Life Plans

We all spend hours daydreaming of what our lives will be. As children we are always asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up little girl?” I had my whole life planned out. I was going to grow up, skip over all that law school business, and become Judge Judy. I was going to find a tall, beautiful man that had a mysterious resemblance to my Ken Barbie Doll, and he would become my husband. We would have a huge wedding with white sheets everywhere, doves flying around the church, and I would walk down the aisle in a huge, fluffy white princess dress with a six-foot long tail following me. It would be perfect.

We later find something else that fits us better. I grew up, I adapted to my surroundings, I have felt different emotions, and eventually I grew into a whole new person that six-year-old little girl could have never imagined. I have no desire to be Judge Judy, nor do I want doves flying around pooping on my wedding guests. I met reality. I faced life. I have seen and lived through things I didn’t even know could happen.
Beep, beep, beep! By far the worst noise any freshman can hear at 6:55 in the morning. Rubbing my eyes with my ears still ringing from the beeping reminder that I have to get ready for school. I slowly get (fall) out of bed and start stumbling towards the bathroom. My eyes are squeezed shut tight enough to not give me a headache, but just enough to not let a peep of light through. Trying to regain stability, I slowly start to open my left eye in an attempt to decide if I really need to shower today, or if I can go sleep for twenty more minutes. Ugh, fine! Flipping on the showerhead, I go fall into my comforter until the water heats up. Why so early?

Finally ready for my first day of school, sporting a great pair of jean shorts and a sweater with just a couple holes. I stop in the mirror and decide I still look cute, but not like I’m trying to hard, perfect. I look at my phone, school starts in fourteen minutes and my brother has texted me three times to come get in the car. Oops. I grab my bag and head for the garage. I hop in his jeep and start texting Anna.

“Where’s your locker? I’m going to be late. Where you at?”

“Dude I don’t know, we aren’t there yet either. Meet me and Rachel at the gym door.”

“Lol, okay, cool.”

It was inevitable that Anna was late to school. Teachers eventually just stopped expecting her to be on time at all. I can’t say much, however, considering I was sent to the dean’s office for having too many excused tardy slips in a row. Anna and I were two peas in a pod.

As a six-year old, I would have never imagined what it was like to have a best friend that was so similar to you in so many ways, but yet so completely different. Anna was the ‘naughty’ one, and I was the ‘curious-but too-scared-my-dad-is-gonna-find-out’ one. I would always be the one to talk Anna into just telling our parents because I was scared they were going to find out anyway. Anna still had a way of manipulating me to live life on the edge every once in awhile. Together, we brought out the best in each other. There is something to say about a best friend who knows you better than you know yourself. I would die for Anna, and I have no doubt in my mind she would do the same for me. Blood alone could not have made us any closer. That’s a very rare thing to find in life. I could tell Anna anything, call her anytime, annoy her all I want when I was bored, and it only brought us closer. We would fight about real life, serious issues. I would scream at Anna about how stupid she is being and how much trouble she can get in, telling her she is being a complete idiot, speed away from her house, and she would call me back to tell me I’m right and give a sincere apology. Typically, she would end up doing whatever I told her not to anyway, but she would just tell me after she did it so I didn’t have time to force her out of it. Little snot. Looking back, that’s one of the things that kept us so close. If she always gave in and let me have my way, we wouldn’t have been as close as we were. We tested and pushed each other to points that no one else could. When I was feeling down or complaining about some rumor someone started about me, she would just look at me and say, “Dude why do you even care?” As I was defending myself, coming up with the most logical argument I could, her response was usually, “Dude whatever, screw that b*itch! She sucks anyway. People say sh*t like that about me all the time. Whocares. Let’s go make some guac.” We would jump in the jeep, jamming out to some Eminem, the bass shaking the entire car, and nothing else mattered anymore. Anna is the only one who can make everything in the world seems so small and a stupid song blaring in the car be the most important thing in the world. I was always worrying about the future, and Anna was living in the now. Together we would balance our thought processes out to be able to live in the now, but still think about the consequences in the future. The most perfect relationship.

