Monday, October 6, 2008

6 Years

Warning: This blog is an extremely emotional and telling narrative of the events that occurred in my life 6 years ago today. My memories are vivid and I don't hold much back. I'm warning you before you make the decision to read further. This blog was therapeutic for me; I hope you understand my reasons for letting it go and putting this out there to share with all of you.

Thank you

My life changed drastically 6 years ago today. I was a a Junior in college and spending some time at my best friend's, Sarah, parent's home for awhile to celebrate her 20th birthday before she had to head back to school at the University of Missouri-Rolla and before I had to head to my sorority meeting.

I remember so vividly the events that transpired that day. Sarah was laying on the couch complaining that her 2oth birthday wouldn't bring much fun and Dave, me, and Kim {our close friend at the time} were trying to tell her otherwise. We were being lazy and enjoying each others company. Emily wasn't there because she was spending the weekend with her new boyfriend in his hometown. Sarah and Emily were roommates in college and my two very best friends; they had planned to spend plenty of time to celebrating Sarah's birthday back in Rolla.

As we talked and visited, Sarah got a cell phone call---it was Bethany, her sorority sister and close college friend. Immediately, we all knew something was very wrong when Sarah kept screaming, "What?!?!--You're lying---This can't be true" over and over again. As she walked into the entryway of her home, she collapsed to her knees. I was instantly frozen in my chair, I couldn't move, it was as if my body had been paralyzed---I just knew something was seriously wrong. Dave, Kim, and Sarah's dad were trying to get answers out of her but she couldn't respond. Sarah's dad, Jeff, took the phone from her and talked to Bethany. As Sarah attempted to compose herself--she began to tell us the most horrible news of my entire life. Emily, Dan {Emily's new boyfriend}, and Paul {Dan's best friend} had all been in an automobile accident and one person had died. At the time, we did not know the person. We were in shock and went into panic mode. I was adamant that the accident could not have happened. We would've heard from Emily's parents or more calls would have been coming in. It just couldn't be true--this sort of thing could not happen to her.

I frantically called my mom. Jeff called Emily's parents to ask them what they had heard, sadly they hadn't. My mom suggested I call the Missouri State Patrol to see if any accidents had been reported in that area. I called, and got a response that none had. I knew deep down, it couldn't be true, what the officer had told me.

I was nervous and shattered, and ball of shaking energy. I had to leave Sarah's, I had to move, I couldn't sit still. David suggested we go back to my house to just be able to leave. As we drove I prayed, over and over, that everything would be fine. Somehow, someway, everything would just have to be fine.

As we got home, my mom was waiting for us. We talked for a few moments and the telephone rang. At this moment, I can't remember who answered it---all I remember is talking to Kim on the other line and her telling me that Emily was the one who was killed and that the information had been confirmed by Emily's family. I dropped the phone and sobbed and it all goes blurry from this moment on. I remember David dropping to the bed and screaming uncontrollably while I just shook violently.

All of our lives had just changed, forever. We would soon learn about the details of the accident and call all of our friends. Two days later, Dan died from intense brain trauma. Paul was the only survivor and today has no memory of the accident or the weeks directly before or immediately after.

Emily was the driver and was instantly killed when she pulled into the oncoming path of a tractor trailer. We still do not know what caused her to do so. Many people have their opinions, all of which are true...there was road construction, she was unfamiliar with the area, it was an extremely dangerous intersection, the sun could've been in her eyes, the truck was moving too fast---it all is meaningless because it doesn't bring my very best friend from 4th grade back.

As the weeks moved on, we had memorials and her funeral, and I continued on in school. My family and friends were my rocks, as my life was a complete mess. We all leaned on one another and some way managed to cope. Sarah had an unbelievable hard time, as she was Emily's roommate at college. I can't imagine what life was like for her--we would talk constantly though, and she had the unending support of her sorority sisters, who were Emily's sisters, too.

As my life has changed and I have grown, I miss Emily as a part of it every single day. It pains me to know she wasn't at my graduation, wedding, and other big events in my life that I have experienced and those to come. I am, and will always be, devastated and angry that I can't witness her do the same thing. She was so young to die, and her death affects me to this very day.

