Jacquelyn Byrd was her name. We called her simply Jackie or J.B for short. Sometimes we teased her and called her Big Byrd. EVERYBODY loved her. seriously, out of all my friends she is the only one I know that didnt have an enemy or was always falling out with people.

I checked my email tonight and saw two back to back messages from two childhood friends, Charita and Tikki. I knew it was bad news before I even opened it. i knew somebody died. I prepared myself for the worse…thuinking it was my brother. These are the two friends who called to tell me that my step father died, after they read about it in the newspaper. If it were any other news they would have just said it openly on my FaceBook wall.

They said Jackie died. Complications of diabetes. I didnt even know she had diabetes. Not surprised. I recently reconnected with Jasckie on FaceBook. I even talked to her on the phone and was trying to assist her in getting some stability in her life. She confided in me how her life was since we were last in touch and requested my help. I even considered trying to bring her to Saudi as a nanny, because she is one of the ferw people I would allow to keep my kids.

 

The last time I saw Jackie was in Chicago around 1998. She was staying with me and I taught her about Islam. She took her shahadah, but never really cared to follow the Quran and Sunnah. I moved to Virginia and she moved to Atlanta. We talked a few times but I was always trying to get her to focus on Islam, but that was not her main concern. You see Jackie is a naturally good and decent person who fears God. She was also a free spirit and like to follow conjecture and feel good ways to be close to God. So Islam, she could accept as a theology but not as a way of life. She died a minister of christ.

However, that is not what I am thinking about most. I’m really thinking about the irony of her death. Ive known Jackie since my childhood. I knew her whole family. Her mother died over Chritmas or Thanksgiving break our second year of college. My friend Nicole’s mother had died the year before over a school break as well. Both of their mothers were the type that everybody could call ‘mom’. After the death of their mothers, I had a fear of school breaks and i was plagued with nightmares of my own mother dying. i never told anybody this, but I was a mess inside. At that age I had no idea how to live without my mother but my two friends did and they grew into responsible adults.

A few weeks ago, Jackie left Atlanta to visit her family in Kentucky. I believe this is where she died, I dont have all the details. Jackies Aunt Norma was dianoied with cancer and told she only had a few weeks to live. Jackie was devastated but preparing for her death and enjoying spending time with all her loved ones. it turns out that Jackie’s Aunt Norma outlived her and Jackie died surrounded by her family and not alone in Atlanta.

That is what I saw as the irony of her death. Actually, it shows just how Merciful and Compassionate God is. Those who spoke to J.B recently knew that she was struggling and her story could be made for tv special. It was shocking to me that I had a friend being tested the way she was. 

I think Jackie was tired and this was a good time for her to rest.

R.I.P J.B

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