A Collection of Essays


Dear Reader,

On the eve of my twelfth birthday my friend Lindsay died.

I received the phone call on Sept 15, 1996 as I placed purple and yellow streamers on the ceiling of my living room. I was preparing for my family party.

Death is strange.

I was eleven years old and I can still tell you all the details of that room – the smells, the noises, the colors. Everything.

It is like time stops.

All stands still.

And you are so unsure.

Death does that. Life feels sure AND then in a moment, it is all gone.

I remember that day sitting alone on my parent’s bed while the rest of the party gathered downstairs.

I cannot tell you whether anyone came to check on me. I do not know what people asked or if any words of comfort were provided.

All I remember is purple and yellow streamers and my parent’s dark room.

That room felt safe to me.

Like somehow if I just stayed there, I would wake up from what felt like an awful dream.

But I could not stay in that room forever. I would eventually have to come out. Face the world. Feel the pain.

I have felt this pain a handful of times in my life.

When Lindsay died.

When my relationship with my fiancé ended.

When my grandfather died.

And perhaps a little today.

I hate pain. I hate the feeling of it.

It feels distracting and all consuming.

And most of the time I just want to run from it. Hide it. Mask it. Don’t feel.

BUT that never served me well because pain does not go away just because you ignore it. Pain is a strange emotion that cements itself within our hearts until we are ready to feel and deal.

And if we allow ourselves to feel, we grow.

I am not sure exactly how this happens, but it always does. The hardest emotions are often our greatest teachers.

They help us to see the world differently.

They give us compassion.

Pain makes us human.

And I think that is what the world needs. For us to just be human. To be real. To find commonality in our pain.

And we can never be any of that unless we feel our pain.

Today I am making the choice to feel. To sit in my pain. I also recognize that I cannot do that alone. I need my people.

I need my people just to be there. I do not need them to fix anything but just be.

My husband had planned to go to the gym early this morning and I told him to wait. I needed a good cry. I did not need any words from me but just stillness. He gave that to me and then he prayed.

I do not know what this pain will teach me, but I am willing to feel and trust. To wait for my pain to be a teacher. To find whatever goodness may lay on other side and to know the more I feel the more I learn.

I am certain that once I feel, know and learn, I will share with you.  

I know that when my friend died at age eleven, I learned that life was short. Precious. Sometimes it feels like we have infinite time but we do not so make the most of it.

Lindsay’s death taught me that and it is a gift I keep coming back to time and time again.

SO today remember to feel everything. Even the ugly. The unpleasant.

Trust that it will not consume you but grow you. AND whenever your emotions feel all-consuming tap into your people. Pray. Breathe.

You will be ok. There is a light at the end of the tunnel if we are willing to put one foot in front of the other.

Until next time,

Kara Jess

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