Throughout high school, things never changed. We were always the same Jordon and Anna, and most of the school knew us as ‘Jordon, Anna, Rachel, and Sarah.’ Senior year brought up it’s own challenges, but in the end we were always the same best friends forever.

As we were planning for college, weighing our options, it became official. We were going to be separated. Rachel and I going to Iowa, Anna going to Iowa State, and Sarah going to DMACC. We made the best of our last summer together, and eventually said our teary eyed good-byes. Anna promised she would come visit me every weekend, and we would skype every day. I don’t think any of us realized how much work college was actually going to be. We did still keep in touch and skyped often. However, Anna’s plan of coming to Iowa City every weekend was a bit of a long stretch and only happened twice. Even the distance couldn’t tear Anna and I apart. Every time we talked we just picked up were we left off, and it was Jordon and Anna once again.

You can imagine my shock when I got the worst phone call of my life. Anna was dead. Anna overdosed on heroin. HEROIN. Anna was always a pot-smoker, but she never did heroin before. Yes she did. She was an addict for a year. That’s all it took. One year, and she was gone.

There is no one here to make me focus on the song playing quietly in the background of the hair salon as I process the news. There is no one to go make guacamole with me, and pretend like nothing happened. It happened, and that person was gone. No one could make me feel the same, and no one had the spunk Anna did to fix all of my problems. I had to deal with this without her. The worst day of my life and Anna wasn’t there to fix it. As I sat in the chair trying to wrap my head around what had just happened, I could feel myself sitting on the world’s axis as everything around me kept spinning. I felt like I could literally see the people spinning in a circle and I was just stuck in time. I couldn’t do anything about it. The tears were just falling down my face, I couldn’t stop them, I couldn’t make them come any faster. I had no control over anything, and I had no idea how I was going to live the rest of my life without Anna. I didn’t know how I was going to get through the rest of today without her. How I was going to show up at her Mom’s house in four days when she got back to Iowa with her daughter’s body. What I was going to say to her little sisters, her Dad, her Brother, her Step-Mom. All of these thoughts and I just needed Anna there to tell me to shut up as she turned up No Scrubs to the max volume in her car. I’ll never get that again, and it’s all because of one stupid f*cking drug that continues to run ramped through our streets. A drug addiction that we as a society discriminate against so bad killed my other half. The greatest thing I could ever ask for in life, a best friend, a sister, is gone forever because of heroin. And I didn’t even know.

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The Past

The past quickly becomes irrelevant in times like these. It’s weird to think that last year, at this same time, I would have never been having the same thoughts I am now.

Recently, Anna’s long time boyfriend requested to be my friend on facebook. They have their own history, and there was a point in time when I had my own opinions of their relationship that Anna was not happy about. He is now also an addict in recovery. Many of the later months of their relationship involved addiction, and I have had a bad taste in mouth towards the relationship for a long time.

When your best friend overdoses on heroin, you immediately find someone to blame. It was obviously not my Anna that chose to use this drug in the first place. It was someone else who pressured her into using, and they are the sole reason why she is gone. Anna’s boyfriend, we’ll call him.. Mitch– was my outlet for the blame. Since Anna’s death, in my head, it was all Mitch’s fault. He’s the one who made her use (I didn’t know this to be true, but I wanted it to be true), and he is the reason she is dead. When I received the facebook friend request from Mitch, my heart dropped. I had so much I wanted to scream at him, yell at him, punish him for, and now he wants to be my friend.

It took me a good three days before I finally accepted the request. There was a time in the first couple years of Mitch and Anna’s relationship that we were all really good friends. Anna, Mitch, and I would all hangout, I would go over to his house, hang out with his family, and we just all had a really close connection. Part of me remembered that Mitch, and eventually my anger suppressed, and I accepted the request.

As I sat there, slowly creeping and pondering the memories we all had together- it hit me.

