Sunday, March 14, 2010

Jessica Laren Harris- My Beautiful Best Friend

It's not about how a person dies, it's about how they lived.

So since you're all aware that my best friend Jessica passed away this past weekend. I'm just going to vent and talk about her life a little bit. I'm just going to say, you don't know how disrespectful it is to ask a person how someone died when you personally did not know them. You just are curious and you want to know. I understand. But it's a bit petty that you'll add her as a friend on Facebook just to find out how she died. You're just curious. Also- I like to thank for the people on the heads up when they e-mail me and let me know. "Did u lyke no ur bf died?" Like I obviously wouldn't know right? She's not my best friend or anything.
I'm not here to tell the story of how she passed away. I like to believe I'll make it your business if I want you to know. I don't really think it matters how they leave this Earth. It's the way they affected people on this Earth before they left.

Well, you all know that Jessica and I weren't on very good terms. She and I had been in arguments and such and kind of stopped talking to each other. We both felt like we were in the right of the situation. Long before she had passed I had forgiven for what she had said, I have just never got the chance to physically say, I'm sorry. And I regret that more than anything. But I talked with her boyfriend and he told me that she would check up on my blog and facebook. And how she still loved and cared about me and wished we weren't fighting. You don't know how much that kills me that I couldn't have just stopped being so prideful and said I was sorry.

Even though that had happened. She's still one of my best friends. And I'm grateful to have known her. I've known her since a little bit before I turned 16 I believe. She and I had been through a lot of the same life experiences. We got sent out to a wilderness program on the same day (I went to Anasazi and she went to Aspiro). We both ended up going to West Ridge Academy.

It was kind of funny the first day that we saw each other again. I was wearing another girl's sweatshirt and the name was, "Teresa." She gave me a funny look and told me she was afraid to call me Stefanie because she thought I was in the witness protection program or something and that's why I had a different name. I was just new and they didn't have my stuff ordered in yet.
She and I were practically attached to the hip the whole way through West Ridge. We lived in the same home, Sage home. We would always try to go off campus together when they would take us off campus. We had a blast together. Towards the end of our program they started a home called Twig. We got to be roommates. During that time, we go to meet David Archuleta, right after he lost American Idol. We were obsessed. We named our room after him. It was just me and Jessica in that home. We would come home and play Rummikub and Family Fued.

One of the questions on it was, "What is your favorite cut of steak?"
I answered, "Medium rare."
She gave me SO much crap since then.

At one point, she would sneak in make up that we weren't allowed to wear at the time. We talked in these Arabian accents for like a month. People tried to copy us and every time we just tell them, "Uhhh. No."
This girl was so talented at the guitar. I was jealous of her awesome skills. I did take guitar lessons when I was like 16 but gave up.

I think in January this year we went to Little Cesar's together and it also reminded me of West Ridge because every time I'd come back from a home visit I'd always bring that.

Another funny random memory, we eat dinner altogether at West Ridge. And I have this LOVE for broccoli like nobody's business. And there were TONS leftover. I was like, "WHAT?! JACKPOT!" I took this whole plate of broccoli back to Twig and I had saran wrapped the plate so my huge plate of broccoli would not fall over. I was holding it with two hands and she pulled this ninja move and knocked the plate out of my hands. It was so funny I used to tell her that the only thing she owed me was broccoli.
She'd always say, "I owe you no such thing."

We did go on a backpacking trip together to Coyote Gulch. She wanted to go again so badly this summer. I'm thinking of making it a group trip just in tribute of her. If any of ya'll would be interested, let me know.

After West Ridge, we would try and hang out and stuff. Of course, I started going back into the drug phase. She went to a party with me one time and she helped me out of a situation and let me stay with her. I had an awful crash from the drugs. But she has been there for me through thick and thin. I would come and pick her up from her house and we'd just go out and chill with friends or go see cinematic adventures. Definitely midnight showings.

We did get in another fight because when I was still in the drug phase my dealer's house got raided and I thought it was her fault. And of course, drugs only mattered to me at the time. Finally, I got out of that and apologized to her and she would go out with me while I was pregnant. And she would go to my groups with me at LDS Family Services. She was seriously an awesome friend. We would text/call each other whenever we needed something or just to vent. We would go out and drive until like two in the morning. She and I went on a hike when it was like 4 weeks before my due date. I was trying to induce labor.

I texted her and told her I was in labor and she came in right after worked and stayed the whole time and she was there when little Olivia was born. Jessica was there at the baby shower. She was there through everything. Especially the drama afterward with Nic.
She and I both signed up for LDS Singles together. We went to the midnight showing of New Moon together and stayed up all night long. We went out and had tinfoil dinners for a date one time. We also went to the BYU vs Utah Game. We both bought Utah apparel for it.

