the creek where we could sit and stretch our legs while enjoying the flow of the water. No one but us around in a town full of people. It was perfect.
We discussed everything and Jean was the most mature friend I had ever known. She was very pretty and much taller than I was. But her body did not seem flexible for being a cheer leader which I tried my best to get her to do with me. Then too, her dancing lacked rhythm or so I thought was the problem. I would never say anything to hurt her feelings so I just took her as she was and she would dance with me at least once on a dance night. (This meant nothing now but would later when I learned Jean's tragic story.)
I loved dancing and hardly missed a dance being very glad my boyfriend did not mind all the boys I danced with. It was the time of a new music era and I loved every minute of it. The boys didn't matter and rarely was there a waltz or dance to touch another. If you danced alone I doubt anyone would have noticed with so many on the dance floor but of course I would not do that.
Although we had many high school classes together, here at this creek was where we did most of our talking. We came here as often as we could. We were both good kids who never dreamed of drugs or wild parties. We loved life just as it was. We were both high on love.
"You can always tell when two people are best friends because they are having more fun than it makes sense for them to be having."
Falling in Love
Jean and her family had moved south from New Jersey just a few years before so she really did not know everyone forever at this school, as I did. I knew many older kids through my older brother and sister when I was just in grade school. They looked after me when I was cheer leading at this school from grade school, until my sister or brother showed up to get me. I was shy but still, I knew them all by name and a little more about some. Some would even dance with me way back then at this little teen joint below the school. The juke box was always blaring and I loved it.
Jean had just started dating an older boy who was the age of my brother or sister years ahead of me. He had just beat in time failing and hanging around high school for years and I could not stand her loving him. I tried as nicely as I could to point out all these things to her but all she saw was a man she thought was in love with her. He was very tall and good looking, the rest really were boys, so I kind of understood. I just hated to see her hurt and maybe tossed aside. He did not toss her though and they did end up marrying which to me was even worse. I knew this sweet kind person deserved so much better.
We never fought or even argued over any of this and she apparently told him my views because when we would meet again she would tell me what he thought of my boyfriend. It hurt my feelings a little because she had even gone on one date with my boyfriend that I set up. Crazy, huh? Yep, but not kinky, and that was another story.
Best Friends Forever - BFF
High School was over and both Jean and I had married our boyfriends. We loved being together but life just seemed to have other plans.
Out of the blue right before Jean disappeared forever she called me and said her husband was out of town and she wanted me to come spend some time with her. My husband was away in service so it was perfect.
We had the very best time and she had baked me a chocolate mint cake and frozen it which made it taste just like mint ice cream. I bet I ate half of that cake! I was there a couple of days though and neither Jean nor I weighed even 100 pounds at this time. I was a guilt-free glutton! Jean had always been the one to make clothes and be a great cook. I had years to go to learn all this! She seemed so perfect to me! We had Home Economics together and I was the joke. She knew it all before she got there!
She said I could sleep with her or on the couch, only having a small place with one bedroom. I chose her bed after yelling from couch to bedroom several minutes. It seemed awkward at first, but we had always slept together as teens and whispered to not wake her little sister in the other twin bed!
She told me all that was going on with her and it was very sad. She would need surgery to remove ovaries and if she wanted a child she only had a small opportunity of time to have one, if it were possible even then. She did want one so bad but her husband said no.
This was hard to hear and I admit I burned with hatred for him but I could not let that show and was thankful for the darkness. What advice can you give your best friend on this? This was completely up to them and I could do nothing but hurt for her. She had wanted to share this with me and I know she knew my thoughts, surely. We talked what seemed forever until we could stay awake no longer.
Lost but Not Forgotten
I tried over the years to find Jean. Her dad had passed away and her family moved, I assumed back to New Jersey, but I really had no idea. I lived out of state when this happened so I had no idea or chance to get in touch with her at this time.
I got in touch with her husband’s family when I did hear and they said they had moved out of state, but they had no idea where. This scared me. How do you have no idea where your brother and his wife has moved to?
