I will post about the Ugly Sweater Party tomorrow, but I feel like I have to explain what kind of dampened my mood and help me put all of the things I worry about every day into perspective.
I have a friend named Jessica whom I have known since I was nine years old. She was the first friend I made when I moved to Cloquet in third grade. In fourth grade we became best friends and I wanted to do everything with her. I convinced my parents I absolutely HAD to join baton because all of the cool kids were doing it, when really I wanted to do it so Jessica would think I was cooler. She was always better than I was but I didn't care- I loved having something in common with her. From there we spent every day at school together, every weekend and every day in the summer we were together. I would ride my bike across town to hang out with her. She lived across the street from the convenience store my mom worked at so every day we would go there and buy a mixture of these things: one liters of Pepsi, Cool Ranch Doritos, and ice cream loaded with every single topping they had to pretty much make us sick. All while we twirled baton in her driveway to our homemade mix tapes from the radio hoping that her crush (who's grandparents were her neighbors) would notice how badass we were.
Basically? She was the bestest friend I have ever had.
And then I moved to a town 30 minutes away and we lost touch. I was pretty much devastated because by then I was in 8th grade and we know how shitty it is to make friends are such a crap age. Eventually, I made new friends but I always wondered how she was and what she was doing. Fast forward to right after graduation- I ran into her at the grocery store and we said we have to get together. We never did, but another year or two later? I see her at the mall, and again- we say we are going to meet up, but never do.
So in early 2010 I see her on Facebook and we friend each other, all is good. Then I see there was a spaghetti benefit for her and I'm like, what the hell? It turns out, my dear friend Jess has a rare and incurable heart condition that has lead to years of moderate to severe heart failure. The benefit was to raise funds for her transportation, lodging, and unpaid leave from work for a surgery to repair one of the valves of her heart which would possibly solve the problem and not require a heart transplant. The benefit went well and I obviously went because I was STUNNED to learn that someone my age would be so ill and on a heart transplant list.
The bonus to her benefit was that we really did connect after her surgery. She was able to come to my birthday the following year and we have hung out quite a bit and it just reminds me how much I love her even still. No matter how much time goes by, it feels like we were never apart and she just amazes me. She is hands down the most optimistic person I know. Admittedly, she doesn't feel well most of the time, there are lots of things in life she can't do simply because her heart is a piece of junk and she makes me feel like every bad thing I've got on my plate? Is peanuts compared to her load.
She recently was at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester for a week long evaluation to see how she's basically doing. Unfortunately, it didn't go well. A really long story short, my friend is now living at the Mayo Clinic indefinitely, or at least until she can get a new heart and a new liver for sure, and possibly a kidney. I knew when I saw a few missed calls from her this past week something was up and I was right. I finally connected with her before the party and I'm not going to lie- I cried when I hung up. I know she needs people around her to be optimistic and strong for her, but god. I can't imagine my life without her. At all.
I can't imagine living all alone in an ICU hoping for a drunk driver to take out someone with a good heart and kidney so you can live. I can't imagine having to put your entire life on hold and you don't know when or if you'll be going back to it. The kicker is that she'll turn 30 in February and that makes my heart hurt even more.
I want her to get her new organs and come back home. She's my movie buddy. She's my friend who makes me remember how great my childhood was. All of my favorite memories as a kid all have her in them. She makes me feel so grateful and lucky for everything I have. I have a great time just being with her and her positivity is contagious. She is such a great person and I wish you could all know her because it would make you appreciate your life so much more.
So if you have a spot on your prayer list or feel compelled in any way- please pray or think positive things for her. I want to keep my friend because she means the world to me. I will keep you updated, but I need some ideas- what would you think would be awesome to put in a care package? Remember, she is basically stuck in this bed indefinitely all hooked up to stuff, she can't eat most stuff because she's on a hella strict diet, but I want to send stuff periodically to cheer her up. Any ideas would be greatly welcome!