She'd come visit me on my breaks at JCW's and we'd have their delicious cheese fries. We would find funny videos on youtube and share them with each other. We would text each other a radio station when our favorite songs came on. I.E. 92.5
That's all we would send to each other.
She and I are wifeys (via facebook) we had to end that relationship since I'm with Tayler/twins separated at birth, as she has put it.
For Christmas, I got her a New Moon T-shirt with Taylor Lautner on it. And she got me a Transformers hat and hoodie.

I got to meet Tayler and she got to meet someone special for herself. You know, I think a lot of our fight had to do with that no one is ever going to be good enough for our best friends. So that's a lot of why she didn't approve of Tayler is that I had gone through so much she thought I deserved a lot more. And that I thought she had gone through so much she deserved so much more than her boyfriend. I don't think we hated each other's boyfriends. And we both were jealous that they were occupying our time. I remember I would try to call her and she'd say she was hanging out with her boyfriend and I'd be so mad, I'm like, "Come on! It's not like you don't see him everyday." I don't know. We're weird. But I love this girl so much. She had changed my life and I'm so grateful she was there. I'm grateful I was able to be there when she needed someone too. She's definitely had her trials throughout the past 4 years.

The past week since her passing I've just been this fragile, little soul. I've been able to talk to people about it. Tayler was here when I found out. I seriously found out the day after he proposed. I think she wanted me to be happy. That's the whole reason why I didn't find out about her being in the hospital. She wanted me to have my day with Tayler. My dad had asked me if I was going to tell her. But I felt like I didn't need to physically tell her, that she already knew. I'm grateful that she didn't hate me before she left this Earth. She knew I would've wanted to be there, by her side. I asked her mom if I could make a tribute video of Jessica for the funeral. I'm grateful to have that opportunity. I sometimes completely lose it when people tell me that she and I look a lot alike or like sisters. It's difficult to explain- even though she's not related to me in anyway, she and I were so much alike. I can't even believe it. I guess that's what gets to me that she isn't like a best friend to me, she's a sister.
I went to her house and it was the hardest thing but the most peaceful thing for me. I sat at her computer as pictures downloaded onto my hard drive. And I just would imagine her coming around the corner and saying that it was all a joke. I went to her room and just sat there and cried and apologized. It's the craziest thing. I felt that she knew and that she was comforting me. It was a very spiritual experience. I know that I'm usually open about this. But this was a sacred experience that I don't plan on sharing with very many people.
Before, I did feel a lot of regret. That a lot of what had happened was my fault. That if I was being the best friend that I could be, she could've came to me. But I realized that no matter how hard things were, she would've come to me anyway.

I was having such a hard day yesterday. I missed my friend's ultrasound because I had a dentist appointment, forgot my wallet when I went to the cheesecake factory with Andee, had to drive all the way down to Highland to go to the bank because I somehow forgot my pin number, pulling into the parking stall this guy failed to see me as he was backing out and hit me, and to top off the day- Nic came into my work with his new girlfriend.
On my way home from work, I just CRIED. I could not hold it in. I can barely hold it in now. It took me this long to realize how hard it is to lose my best friend. The person that knew me inside and out and vice versa and I couldn't come to her when I needed someone to talk to most. That I couldn't just call her up and say, "Please come into JCW's and make Nic look stupid." Or, "Let's go to a gas station and get a drink." I just talked the whole way home as if she was here and just told her everything that happened that day. I asked her what I should do. I just kept saying, "This isn't fair."

Tayler is one of my best friends but it's definitely different than not having your best girlfriend with you. They know they'll never be annoyed by you. Or that they know the stupid thought process that girls have.
I have been talking to her boyfriend and that's helped a lot. He was there for when I wasn't there. He was probably about the same level of closeness that I was with her. He's awesome and he needs to know that.

I did do some wedding decoration shopping today with my mom. And I ran into Jessica's little sister. It's SO hard as I was hoping that I'd actually run into Jessica. That I wished that Jessica was there to help me out with my wedding. That she'd be apart of it.
It slipped out the other day when I told Tayler I was going to hang out with Alyssa that I said I was going to hang out with Jessica. I seriously miss her.

I do know in my heart that she is in a better place. And that she does want me to be happy. That she approves that I'm going in the right direction with Tayler. Even though I'm sure she still thinks that nobody is going to be good enough for me. She's happy I found someone like him. I know at times I feel her next to me. Tomorrow is her viewing and I don't know how I'm going to be able to handle it. Her funeral is on Sunday. It's just another reminder that she's physically not here. But I know that it'll only be a short time before our friendship will be reunited. I told her in the car last night, that I still believe that she's here and that I need her still as my best friend to help me and guide me through my life.
She was truly amazing, beautiful girl. Beautiful inside and out. She has such a strong testimony. She worked at a retirement home. She loved the people that she worked with and the residents that she looked after. She would constantly talk about them or send me sweet little videos of them. She did have a resident call me one time. It was so sweet. Jessica has always had this knack of leaving things behind such as her Ipod or her debit card. Her boyfriend and I were thinking, maybe that's her strategy to get us to hang out with her again. Nope that's just her. Even though she has left this Earth, she has left behind so much love and so many memories that I will never take for granted.