One day at a Dairy Queen a couple of years later I ran into her husband. He was high as could be. He looked scary, but I didn’t care. I asked him about Jean. Once he could comprehend what I was asking he said he had no idea, they were not together anymore. I could just imagine Jean dead and buried somewhere and no one ever finding her body. I went home and cried. That man looked so wild and had no idea where Jean was? I did not believe him, yet later I found out that was probably the truth.
I had been into the internet awhile but mostly just playing games with people all over the world and nothing more. I got an email one day something about classmates and Jean's name. It shocked and excited me but when I mentioned it to my son he warned me, as he usually did, that there were some weirdos online and to take care. Still, I decided finally to go to classmates and look around, just in case. Weeks went by and I went in more and more, reading here and there. In one discussion someone wanted to know if maybe her mother, Jean had been trying to get in touch with them.
I was floored. Was this Jean’s daughter? Had she had that child she wanted so much? We got to talking and it was very sad news, Jean had passed from toxic shock brought on by MS, which she had been suffering from for quite a while. She was even involved in marches and raising money for the MS Foundation. (Her daughter still is.)
We exchanged emails and photos and I found out that wild man was not the father of this daughter and I was so happy about that. Jean had met someone else and as pretty as she was in high school, she was absolutely gorgeous as she grew older, I saw from shared photos.
Multiple Sclerosis - When Did it Start?
I have not discussed whether it might be true or not with anyone but felt this disease was no doubt responsible for Jean’s lack of flexibility in her teens when I wanted so bad for her to be in cheer leading and she just said she could not and I left her alone seeing the stiffness in her legs when she danced. I had never heard of MS then, yet something apparently was forming in her body even then. (Also, I could later compare her form to my sister-in-laws, who had that same stiffness and also developed MS.)
I hated so bad Jean was gone and we would never see each other again and I felt so sure Jean had been trying to reach me to tell me about this daughter she had been blessed with. Maybe she knew or felt her end was near and wanted to share that with me, too..
This daughter was beautiful also and was happy to find out so much from me as I did her, about Jean. Today of course finding and contacting someone is so much easier and even then, I think I just barely missed Jean. That has always made me feel so bad with regret.
I know Jean would be so happy that her daughter and I met and have had so many conversations and that now I can really follow her daughter’s life. I watch her as she ages and see my friend in her so much. Both are such special people. We still chat occasionally and I have to remind her periodically how very proud I know Jean would be of her.
As you may have guessed I wrote a poem for Jean. I have also included a beautiful song called "Jean" for her. Please enjoy.
Losing best friends.
Have you ever lost a best friend?
Jean, my friend all the flowers have bloomed
That I see and remind me that you are not here
That you left me without saying goodbye
Where you would be going, or your fear
You would never carry the child you so longed for
You had told me you wanted so badly
But I know now my friend your fight in the end
You fought not only for you, but you left life so sadly
As I cried learning you had gone with no hope
Of seeing you again when I had searched for so long
Fearing for you and your life my dear friend
Never dreaming of what had lasted so long gone wrong
Although my fears were for your life, I had no idea
I never dreamed all the pain you endured
I know as all the others who loved you did too
Wishing and praying for you there would be a cure
If anyone deserved long life it was you, I really feel
So good, so sweet, but God blessed you with that baby
When we last saw each other you had wished for
My heart hoped dear Jean, wishing you might, just maybe
So sorry you had to leave this wonderful granted child
too soon you have made the journey we all must take
But your spirit will always be with us still, without pain
So sad you are gone, wish I had known for both our sake
I hope you somehow knew I was always thinking of you
Hoping to see and talk to you at least, my best friend
To know you were alright, to hear of your plight
That took you so quickly without words, with no amend
Knowing you hated to admit fault in the love you chose
It would have been something hard to tell me, at the end
But surely you knew I would be glad you had dropped
That sorrow, and you had found happiness finally, my friend
For you to finally find a true love you deserved
To help see you through your pain and many sorrows
He and your child shared a wonderful happy life
Gave you love and joy for all of your last tomorrows
I think of you so often Jean, and the others I loved that are gone
And when I see spring budding out and the beauty it gives
I know somewhere you are near, with nothing ever more to fear
Watching ones who love and miss you, truly, you are the one that lives
Jean - Still Loved So Much
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© 2017 Jackie Lynnley