Emily and I had been friends since the 4th grade. We were inseparable. We spent nights at each others houses, endless hours on the phone, and uncountable moments together. We vacationed to Florida together a numerous times and promised to go away to college together and be each others maid of honor. We always laughed at how envious people were of our friendship because we never fought and always had each others back. No matter what--we were there for each other through thick and thin, and we promised to be that way forever. When we were little people always thought we were sisters and as we grew older people expected us to always be together. Emily was absolutely stunning and had the most amazing laugh you would ever hear. She was carefree, but extremely responsible. She was your biggest tomboy, but also your biggest girly girl. She could cuss like a sailor but pull herself together when need be. She was my other half.

Emily and DanLast picture I have of Emily and Me
I hate that she is gone. I live with this everyday of my life and now am envious of the relationships other girls get to share with their friends like Emily and I once had. I don't hold a grudge against God or fall to pieces like I did before, but I still have my moments. I've made new friends that Emily would love, and Sarah's and my friendship could not be any stronger if we tried, but I still miss Emily and yearn for her presence, physically, in my life.

I don't know how I've made it this far, or how I will manage to keep making it. I love Emily so much and want her memory to live on. I wish those close to me now, could've had the chance to meet her. And those of you I don't know personally, make sure you tell those you love how you really feel and cherish every single moment, you never know when that moment will be the last. I know it sounds cliché, but it is so very true.

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for letting me share this with all of you.


Anonymous said...

I am so sorry for your loss. My lil sis in my sorority was taken away by a drunk driver five years ago. I will not say I know what you are going thru b/c every persons relationship is unique and your friendship sounds story book perfect! You are blessed to have an angel with you!

Mrs. Case said...

What a terrible loss. I lost my best friend Jeff to a murder one year ago last month. It still feels completely surreal. I keep waiting for him to show back up. To honor him I volunteer at a local hospital. He's still in my heart, as Emily is in yours.

Freckles Chick said...

Oh, hon. I want to reach thru and give you the biggest hug I could possibly give. I can't even begin to understand how your life has changed since that terrible day. I'm just thankful that you and Emily were in each other's lives for those years, even though your time together was far too brief. Thank you for sharing this, as painful as it is for you.

leah @maritalbless said...

I can't even imagine the loss of such a close friend, but I know the feeling of being completed through another person. You can just tell that you balanced each other and were able to just be exactly what the other needed at the time. I'm so sorry.

melissa said...

Girl, I wish I had had the chance to meet her. As much as you talk about her I think you're helping her memory to live on, because I sort of feel like I know a piece of her. I know this was a rough thing for you and many other people. And I'm going to take your advice...
Joi- you are one of my closest friends and I love you with all of my heart! You mean the world to me and I enjoy every second we get to spend together.
I think that Emily (for you) and others are there when we have those special moments and even those not so special ones. I'm sure she watches you and she's very proud of who you have become as an adult. I know it hurts though to not physically be able to hug and kiss and talk to them. I'm thinking about you today...

Suzie said...

Joi, I , too, am so sorry for the loss of such a good friend. I can't even begin to understand this but thank you for sharing this message with all of us!

Joi said...

Thanks for all of your sweet words, guys.

Lora said...

Joi, thanks again for sharing your feelings and the story of what happened. I often think about you and Emily and your friendship. She was such a beautiful person that I wish I had gotten to know better, but I still say I'm so happy to have listened to her infectious laugh in algebra! You and all those so close to Emily are in my thoughts.



Tomcon00 said...

Joi, being your mom, my heart aches for you always. I watched two little girls as they became friends in the beginning, grew up together and turn in to 2 beautiful young ladies, staying friends all the while. I listened as 2 girls planned their futures while swimming in the ocean in Florida. I got to watch the beautiful women you were both becoming and how you both counted on and needed each other.

