I haven’t really had the time to process and grieve him yet due to my treatment, but my friend Jesse is gone.
He meant a great deal to me, and while I am trying to remain upbeat and focused on my recovery, he’s always there, taking up space in my heart and mind. I miss him so profoundly.
Me and Jesse
He was so many things to me. He was my first kiss. He was my first gay peer and friend. He and I met at a time when I felt so isolated, so alone in the world. He helped to show me that not only was I not alone, but I was surrounded by people who loved me just as I was.
It took us the better part of the school year to finally meet, after exchanging glances (more like stares) every day as we passed each other in the crowded halls at school each morning. We bonded immediately and spent many days together through the remaining school year and into the summer. He came with my family on a trip or two over the summer and I spent countless hours at his house.
He showed me that I didn’t need to be terrified, that I didn’t need to worry about my labels, that I was just fine the way I was.
I know he must have been hurting terribly to decide to end it, and I’m struggling to decide whether or not I’m angry with him for it. It’s just all very confusing and overwhelming.
The last time I saw Jesse was this past December. We lay on blankets staring at the stars, talking about our decade of friendship and our futures when he took this beautiful long exposure photo of the night sky. Click on it for the full image.
Jesse, you were so loved. I wish you had loved yourself the way I loved you. I will miss you always.
Jesse Paul Derouen
December 22, 1983 – August 18, 2012