JA passed away Sept. 24th from a cancerous brain tumor he's been fighting since 2001. He just couldn't fight it anymore after numerous surgeries and chemo treatments. J and I graduated together from Northside and used to hang out because he was dating my best friend H. They dated for about 4 years and broke up back in late 1997. He'd cheated on her with the girl that later became his first wife. There's more involved, but out of respect for H's privacy, I won't repeat it here. She was completely devastated because she'd trusted him and I thought I'd never be able to forgive him. I was angry with him for the longest time for what he did to her. She has to live with the knowledge of what he did everyday for the rest of her life.
When I heard that he died, part of me was upset and another part was still bitter over what he did to H. Then I started thinking...with all the suffering he's done since the tumor was discovered, he's more than made up for any mistakes he ever made...especially since he somehow remained high spirited through all of it. The way someone deals with a tragedy speaks volumes about a person, regardless of the mistakes they made. Nine months after he married the girl he cheated on H with, it's rumored that she cheated on him with some married man and they divorced. I think that was in 2000. Then he met a girl who would become his 2nd wife. While he was with her visiting her family in Reston, he had a seizure and they thought it was due to his diabetes, but that's when they discovered the tumor. They still got married and she stuck by his side through all of it. He's never had any children, but they would've been really cute. He was a volunteer EMT/Firefighter for Roanoke County Masons Cove and worked at Timber Truss for awhile.
Overall, he was a very generous person who always had a positive outlook on things and went out of his way to help others. When H was working up at Mountain View Italian Kitchen, he would come pick me up and take me up there for lunch to see her since I hardly ever got to because I was away at college for most of the year. I remember the summer before my freshman year of college, we were going to go up to Busch Gardens with H's aunt, uncle and cousin Chris. We stayed the night at J's parents house and left early the next morning. Most of the day there it was J and I riding the rides together since H doesn't like roller coasters. On the trip back, H's aunt's SUV blew a tire so we shined the headlights of our car on it to change it. When we got the spare on, it was too big for the wheelwell so we had to go really slow. Then b/c we left the headlights on, our car battery died and we had to jump it. Then, it started raining and we were hydroplaning all over the place...mind you..all this happened at about 2am on I81. Right before J dropped me off, the gas light came on and he almost ran out of gas. It was such a wild and fun trip.
I even remember being jealous of H b/c she was dating him. He was very handsome and a lot of fun to be around. When their relationship was good..it was really good and it was the happiest I have ever seen her. I don't think she ever completely bounced back to her old self after they broke up. She's been more subdued since then..more melancholy. She used to throw parties all the time and was always laughing and surrounded by tons of people. After they broke up, all that changed. Hmm..I don't even know when the happiest I've ever been is. When I was dating Steve..that was the most fun I ever had, but I don't know if I would label it the happiest. I was experiencing my first taste of freedom and I was surrounded by a huge group of friends! lol.
I know H misses J and even with the sadness he caused her, he also made her extremely happy at times. I don't think she'll ever get over it, but I know J was sorry for what he did. We did run into each other a few times and chat while his cancer was in remission, but we both avoided the issue of what happened with H. He even married someone who looks a lot like H in my opinion..lol. I'm sure that was just a coincidence b/c you can't help what kind of looks your attracted to. They're still different people. Anyway, I'm glad J can be at peace now and not have to experience any more pain. I hope his family can adapt to life w/o him. It was also rumored that his family was spending all his fundraising money on new furniture, new trucks, tvs, etc. I was also told that his mom didn't want his wife K living in the house they were building since she paid for it, but it could also be that K didn't want to live there without him...who knows the true story..I've heard too many versions of it. If the rumors are true, I also hope J knows what they're up to.
I haven't seen J in a long time, but a part of me will miss him. A part of me also regrets that I never got to say goodbye...or tell him that I forgive him for what he did to H. I hope he knows that I do forgive him and that I'm so very very sorry for all that he had to go through. That kind of stuff should only happen to bad people, not people like J...but life isn't fair, is it?
Saturday, October 01, 2005