“We talk about them, because we’re proud. We talk about them, because they deserve to be remembered. We talk about them, because even though they are not physically with us, they are never far from our mind. We talk about them, because they are part of us, a part that we could never ignore or disown. We talk about them, because we love them still and always will. Forever. Nothing will change that.”- Scribbles & Crumbs
Eleven years ago today was the worst day of my life. July 25, 2005 my entire world changed. I endured something that no one, especially not a 14 year old, should ever have to go through. This was the terrible day my best friend passed away.
Jacob and I had known each other our entire lives. In Petrolia, TX (my small hometown) everyone knows everyone. You start Kindergarten with the same people that you graduate High School with, and you end up forming bonds that last a lifetime.
Jacob was always a stand out. If he wasn’t leading his various sports teams or playing music in the band, you could be sure to find him hanging out with his friends. He was such a shining star, always bringing happiness to everyone around him.
I have so many memories with him that I hold dear. I remember sharing headphones on bus rides to athletic games and him being my first “official” boyfriend in 3rd grade. I remember him asking me to homecoming and being terrified of my dad when he came by to give me my homecoming mum.
Honestly, you couldn’t help but love Jacob. He was good at every single thing he attempted from athletics to music and everything in between. Sure he could be a hellion from time to time, but he’d flash that sweet smile and your anger would melt away.
I regret not knowing how special our friendship was back then. I definitely took my time with him for granted. You never expect to lose a friend so suddenly at such a young age, but I wish I’d hugged him a little tighter and told him “I love you” a little more often.
My absolute favorite memory of Jacob was the last day we spent together. He’d come to my house with his guitar, and he was teaching me how to play. After a while we took a break, and he started to play and sing Broken Road by Rascall Flatts.
I looked over in amazement because Jacob NEVER sang in front of people. I hopped on my piano and started to play along with him. My mom was secretly watching out of the kitchen, surprised to hear him singing aloud.
We played music for a bit and then had one of our random talks about life before he left my house. Little did I know that was the last time I’d ever see my dear friend. The next day I got a phone call from him, and I honestly can’t remember what we talked about. Just knowing we spoke brings me comfort.
To this day I can’t hear Broken Road without thinking of him and bursting into tears. That single moment in time is one of my most cherished memories.
This day 11 years ago, I was sitting at home with my boyfriend (at the time). I remember the phone ringing and my mom seeming panicked. I couldn’t figure out what was going on, but I had a bad feeling in my gut.
She got off the phone and told me that a kid had been injured in Charlie, TX (a small town next to mine). She wasn’t sure about the details, but she said we’d know more in a moment. The phone rang again, and my stomach dropped when she told me it was Jacob.
I fell to the floor completely unable to move as tears started flowing from my eyes . I honestly couldn’t comprehend what had just happened. I eventually managed to crawl to the bathroom because I felt so sick to my stomach.
My mom and boyfriend were trying to console me. They frantically tried to figure out what they could do to help, but nothing could make me feel better. One of my best friends was gone.
The next few days were a total blur. I remember getting phone calls from friends asking if it was true. I could hardly utter the word “yes” to them. I was completely numb and pissed at God. How could He let this happen?
Jacob was such a wonderful person with a beautiful soul, and I couldn’t understand why God chose to take him from us. People told me time would help me heal, but honestly it still hurts just as much 11 years later.
Nothing can prepare you for a moment like this, and no one can say anything to make you feel better. The pain and devastation are so powerful that you really don’t know if you’ll survive.
Unfortunately, this moment in my life caused me to have issues with getting close to others…issues that I still struggle with.
As time has passed, I realize just how blessed I am to have had a friend like Jacob. He taught me so many things that I never really understood until my adult years. His passing was so tragic, but it taught me to cherish the people in my life.
As teenagers we felt invincible. We thought nothing could happen to us and that we were guaranteed this long life. I learned really quick just how wrong we were. No one is guaranteed tomorrow, the next hour, the next minute.
I found peace with Jacob’s passing as I began to realize how many people he touched. Every year on July 25th I’m able to read everyone’s memories of him. It fills my heart with joy to know he was so loved, and that he is still remembered after all this time.
My point in writing this is to write a tribute to my dear friend, and to remind everyone that nothing in life is promised. Take the time to hug your friends, say “I love you,” and thank God for everything you have.
I know I’m not the only one that has experienced loss, but I can say that no experience is the same. Everyone handles grief differently, and it’s taken me 11 years to somewhat accept what happened that day.
Every day I’m reminded of him in some way. Sometimes it’s a song that he used to listen to, somedays it’s a memory that pops in my mind, and somedays it’s simply looking through old pictures.
Jacob was one of my best friends. He meant more to me than I even realized, and I can’t wait for the day that I get to see him again. I have no doubt that he continues to watch over me and visit me in my dreams.
I know he is happy in Heaven, smiling down on all of us who miss him. While I continue to struggle with the fact that he’s not physically here, I find peace knowing he’s never left my side.
If you have important people in your life don’t take one moment for granted. Don’t be afraid to tell them how you feel because you might not get the chance. Nothing is worse than regret.
I’m so excited for my welcome home party Jacob will have for me one day in Heaven. I know he’ll be shining that irresistible smile and embrace me with open arms. Until that day, I’ll continue to live my life to the fullest for him.
Jacob, I love you my dear friend…always and forever. You’re forever in my heart, always on my mind. And as we all said when we lost him, “Live, Laugh, Love because tomorrow my never come…”
Myka Shantell 💋