After all these years, Nsync’s “This I Promise You” is still part of my life’s soundtrack. It’s the only boyband song I still listen to and its meaning has evolved since the first time I’ve heard it.
At one time it was a mutual favorite of my friend’s too. It was played at my friend’s memorial service. This beautiful song made me feel like my friend was reaching out all who attended promising us she’d always be here with us–forever. A short time after that I found myself crying when I heard it at the mall.
About 9.5 years later the song still accompanies my friend’s memory. For instance, the other night as I reflected on how much I still admire her courage, strength, and compassion for others the song filled my head. As it began to lull me to sleep, this verse made me smile:
“I’ve loved you forever,
In lifetimes before
And I promise you never…
Will you hurt anymore.”–N’sync’s This I Promise You
I began to wonder about the source of my friend’s strength. Though she had never mentioned God, I found her strength, courage, and compassion to be unwavering–solid. She never cursed hydrocephalus for all the surgeries she had to go through. She carried with her an angel through every single countless surgery. She put others before herself. And was far more interested in educating her peers about hydrocephalus than submitting to it as its victim or patient, even.
My friend Jackie Olsen was like a sister to me and perhaps my biggest fan. I think she was perhaps the first of my friends and peers to see my potential even though I couldn’t. I felt that she was always rooting for me too. She was and always will be among the greatest friends I’ve ever had. Even now she still inspires me. I smile a little more too.
And I know now that the measure of a great friendship is how they inspire you even after they pass from life. It’s the lessons they teach you while they are here. And it’s how we keep their memories that keeps the friendship alive. Death isn’t strong enough to rob us of our friendships and other relationships.