Friend Friday: Jae

When I was making my plan for the blog in 2011 and started making notes for my Friend Friday feature, I immediately knew one of my best friends Jae would be on that list.

What I didn’t know was how different writing about him today would be in comparison to what I would have written the day I made that list.

I met Jae two years ago at a photography meetup in San Antonio. He wasn’t a photographer, he was a Med student who was tagging along with a friend. We immediately formed a connection and stayed friends after that night.

Jae soon left to do charity work in Haiti and much of our initial interaction was via the internet. We spent hours debating politics, discussing religion and dreams and never argued over who was right. He was the single most noncombative person I’ve ever met.

He knew my favorite candy, knew the perfect thing to say when I needed advice or support or a slap in the face.

Jae was that friend who was easy to like and love and respect. He had that smile that made you smile upon seeing it. He gave his life to charity. He always believed his life was so blessed that he should return the blessings to others.

He was smart and intuitive. He made sure I believed in myself when it seemed no one else did. He loved his friends so deeply and we all loved him like a brother.

He offered me a hand, a shoulder, an ear and his heart and to that I will love him forever.

We shared everything about our lives and I held no secrets from him. Jae, however, held one important secret from me…

He did and for many years suffer from severe depression. I knew him from two years and was completely shocked that I could miss something so important in such an important friends life. I could not understand how I missed it.

But Jae was amazing in that he only thought of others. He never complained about having to sit through my rants and tear filled stories at 2 am. He was the only person who was as nocturnal as I.

If you can have friend soul mates… he is mine.

Three months ago, Jae took his own life. The struggles he dealt with alone got to be too much.

I can’t explain the pain, anger and guilt that comes with this type of experience. I have gone back and forth many times trying to decide if I would share his passing.

After talks with his sister and from my own conviction, I felt it important that I be honest and share my thoughts on everything I have felt.

I have struggled with his passing for months and tried so hard to find a reason for it all. I haven’t found it. But I’ve resolved, I’m not supposed to. I have to focus on the amazing friendship I had with one of the most inspiring people to enter my life.

I have to remember:

His face
His laugh
His ability to teach not criticize
long talks about our families
Star wars marathons
Circus peanuts
reading books at the park
Driving to the coast
him trying with no success to get me to LOVE hot dogs (with relish)
his intense work ethic
His ability to meet strangers and make them his friend
me trying to get him to get a Facebook page
Indie mixtapes
Walmart adventures

And never forget that he taught me:

How important is can be for someone to accept you just as you are.
How important those little moments can be when they are the last.
Life is much more fulfilling when you are helping others.
Friends can save your life.
We are all the same.

I miss him dearly but I will thank God that I had a special time with him.

Although he is no longer a part of my world, he will never leave my heart.


7 Comments to “Friend Friday: Jae”

  1. I’m so sorry for the unexpected death of such a wonderful friend to you and to so many others, as you say. How heartbreaking and such a loss for everyone who was touched by his life. Your words, even beyond his death, are powerful and wonderful reminders for those of us living. Maybe his death will teach others to stop, to appreciate, to savor this moment, to offer help to anyone we have opportunity to do so, and to be open to friendships. No matter what time they keep us awake into the wee hours of the morning.
    I hope the memory of his smile brings a smile to your face. Today and whenever it comes. Even if it’s through clouds at times. I think souls can inspire from wherever they are. Especially beyond the clouds.
    Thanks for sharing such an emotional and sensitive post from your heart. I’m sending you love and care right back. And I can’t not pause and tell you how much I appreciate your friendship to me too. Even though it’s still in an infant stage. I don’t know your favorite candy yet. xoxo

  2. What a special post for a special friend – obviously!
    Makes me wish I had known Jay.
    I pray that his legacy lives on through wonderful people who loved him and that his work through charity and service has touched and will continue to touch many lives.

    You rant? Wow, me too! A good rant builds character I say.

  3. Oh my Kimberly. My heart hurts for you, but this is a great tribute.

  4. I had this same thing happen when I was in my 20s. Things were very hard during that time because everything changes when someone does that. I found peace finally and I hope you do as well. This is a great start. Loves.

  5. I think it takes courage to talk about things that make people uncomfortable. I am sorry for you loss and pray that you do keep his memory alive because that’s what matters.


  6. I didn’t know Kim I am sorry.
    He sounds great and I would bet if he could write something about you, it would be the same.
    Any one who is you friend knows you are one in a million.


  7. yours is the second post i have read today about a loved one taking their life and the struggle you both still share from their no longer being here. i am so deeply moved and appreciative of my own life and those around me. i wish you peace and blessings, my friend and i am so thankful he graced your life for as long as he did.

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