Back To Jessica Lynn Ard
How does one describe the loss of their best friend? It’s hard to move on after your childhood companion has passed away. Sometimes you don’t even understand what’s happened. You want to give up and lock your self in your room; however you know that that friend wouldn’t want you to be distraught. They would want you to keep moving forward.
Jessica Lynn Ard, my best friend, was born on July 1st of 1994. Sometime in
1998, at the age of four, Jessica became ill. She had been diagnosed with leukaemia in her bone marrow. After two years doctors believed her cancer to be defeated.
In 2001 Jessica moved in next door to me. That summer we became best friends. I was nine and she was seven. One Friday night Jessica came over to play. The wind rose up and her hat flew away. That moment time stopped.
Everything stood still. Jessica chased her hat trying to catch it. I, however, stood still, my eyes locked to her head. There where bald spot where I once saw curly locks of brown hair. Jessica froze staring at me. Tears filled her eyes. Clutching the hat in her hands her knuckles turned white. She turned and ran. As a teenager I wish I had chased after her, but as a child I was confused. I didn’t understand what I had seen. I turned and walked back into my house.
The next morning Jessica did not come over. I stood in the bathroom brushing my short blonde hair. My aunt Cassie came in to the bathroom. She took the brush from me and lifted me onto the counter. “Allie, do you know what happen last night?” I nodded. “Jessica’s hat flew away.” I said looking at my feet.
“Why doesn’t Jessica have any more hair?” I asked. Gloomily Cassie stared into my eyes and said, “Jessica has cancer.” My eyes widened, I wasn’t sure how to feel or what to think. “Cancer is terrible disease that can kill people.” My eyes brimmed with tears. If Cassie was trying to make me feel better she sure wasn’t doing a good job. “You won’t catch cancer. You can’t. You have to sort of develop it” I nodded as Cassie explained everything. I stared past her not really listening to anything she said. So many thoughts passed through my mind. “My best friend is going to die.” I told me self. I made a choice. I was going to be the best, best friend I could be. Jessica was going to know that I loved her and we were going to play and be happy together for as long as she lived. I hopped down from the counter and rushed over to Jessica’s house. I wasn’t going to let her down.
I stood on her door step waiting for someone to answer. After a few moments
Jessica’s mum answered the door. She smiled and told me Jessica was in the back yard with her brothers and her sister. I ran through the dinning room and out the back door. Jessica was on a swing and her older brother Jamey was pushing her. “Jessica!” I called to her. She stood up from the swing, her eyes concentrating hard on the grass under her bare feet. I rushed up and hugged her tight taking her by surprise. “We are going to be best friends forever.” I said holding her. I leaned close and whispered in her ear. “I promise.”
After that I spent every day with her. We played board games, watched TV, sung songs, and so much more. The only time I left her side was when I was at school. Jessica hadn’t been able to go to school because she would grow sicker from other kids. So everyday I would rush straight to her house and show her all the work we did that day in Mrs. Bell’s fourth grade class. Jessica was so smart and knew exactly how to help me when I got stuck on a homework assignment.
Jessica was brilliant. She was just as wild and crazy as the rest of us. You could barely tell she was sick. She was so strong and brave. She fought harder than anyone. She always kept going and never let anything get in her way.
Even though Jessica was a fighter, her cancer got worst. I remember perfectly the day she stopped walking. When I had come over to play I heard crying from the other side of Jessica’s big green van. I walked around the front of it and saw Jessica’s dad attempting to lift her out of the van and into a wheel chair. When she saw me she pushed her father away and feel back into the van. “Go away! Go!” she had shouted at me. I began to cry, as did she. I didn’t understand why she wouldn’t let me see her. She began to shake, trying so hard to force her body to work. She wanted to get out of the van on her own. For a seven year old girl she had so much will power.
Later that day I went back to Jessica’s house. Vicky, her mother, told me that
Jessica hadn’t wanted me to see her in pain. She was always so strong and to see her weak hurt so much. I can’t imagine the pain she must have been going through every day. Even through all that pain she still stood strong. She refused to let this pestilence beat her. She fought harder with each passing day.
So far Jessica had won all the battles, but the war wasn’t over yet. Jessica continued to get sicker. One day I went to see Jessica as I always did, but little did I know that this would be the last day I would ever spend with her.
Jessica was lying on her bed, I’ll never forget the pain in her face, she had been so pale and looked so sad. She had been leaning over her bed side holding on tightly to her wheel chair. Her breathing was heavy and raspy. Her body was thin and ghostly white. She opened her mouth to say something but nothing came out. She continued to try and say something to me. Leaning against the wall I slid down crying to my self. I shook my head frantically. Attempting to smile
I said to her, “Jessica, I love you. I’m going to make everything better. You’re going to be ok and you’re not ever going to hurt again. I love you forever. Remember we are best friends for ever no matter what.” I stood up and walking quietly the tears rushing down my cheeks. I grabbed her hand, kissed it, and walked out.
