”As the world moved forward, I stood in great darkness. Frozen, broken, our lives shattered into pieces, I knew it was real. You were gone. Your death changed me, it took a piece of me with you.” My name is Kaley Berry, today I share with you a story of life and an artifact I hold near and dear to my heart.
The road of grief I have been on this past year has been long and treacherous. Some days are better than others, but I can always feel the waves of dispair looming overhead. A few weeks ago, Jeremiah’s mother and I finally mustered up the courage to sit face to face and weep, together. We shared memories, silly inside jokes, and our love. We embraced a sense of peace. We had become family. In the last few moments of our meeting, his mom reached into her purse, and pulled out a tiny Ziploc bag.
“I wasn’t sure about giving this to you, but after our talk, I think you should have this.”
In the palm of my hand was a necklace sealed with Jeb’s ashes inside. Emotion flooded my heart again, and I thanked her.
There are some people you meet in your lifetime that you instantly connect with, as was the case with Jeremiah and I. Over the span of a few months, “Jeb” and I became the closest of friends. He came to me when I was lost, alone and afraid. In a sense, he saved my soul. Jeb was different and special. He had a diagnosis list two pages long, and from my perspective, most days you couldn’t even tell. Jeb was the friend who would come over every single day. On good days we talked and laughed and on bad days we sat in understanding silence, playing video games. For me, just being around Jeb was all I needed, no matter what mood either of us were in.
November 24th, 2015, the night air was crisp and cool. Jeb and I sat on my couch playing Call of Duty, sharing a piece of chocolate cake and a fresh blueberry muffin. We giggled over an inside joke and I snapped a picture, ‘Another good night with my best friend’. Those precious moments were the last of its kind, for in the span of ten minutes following, he was gone. Forever. A malfunctioning 45 caliber handgun and a negligent, unauthorized man would put my best friend in a pool of blood on my dining room floor. Sustaining a point blank gunshot wound to the neck, I held him and begged the universe to save his life. That bullet shattered Jeb’s body, and it shattered my whole entire universe.
With my best friends ashes around my neck, I can feel him around me, I can feel our love for each other and I can feel a sense of peace knowing he is close to my heart forevermore. Everything in this world is temporary but love. Even after you die, that’s all we have left, love. I wear my necklace every single day, for as long as I remember, you exist.