I saw how you, Sara and Emily, were like the 3 muskeeters, "one for all and all for one". Each of you fulfilled what the other one needed. You all complimented each other in the best of ways. I grew to love these girls as additional daughters. I watched as you started dating David, and saw his and Emily's friendship grow. I got to see how Emily and Sara grew at College and were starting their adult lives. I seen a beautiful young lady bring much happiness to all of those who loved her dearly, including myself.

I have a heavy heart and think of Emily more often than you will ever know. I miss her and all of the things I wanted you and Emily to share. I think of Roni and Dave and pray for God to support them always, I cannot begin to understand their loss. But most of all, I miss her being in your life. I also loved her and wanted to watch as you both started your lives, careers, families, etc. and share many many happy memories along the way, only Emily was taken from us too soon.

I feel God blessed you when he gave you a best friend in Emily. It makes me happy that you keep her memory alive in your heart, both you and David, and Sara. I love you Joi. Mom

Michael said...

What a beautiful tribute to Emily...thank you for sharing.

My cousin died in a car accident 13 years ago on September 30th. It was kind of a similar situation...dangerous road, unfamiliar territory, and he didn't have his seatbelt on. Time makes it easier, the memories live on, but the little something missing in the bottom of your heart will always be there.

Joi said...

"Time makes it easier, the memories live on, but the little something missing in the bottom of your heart will always be there."

So true, Michael. I couldn't have said it better at all. This is *exactly* the way I feel.

Mom-Thanks for your thoughts. ♥ you.

Dusty @AllThingsG+D said...

I've been through a similar experience. Twice actually. I know there's nothing that can be said to take it away. I just hope it was therapeutic for you to share your story. And I hope you know that I'm honored to hear it. I'm so so sorry for your loss Joi. It is heartbreaking.

Anonymous said...

Joi, as a state trooper here in your home state, I've seen some truly sad circumstances. Never mind the losses from intentional criminal acts. When a young person is killed in a car wreck, it sticks with me. As my child grows up and approaches driving age, I hope he has taken to heart all of the short "safety" talks I've had with him.

Joi, I do not know how your friends died. I do know that young people today face many more distractions than I faced when I started driving nearly 25 years ago. Pay attention if you're messing with the radio. If you have to text, pull over. If you have to have a "non emergency" phone conversation, pull over. Wear your seat belt. Don't drink, period. Even if you're not driving drunk, it could affect your decision-making process as whether you will get into a car with someone who has been drinking.

Whenever I look at a group of kids at school, I want to let them look through my eyes for just a short period of time. If they could, they would always drive safe. God bless our children. I hope those of you who have faced losses will live your life in celebration of those you lost. I will never forget the last moment of some lives I've been a part of.

Lynn said...

I have cold chills and tears in my eye's you did a very good job of saying all you said Joi. I feel for ya I have a Friend we have been friends was for 38 yrs September 7 we named our date because we knew it was around that time but not the exact day. So that's our FRIENDSHIP ANNIVERSARY. And I have JANE who is a very dear friend and is always there for me. So GOOD friends I know about. So sorry you had to loose one of yours at such a young age.

Anonymous said...

This was very hard to read...I saw the link to your blog on Facebook so I took a look and there is a lot of good things on here so I kept looking further back and came across this.

Emily and I grew apart as friends as we got older but she was the best friend I ever had as a child. I will never forget her and I too still think about her on almost a daily basis. I can't imagine what it was like for you and Sarah and everyone else that loves her so much. I remember sitting in my dorm room my sophomore year of college watching TV and my dad called me that night to tell me the news. It was terrible. I cherish all the memories I have of us together though. I have lots of pictures of us as kids climbing trees and playing dress up and having BBQs in the back yard.

I recently applied for a leadership class offered through my work and one of the questions was asking who had been the biggest mentor in my life. My answer to the question was Emily. Ultimately, it came down to her being the kind of person that I wanted to model my life after and how, tragically, she wasn't able to live to reach her full potential and it makes me that more determined to do so. For her, for me and everyone I know.


###### said...

My heart goes out to you. I know the pain of losing someone you love oh to well...My prayers are with you. I think this blog is great for "getting out"...because sometimes you have to talk about it, and no always do people around you want to hear it right when you are feeling it because of their I say express away! Im here to read!


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