I don’t even know the story. I don’t know who used what when, who told who it was a good idea, who instigated what, where the drugs came from. Mitch dated Anna for nearly 6 years. He loved her, and she loved him. How am I going to sit here and blame all of this on him when he is suffering just as bad as I am, when I don’t even know the truth?? I finally broke down, and sent him a message on facebook. To sum it up, I basically just poured my heart out into the message. I told him how much I hated him, how much I didn’t actually hate him, but wanted to hate him, how bad I felt for hating him, how broken I was because of our situation, how badly I wanted him to be clean, and I made a point to remind him how much he meant to Anna. He was Anna’s world, the love of her life. She told me multiple times she would absolutely spend the rest of her life with him. Mitch is not a bad person– they had been through a lot together, and both made bad choices. Mitch lost his Dad three years ago, and from there Mitch and Anna’s life together seemed to tumble down a rocky road.

I honestly didn’t know how to talk to Mitch anymore. I didn’t know what to say, and after I sent the message it almost felt like I was cheating on Anna by talking to Mitch without her. It was very strange, but when I got the first phone call from him- I immediately burst into tears. It was so good to hear from him again, and it really felt like the old Mitch was back. We talked for a half hour, and he filled me in on some of the story. The one thing that stuck out the very most was hearing him say, “There is not a second of the day that goes by that I don’t wish I was dead and Anna was still here. She was so much of a better person than me, and she didn’t deserve this. I did.”

I broke into tears, and my heart shattered at the very same moment. Honestly, I have felt the same way. I have wished I could take Anna’s place and she could have mine. That can’t happen. I could hear Mitch’s voice breaking as he continued to elaborate on his feelings of brokenness, loneliness, and pain since losing Anna.

At the moment, I realized nothing from the past mattered. Anna is gone and she isn’t coming back. She would be so angry with me if she knew I was just shutting the door on him, not caring if he got clean or made something of himself. She would be so mad at me for not pushing him to do what she wanted from him the entire time. She wanted me to approve of him the whole time, and the last few years I couldn’t. Now, all of that is gone. It happened, and who am I to put the blame on him and not care if another family goes through this again because I’m bitter about my friend’s life that is no longer here? I had tears streaming down my face, but I was trying to smile as I’m listening to Mitch tell me about how well his recovery is going. He was telling me how thankful he is for being in the program he is in now, and that it literally saved his life. If he wasn’t in this program, he honestly did not believe he would still be alive. He told me out of respect for Anna (and himself) he refuses to ever touch another pill again, no heroin, nothing. He can finally think clearly now that he’s sober, and all he wants is to make things right with her. Staying clean and making something of himself is his way of doing that.

As hard as it was to get the courage to finally talk to Mitch, I am so thankful I did. I will always think of him as Anna’s boyfriend, but I can hear and feel Anna thanking me from above for being there for him. He has no one who really knew Anna in his corner, and he thanked me for speaking to him. I know Anna is smiling as she says, “Aw, babe. Dude, thank you so much. This why I love you!!”

Vests, Lies and Videotape: The Cover-Up of Brandon Ellingson’s Murder

Another one of my friends who passed in an unjust way… Please read

The American Spring Network

After the Coroner’s inquest concluded Thursday Sept. 4 in Versailles, Craig Ellingson, father of drowning victim Brandon Ellingson, called the jury’s decision a “hometown verdict”. The Morgan County jury was seated to review the death of Brandon Ellingson, a 20 year-old native of Clive, Iowa and Arizona State University student, who died while in custody of the Missouri State Water Patrol on May 31 at the popular Midwest tourist destination, the Lake of the Ozarks. The Ellingson family was disappointed in the jury’s determination that Brandon’s death by drowning while handcuffed and in custody of Missouri State Highway Patrolman Anthony Piercy was ‘accidental’.

Brandon Ellingson, native of Clive, IA and Arizona State student murdered on the Lake of the Ozarks. Brandon Ellingson, native of Clive, IA and Arizona State student murdered on the Lake of the Ozarks.

“I still think the inquest was a joke.” Craig Ellingson said following the decision Thursday. “Basically what they were trying to do was get Piercy off the hook so he…

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