Slowly I walked down the side walk back to my front door. I looked up into the sky and cried harder then before. “Please God, Please! Make her stop hurting.
Make the cancer go away!” I cried to the clouds in the sky, to the birds in the trees, and to the God in the heavens. At that moment all I wanted was for her to stop hurting.
That night I feel asleep listening to Jessica’s favourite band N*Sync. When I woke up the next morning I walked into the kitchen where my mother was doing laundry. I hoisted myself onto the dryer and smiled to my mother. She smiled back. “I’m going to go over to Jessica’s house to play today momma.” The smile left my mothers face faster then a NASCAR drive left the starting line. “Jessica is really very sick Allie. She can’t do things other kids can do.” I smiled and nodded. “But Jessica is very strong and we won’t go outside anyway. We will stay in and play Power Puff Girls Monopoly.” My mother shook her head slowly. “Jessica can barley move her hands. How will she move her piece?” I glared at my mother. Swallowing my angry I said, “Well then I’ll move the piece for her, and she will be bubbles, she loves her the most.” I faked a smile and hopped down from the dryer. As I entered the dinning room I saw Cassie coming from down the hallway. At that second, somehow, I knew. Something was terribly wrong. My heart started beating faster and faster with each step Cassie took towards me. “What happened?” I asked my mother my eyes still staring at Cassie. “I’m so sorry Allie.” My mother whimpered. “WHAT HAPPENED?” I shouted. My knees began to quiver and my palms grew sweaty. My heart started pounding, and my head began to ache. Cassie’s pace quickened. As she reached me she hugged me tight. Pushing her away I asked again, “What happened?” I was getting agitated. Looking up into Cassie’s eyes I saw them shimmer with new tears. “No.” I said shaking my head. “No. No. No!” I pushed passed Cassie and ran down the hall, out of the house, and straight through Jessica’s front door. As I ran down the hall I felt the salt of my tears wetting my lips. With my heart pounding fast, I shoved open Jessica’s bed room door. I feel to my knees in front of the empty bed. She was gone and there wasn’t anything I could do. I pounded my fists into her bed crying hard.
That night before Jessica had made a decision. She could live in pain and watch the people around her hurt because we couldn’t help her, or she could go to sleep and rest at ease. She made her choice and no one was going to change that. She had told her mother that she hadn’t wanted to be in pain anymore. That night around 10 p.m. Jessica decided not to take her medication or her chemo. She died in her mothers arms. She didn’t give up, she just thought about her self instead of everyone else, and that’s exactly what she needed to do. She will always be remembered as the strongest and bravest person I will ever know. No matter how much pain she was in she never let it get in her way, and she always kept smiling. She is now an angel in Heaven as she was on earth.
When I was ten years old my best friend, Jessica Lynn Ard, lost her battle with cancer. At the time I was angry and confused, I just didn’t understand why someone as gentle as her could be struck by such an awful disease. I hated God and myself for letting it happen. I blamed God for letting the cancer enter her body and destroy her, and I blamed my self for praying for her to die. Now that I am older I have come to terms with my self and with God. I have also come to realize that as an eight year old child, Jessica was stronger and far braver than any adult could ever be. She taught me to never give up even when my body wanted to. When I get my asthma attacks I think about Jessica, and how she wouldn’t let cancer get in her way of doing the things she wanted to do, and that makes me push my self harder to continue moving forward and not let my asthma slow me down. Jessica also taught me how to accept people for who they are and not how they looked, or what they could do. Till this day my biggest hero is someone who was fragile, frail, and physically weak, but in her heart she was stronger than any one in the entire world. She was the best role model anyone could ever ask for. I was just lucky enough to get to call her my best friend. She taught me how to love someone unconditionally.
As a child you judge people, It’s a part of life, but after spending so much time with Jessica I learned to understand and care about people no matter what differences they had from me.
I thank you everyday Jessica for everything you’ve ever done for me. You taught me to love, laugh, and to live my life to its fullest. Maybe one day I’ll be able to show some one the same love and care you showed me. I miss you with all my heart, but at the same time I know that between all the tears and all the pain, It was all worth it in the end. You made so many people happy and you changed so many lives. Even till this very day, five years later, when ever I tell people your story they cry and they often tell me that they wish they could have meet you. I’ll love you forever and “The older I get, maybe I’ll get over it, I’ve been spending way too long on the times we missed I can’t believe it still hurts like this.”