Last week I lost a very important person to my past.
A boy I went to school and graduated with.
A boy I went to church with and traveled across the world with.
A boy I got to laugh with, cry with, and go to prom with.
A boy with a name as big as his heart...
A boy named James Overton Beck the fourth.
I remember like it was yesterday, the first time I ever met Jay.
I was 16 years old and a sophomore in high school.
I was wearing a black skirt with a grey sweater and Jay was wearing jeans and a forest green button down shirt.
I was leaving Sunday morning church and walking out to my car when a boy started walking along side of me.
(a tall handsome boy at that!)
He said "Hey, don't you go to Coon Rapids High School?"
I said "Yeah, do you?"
To which he replied "Yep!"
By the time that short conversation was over we were standing besides our cars which just so happened to be parked right next to each other.
I said "Well, maybe I'll see you around school... I'm off to get some flowers!"
Jay replied "I could get some flowers?!"
I said "What?!"
He said "It's Mother's Day, I assume you're getting flowers for your Mom and I should probably get some for mine too."
And with that statement, Jay (this new stranger) was getting into the passenger seat of my car.
Little did either one of us know at the time, but that small encounter is what started the next 2.5 years of our life together.
We quickly became very close friends.
He started coming to my locker and walking with me to class.
We started sitting together at church.
I started cheering him on on the football field.
He started to call the snack pantry in my house "his bedroom".
We started taking road trips to Iowa and Missouri... just for doughnuts, I mean fun.
Each other house's felt more and more like our own,
and we started to be by each other's side at all times.
There was no denying how close we were to each other.
I remember the night we sat at his Mom's kitchen table picking out our classes for college.
He wanted to take more history classes, I wanted to take more child psychology classes... but we vowed to take some generals together.
We were both so nervous about the upcoming changes that we sat in his kitchen eating cinnamon and sugar toast as if to soothe our souls.
By the end of that night our classes were selected and an entire loaf of white bread was gone!
We went off to college that fall.
With a new season of life upon us came a whole new season of change.
Before I knew it the changes and new lifestyles started to pull me and Jay apart and by the end of that year mine and Jay's friendship had faded into mere memories.
Up until last week I would look back at that time of mine and Jay's life and feel very mad and upset.
Upset that we couldn't make anything work... and mad that we lost touch and drifted apart so fast.
But as of last Wednesday, September 14th, my memories and feelings started to shift.
I started to smile as my memories of Jay came rushing back.
All of a sudden I started remembering and reliving all of my moments with him.
Remembering his laugh and spontaneity.
Remembering his strong arms as he hugged me.
Remembering his love for food, and cats, and God.
I remember when he heard about a first date that I was going on one night.
I snuck out of church a bit early so I wouldn't be late and as I drove off out of the church parking lot....
I saw a boy running after my car.
That boy, that man, was Jay.
When I stopped the car to see what in the heck he was doing running like an idiot after me...
we had a slightly heated conversation that was fueled with past emotions.
He started telling me of bad choices I had made and I started telling him to butt out of my business and that he had no grounds caring for me anymore or telling me what to do.
And as that short and heated conversation came to a close,
he said something that has always stuck with me...
"Jen, just please listen!"
"If he is a loser, promise me you'll walk away because you deserve better then that!"
And he was right!
Not only was that one a loser but I did deserve better!
It's just a shame that it took me so long to realize that.
Just like it's a shame that it took Jay's passing for me to not only be reminded of my good times with him but for me to cherish that whole part of my life that I spent with Jay.
I haven't had Jay in my life for almost a decade and yet I feel as if a part of me is gone.
A part of me that I shared with Jay, and him with I, that we will never get back.
But, I know that is technically not true.
For I know that Jay is walking the streets of heaven and seated with the most high.
Jay is no longer facing the sufferings this world brings but he is enjoying his new life with our God... and for that I am thankful!
Even though I will never get to see Jay face to face in this life, in this world...
I know that one day we will meet again.
And this time, when we meet, I hope he has a big hug and a pint of Chubby Hubby ice cream waiting for me.
I miss you.