Wednesday, May 28, 2008

In Memoriam: Jessica Kochis-Fedeli

I lost a dear friend over the weekend. Jessica had been battling cancer for years, but despite the horrible toll the disease took on her, she always sent it back into remission. She was a warrior whose optimistic spirit was infectious.

Straight out of college, Jessica traveled to exotic parts of the world to fight for social justice and worked with troubled teens before eventually taking a job teaching.

Sometime around 1998-9 Jessica moved to New York City, a place I'm sure she would acknowledge as her spiritual home. She loved living in NYC and though she wanted to travel, she knew she would always return to New York, where she eventually met her future husband, Shawn Fedeli.

Jessica and Shawn were dating when she discovered the first signs of cancer. Together they faced the tragic loss of her leg, but were relieved to hear that the cancer was gone. It returned six months later, but again Jessica sent it into remission.

I last saw Jessica about 18 months ago. I was visiting NYC and took the subway to Brooklyn where I met Jessica and Shawn for dinner. She was healthy, happily married, and thrilled with her job teaching government and sociology at St. Saviour High School. I never would have guessed her life could take such a tragic turn.

I would like to write more about Jessica, but for now this is all I can muster.

Goodbye, Jessica. I'll forever miss you.


December, 2009

A sleepless night haunted by ghosts. My friend's mom recently succumbed to Parkinson's. I find myself reflecting on the ghosts of my past. Eventually, I gave up on sleep, pulled myself out of bed and began to drift through the ethos of the internet. I find myself looking up Jessica. I'm haunted by Jessica's demise for the simplest reason of all: she was so young. I stumbled upon the following website (below). It is a beautiful tribute to Jessica.