Tootie Fruitie,

I love you with all of my heart. Please help me get through these next few days. I'm completely lost without you here. I miss you best friend and can't wait to see you again someday.

Always yours,


  1. What a sweet tribute. Thanks for posting this. I haven't felt well today and didn't get to go to church, this is just what I needed to hear. Best girlfriends are amazing. I'll be praying for you.

  2. Stefanie,
    I know I can't say that I know EXACTLY how you feel but I do know how you feel to a degree. I lost my best friend to and the pain that comes with it is so unbearable. Especially the regret. There are so so many things that I wish I would have said, or done.

    I know she is with you. She is there for you and she'll be there for your wedding. I'm so sorry you have to go through this. Nobody should have to go through this. I hate this. The pain doesn't leave for a long long time, but you will always have her comforting you.

    I know that I can't fix this and that nothing anyone says will make it better. Because the only thing that can make it better is seeing them again, but know that I can relate and you can call and vent or cry or come over and cry whenever you need. I will cry with you.

    You're in my prayers. I'm crying for you. I'm thinking about you. Love you.

  3. Thank you for sharing your memories. I will be keeping you in my prayers over the coming days - Janine

  4. Wow Stef. I know that she forgives you and loves you. I'm so sorry.

  5. Stefanie.. its hanna r. hey i wanted to tell you how touched i was by reading this about jessia. I know that we weren't the best of friends and the only time i pent with u was at WRA BUT U truly are an awesome person...

  6. That was beautiful, Stefanie, and I am so so so sorry for your loss. Friendships like yours and Jessica's don't come along every day, and I can't even imagine the hole that this has left in your heart. I hope that the ache will be softened by the beautiful memories you have of Jessica and the time you spent together.

  7. Hi Stefanie

    Im a birthmom in South Africa and been reading your blog for awhile now and I just wanted you to know you been nominated for the Happy 101 blog

  8. I am so sorry for your Loss... Beautiful memories and words. Thankyou for sharing

  9. Stefanie, I love your blog. This is a beautiful tribute to a beautiful girl. I cried as I read about how Jess wanted to go back to Coyote Gulch. I loved that trip and I loved each of you. I know that she is busy in the spirit world, teaching those who need to know the gospel. She is a beautiful spirit. One day she will take you in her arms, tell you how much she loves you, and you will be best friends for eternity.

  10. Stefanie I'm so sorry for your loss. This post is such a sweet tribute to your dear friend. Lots of love and prayers going out to you sweetie.

  11. Wow, thanks so much for sharing such an emotional experience. You are fortunate to have shared all that you did with her and she in turn with you...there is definitely something to be said about a girl's best friend and I think you just paid her the best most endearing tribute anyone could ask for. Thank you for being you and for exposing your own sweet emotions so that we can all be touched.


  12. Thanks so much for sharing this story. What a good friend you were. Very touching.

  13. Hey girl,

    I sent you an email after I got your comment...wanted to email you back, 'cuz it's more private (I think I wrote a lot...eeek!) and I hope you got it. Do not feel like you need to reply. No pressure. I just want you to know if you need to vent or need an ear, I'm here.

    Hold on to those awesome memories and remember the love and connection you two - still! - share. You're in my thoughts and prayers. Be gentle and kind to yourself.


  14. I am so sorry for your pain. I can't even imagine how hard it would be to loose your best friend. When my Baby Colette Died my bishop gave me the book "For They Shall Be Comforted." By Alma & Clea Burton. (you can find it at any segall book or dessert book store) It is filled with quotes from Prophets and Apostles about Death that have helped to heal my broken heart and to ease the pain. I know it is different for everyone but perhaps this will help you as well? Sending Prayers your way.

  15. I bought that book when my best friend died too. It's really good.

  16. I just wanted to add this part- there is a difference when people are truly sincere in their condolences and are curious about the situation. But it's when people say, "WHAT THE CRAP HAPPENED?" It's not respectful at all, it's really insensitive to my feelings. And to someone who said something about me asking about their lost one a few years back and how I asked. You might've been okay with sharing your experience about your close one and I may have been insensitive because I probably didn't know what it felt like. It's people that didn't know her that are just curious and insensitive to others around them that actually KNOW the person.