A few of you may have seen on my Instagram, or know, that a week ago today (July 21st) would have been Jessi’s 21st birthday. It was a weekend full of emotions, both happy and sad, but I am thankful that I happened to be in Colorado to celebrate with all of her close friends and family last week.
Last year for her birthday, I will never forget how I drove down to her home from Fort Collins to surprise her. She had absolutely no idea I was coming and her face when she saw me is a sight that will never fade from my memory. I remember spending that day with our friends and her family surrounding the fire pit and eating a special “healthy” cake one of her friends had made. Then when everyone went home late that night, we continued to have a sleep over since I did not want to drive back so late at night. We woke up super early the next morning and watched the sunrise. I went with her before her shift started at Starbucks to load up on some caffeine and chat before I hit the road back to school. Those memories I will always cherish.
As for this year, the girls and I went to buy some flowers to decorate Jessi’s resting place. Above are the roses and ballon I picked out. Her grave really did look beautiful, but I feel that it is a very special place and a mere picture would not suffice. It is odd in a way, because although she rests there, it is difficult to associate that place with my best friend. I like to keep Jessi’s memory alive and there, no one has any memories of Jessi’s life as we want to remember. We all gathered around though, and shared memories of Jessi, said prayers, and gave thanks for how God gave us each other to lean on in all of this. After talking with each other and to Jessi’s parents for a good while, we made our way to an early dinner at Jessi’s favorite: John Holly’s.
I had never been there before, but I now see why Jessi loved it so much. She was never a sushi fanatic like I am, but everyone else ordered Pad Thai or the Pineapple Chicken dish and those were delicious as well. I am still more of a sushi girl myself and thoroughly enjoyed my Salmon Nigiri, and the Vegetable Roll was one of the best I have had. Spirits were livened again at dinner as we all enjoyed each other’s company and laughter. I really think Jessi was smiling down on us as we celebrated her 21st.
Of course I still miss her dearly, and tears were shed as I thought about our plans to drink wine and make Dark Chocolate Whiskey Cupcakes together on her 21st, but plans change and I know she would have loved the celebration her birthday turned out to be.