A letter to my dear departed friend Jackson Lightfoot Whisett
Thank you for gracing me and blessing me with the opportunity to know and love you during your short time on Earth. Through our 16 years of friendship I’ve learned three distinct lessons from you. You’ve taught me the value of platonic love, love itself knows no distance, and those who love the deepest and the hardest are usually the ones who hurt in greater magnitudes but mask it the best.
Jackson Lightfoot, you were the first boy to really love me. Love me in a way I couldn’t comprehend in sixth grade because it wasn’t romantic but it was deep. You were always the first person everyone saw when you walked into a room. I always wondered what I did to make the guy that loved everyone love me. But I realized you saw parts of me I wasn’t ready to see for myself yet. The girly parts, the independent parts, the parts that were bigger than New Jersey. I always felt so special to be your friend because even though everyone thought they were your best friend, I knew you and I were more. We were family. I remember one day I was sick and my mom wouldn’t let you in my house and you sat on the porch and talked to me through the window. We were inseparable—until we weren’t.
When I had to move yet again, I had no idea how I would cope with losing you. But you assured me. Inseparable didn’t mean what I thought it did. Our love knew no distance. It was my 16th birthday and I was in a constant battle with depression and somehow you knew I needed you. I needed your smile. I needed your love. You bought a tuxedo and caught a greyhound all the way to Pittsburgh. You were the perfect date for my birthday party. Recently found out you didn’t even tell your family. You just left, which is so you but also just speaks to the fact nothing could keep us apart. You knew what that all-consuming monster of depression looked like and you wouldn’t let me battle it alone.
The ironic thing is that you were the happy friend. The one who uplifted everyone but secretly were fighting your own battle. You loved those around you so much you protected us from your pain. I wish you would’ve allowed me to love you through it the way you loved me. But now I understand that’s what made you you. You felt things in such a great magnitude. I still ask myself why. But it’s not about that at this point. Now you’re experiencing peace.
Jackson, thank you for loving me. Thank you for allowing me to love you. Thank you for coming to see me every opportunity you could in every state I lived in. Thank you for gracing this earth with your beautiful spirit. I am so sorry the world didn’t appreciate you in your essence. I’d be lying if I said I haven’t been consumed by grief these last two months since you’ve been gone. But what is grief if not love persevering? Our love knows no distance—including heaven and Earth.
Happy Birthday my love ❤️
Kennedy Kehaulani Guess
I am so proud of you! Thank you for sharing this article about love, the best example of humanity and friendship! I read it 3 times - it was that wonderful, thoughtful and emotional. I have known your family for many decades and I am so proud of what your mom and dad did during your life to give you the love necessary to express yourself to others. WOW! Archie Giles