There’s nothing quite like a surprised death to knock you off balance. The effects can be life long or it might not have such a devastating effect on you or no effect whatsoever. Every situation is different and everybody processes death in a different manner and there is no right or wrong way. One thing is for sure that we will all die and most likely we will have someone close to us pass away.
It’s usually never a welcome experience. When you hear about somebody being terminally ill, it is just very sad to the loved ones. We just want our loved ones to stay with us always throughout our journey. But that is just not possible. The truth is we don’t know how long we have left to live. We hope to live long, healthy productive lives. But we really don’t know when our time will be up.
Which brings me to the reality of my dear friend, Jill Garcia Britt having recently passed away. And it was devastating to myself and others. I hadn’t seen her for close to a year. We met for coffee. And had I known that would be the last time I would see her, I would never have let her go. But of course I didn’t know that. We had made plans to see each other again but it just did not happen.
We spend our time going about our lives. Working, doing our at time boring activities (adulting), trying to keep ourselves as healthy as possible. And so there is not always time to spend it with close friends on a regular basis (especially when you live out of town.)
What makes it especially difficult is the fact that Jill was just the most amazing remarkable person. Jill truly did have a heart of gold. I know people say that all the time, but she really did. She was advanced on so many levels. She had the best handwriting, she was an amazing athlete, dancer and she was really smart. She was a graduate student studying to be a psychologist when she was diagnosed with cancer.
In high school absolutely everyone loved her. She was very popular and she would always make time for you. Even to this day she would text about silly things. She wanted to go to the beach with her friends and family.
When I was 18 in 1985, Jill graduated from Delta College and they had a party for her. Now in 1985, that’s when it was all about Madonna, Prince and Duran Duran in my opinion. That’s who I liked. I remember she said her favorite song was by Whitney Houston, “The Greatest Love of All.” Now when I was 18, I pretty much just wanted to party. But Jill was already thinking about the future generation. Partial lyrics to the “Greatest Love of All” say:
“I believe that children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way. Show them all the beauty they possess inside. Give them a sense of pride to make it easier. Let the children’s laughter, remind us how we used to be.”
She went on to become a teacher for Stockton Unified for 25 years and she raised two beautiful intelligent young women. She also adopted her step grandchildren.
Jill just loved people. That’s all there is to it. And we all loved her too. I remember when I was 12 years old, I moved to Pennsylvania. She gave me the most beautiful card with Snoopy and Peanuts on it. The card said on the front, “Goodbye doesn’t mean you’ll be forgotten.” On the inside it say, “It means you’ll be missed.”
Don’t ask me why I remember that card. But I just do. I’ve been given hundreds of cards since then but I’ve never remembered another card. But I remembered that one.
So I would like to tell Jill from the bottom of my heart. Goodbye doesn’t mean you’ll be forgotten. It means you’ll be missed. I’ll never forget you Jill with your beautiful smile and your encouraging ways. You have been an inspiration to me and so many.
Goodbye my dear friend until our souls meet again. You are already shining so bright and thank you for doing such an amazing job this time around. You have left your mark on humanity and God is proud of you for all of your good deeds.