Warning: This post is a little sad, but also a little happy. It’s in memory of a friend who passed away in October. He passed unexpectedly in a car crash leaving behind his beautiful wife and baby boy. I have debated writing about him and the impact he had on my life for months. It’s been weighing on my heart and tonight it feels right. Tonight I want to share the story of our friendship.
*For privacy reasons, I will call my friend “Jack.”
Jack and I met in the summer of 06’. We worked at a large fitness center together and quickly become close friends. Jack was sad and pining for his ex-girlfriend (the love of his life) and I was sad and missing Husband (boyfriend at the time) because he was temporarily living in China. Jack and I decided to keep each other company while we missed the ones we loved.
Jack was one of the most honest and open people I have ever met. While getting to know each other he told me all about the struggles had been through recently. He had gotten himself mixed up in the wrong crowd, felt stuck in a bad place, and lost his girlfriend as a result. He fearlessly chose to turn his life around in a powerful way. He literally threw out his phone one night to lose all of the negative “contacts” in his life and made an immediate decision to live healthily and happily. He wanted a fresh start and vowed to surround himself with positive people. Jack was dedicated to his new lifestyle and determined to win his girlfriend back. He knew they were meant to be together.
His passion for life and willingness to share his story with me opened my eyes and helped me see my own struggles. Jack was very easy to talk to about any and everything. I began to open up to him and it felt great. I told him things only my closest girlfriends knew, and some things they didn’t know. I never felt judged. No, Jack made me feel special. He made me feel like it was okay to be a little broken.
Jack was also a workout enthusiast! We spent many, many mornings, days and nights training together. I love exercising, but my passion for fitness doesn’t hold a candle to Jack’s! He is the motivator of all motivators. I think of him almost every time I step into a gym, no one could get me pumped up for a workout like Jack. In fact, over the last few years Jack became manager of the fitness facility where we met, and even ran his own sports performance program. I never doubted he would do great things.
Jack was the kind of friend who cared deeply and worried endlessly. If I was sad, he called. If I was happy, he celebrated. If I was bored, he entertained. Once, I worked late, pulled an all-nighter studying, and met him at the gym at 6 A.M. for a morning shift. I was drained and trying to prep for a big college class presentation. Jack had an energy supplement he took before each workout and I BEGGED him to share. Jack refused saying it was too strong and I couldn’t handle it…
Obviously, I insisted that I could, and repeatedly hassled him until he had to give into my pleads. Even then, he would only give me half.
In class, I felt great and had tons of energy! About ten minutes later a friend pulled me to the side and said, “What is wrong with you?” She then explained to me that I was talking so fast she couldn’t understand me, I was tapping the desk continuously, and my pupils were so large that I had no irises.
Jack never forgave himself (or me) for sharing his supplement with me. He fretted for weeks over that incident.
Jack was also a sensitive guy. We both used music to match our moods, and often discussed how the right songs can be a form of therapy. He gave me a CD of his favorite group, Keane, and told me how every song reminded him of a significant time in his life or of a significant person (most often his ex-girlfriend.)
We spent a lot of time together for about 5 months. We talked on the phone often, went to movies, workout together, and worked together regularly. People began to question if we were dating, but Jack and I never would have dated. We knew we were not each other’s lobsters.
No. We were exactly what each other needed during that short time in our lives. Husband came back from China and I graduated and began teaching. Jack won back the love of his life, and was happier than I ‘d ever seen him. We still talked often, but even that faded. I moved away and we both moved on with our lives. We remained Facebook friends, and commented or messaged each over the years; a “congrats” here, a “happy birthday” there, but nothing more.
When he married the girl he pined for that summer, I know it must have been the happiest day of his life. I celebrated for him when I heard the news. I’m sure he did the same when I married Husband.
I wanted to write this as a thank you. Thank you Jack for being my best friend the summer of 06’ and teaching me to be honest, live life to the fullest, and to surround myself with positive people. You are a true inspiration and are dearly missed.