Friday, December 14, 2012

Remembering Jill

Jill died today, 3 years ago.  This is our brief story.

When I first moved to Fort Lauderdale in the summer of 1998, I got a job at Smoothie King.  I quickly moved into an assistant management position because I was in my early twenties and all the employees were still in high school.  I met Jill that year, she was a shy blond, only 16 years old with a very complicated family history.  We became friends, as much as a manager can with someone 7 years younger and she really clung to me.  What I mean by this is she stayed in touch with me where ever I moved and would tell me long stories about how chaotic her life was getting.  I watched her move into an ugly cycle with men who would take care of her but were never good for her.  I'd try to coach her out of it but she wouldn't listen.  Once I started having kids I moved out of her orbit and we talked less and less.  Our last phone call was her telling me she'd gone back to an old boyfriends house, found an expensive drug and flushed it down the toilet.  I was shocked.

One - I don't know anyone who uses heavy drugs.
Two - I was worried about her.
Three - I was a little afraid of the creepy people she hung out with and it made me want to avoid her.

At the time, I was pregnant with my 2nd and it was not an easy pregnancy so we lost touch after that conversation.  It wasn't until a year later I tried to track her down and found out she had died on December 14th.  I have come to the conclusion that Jill was killed by forced overdose by either the ex or his drug pushers once they found out she flushed their drug down the toilet.  

I really wish I could say I had been a better friend, had guided her better, had gone out of my way to take her to church but I was a shallow friend.

There are really no words to describe the grief I feel for her loss because it's also grief at not saving her from impending doom.  The warning signs were all there, the reckless drinking, her drunk crash into a tree a few years before dying, the drug using old boyfriends.  All combined, it really made me shy away from her.  

I believe God really wants us to look past the dirty, uncomfortable things in life and reach forward to help those placed in our pathway.  I do this now, look for those who need help and don't know how to ask.  I do it through Compassion and random charities that I find throughout the year.  I haven't yet found another Jill to care for, but when I do, I won't avoid her.  

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