Friday, October 15, 2010

I want to write about our trip, and I will. The visual element is kind of key, so this weekend I'll mine the thousands of pictures of me looking bewildered in front of ancient ruins for a few good summarizing shots.

But first, and more importantly, since this is a record of life events, good and bad, I wanted to take a moment to remember someone… and say goodbye.

Last Saturday night, here in Omaha, Jessica Bedient and her husband of only a month, Tony, were driving home when they were hit by an 18-year-old drunk driver. Jessica’s injuries were severe, and she passed away on Tuesday. Despite having his own injuries – and what I can only imagine to be an irrevocably broken heart – Tony is going to be okay.

And it is all so incomprehensibly sad. The kind of sad that you will never be able to wrap your head around…

I had the pleasure of working with Jessica three years ago, before I moved to Chicago, and she moved on to her current job with the University of Nebraska system. And I say it was a pleasure not because it’s just one of those things you rattle off when remembering someone, but because it was, without a doubt, a gift. Jessica was quite obviously winning at life, and all you wanted to do was stand by and cheer her on. She was so sincere, kind, gracious. Her patience was infinite, her humility inspiring, and her work ethic enviable. We spent quite a few Saturdays working side by side in an otherwise empty office, and while I was there because I am a procrastinator, Jessica was there because something was always driving her to be better – not just for herself but for everyone around her.

In our last conversation at a former-co-worker happy hour in July, Jessica – who I distinctly remember swearing off marriage until she was at least 30 – talked about her wedding with the enthusiasm and confidence of a person who, unexpectedly but gratefully, had found her soulmate. She didn’t give a crap about the details. She just wanted to get married.

And she did. And from the pictures that now adorn the blog Jessica and Tony’s families have started, she looked beautiful.

I say all of this from afar, as a friend/acquaintance. I can’t begin to imagine the pain her family is feeling. One life has come to a screaming halt far too early, and many, many lives have been turned upside down. You will be missed, Jessica, and never, ever forgotten.

Omaha World-Herald article

Life is precious. Be good to the people you love (and everyone else for that matter). And please, please, please, don't drink and drive. It's never worth it.

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