As I have stated in my previous posts about her, I never knew Lauren Bump, but I do know Gaby Jimenez. Today was “Lauren’s 26th Birthday Celebration.” I did not think I was going to write about it, but then I talked to Gaby and I felt like I had to write a blog post. I asked Gaby how she was doing and she said she was doing good. Then I asked her how she is really doing. She thought about it for a second and said that she really was doing good, of course this week had been rough for her, but she’s doing good. She said that last year, she was just numb all the time, but is really able to feel this year and so it’s been good, albeit like going through it all, all over again, but still good. I thought about something she said to me a few months ago about losing the person whom you have told everything to, things that you will not tell anyone else, and I realized that Gaby is one of the strongest people I have ever met. In a way, she is like my hero.
While we walked in silence down the mile long trail at the park where Lauren was a killed, I thought about Gaby and Lauren and I thought about my best friends and myself. In general, I cannot fathom my life without anyone I currently know, so trying to fathom my life without my best friends, Shelby, Holly, and Allie is impossible! What would I do if I could not see Shelby for 2-4 hours every Sunday? How would I handle not being able to send her text messages just randomly full of sarcasm, Chuck Bass, and song lyrics? What if she were gone? What would I do? What would I do if I couldn’t text Allie and Holly whenever I want for prayer? What would I do if I could not visit them in Austin or have them visit me here in San Antonio? I would be completely lost without Allie and Holly in my life, and I would especially be completely lost without Shelby, whom I can see, hear, and hang out with in person on a regular basis! I cannot imagine how Gaby has gone on with her everyday life without having her best friend to talk with, laugh with, receive advice from, and just be around.
I first met Gaby less than 2 months after Lauren was killed. Even then, though she was smiling and chatting with Allie and Holly as if nothing had been wrong, but I knew the truth. She and Allie & Holly even talked about it. Gaby had lost her best friend and nothing was okay with that, but she went through life almost as if she was okay, because she had to keep going. She had to put one foot in front of the other keep living, though I’m sure (because that’s how I would be) she just wanted to curl up in a ball and cry.
When I was in high school, I went through a long stretch of time when I was depressed and had to master a fake smile. Gaby may or may not have reached this point after what happened to Lauren, but when I talk to her, she says she’s really happy, and because I don’t just ask “How are you?” but “How are you really?” I do believe her when she smiles and says she’s doing good. I believe her, because even when you lose someone you love, you have to keep going and keep living as if nothing has changed. I believe her because I know she knows that Lauren would have wanted her to remember her always, but also always to live life to the fullest, because as proven by Lauren’s abrupt death, you never know how much longer you have on this earth. I don’t know Gaby more than knowing her name and following her social media activity, but I feel like I know her well enough to say that she is doing that! She is choosing to live life to the fullest and that by doing so she is being a wonderful example of Christ by choosing to be joyful, even during times in which she may not be happy! She’s choosing to use her lose as a motivation to live life to the fullest and to be a shining light in a dark world! I truly love any chance I get to speak with Gaby, because she is such an inspirational person to be around! I wish I could have seen her physically with Lauren, but I feel like just by observing Gaby from the far off viewpoint of a social media friend who only occasionally sees her in person, that Gaby and Lauren are still walking this world together, just with Lauren in Gaby’s heart rather than by her side. I’m sure Gaby would read this and say that she’s no different than anyone else, because she seems to be a very humble person, but she is different! She is brave, strong, and inspiring! She lives a life for God, shining like Lauren, and loving like someone who has been broken, and that’s the best kind of love, because hearts that have been broken but still continue to love are the most amazing hearts you’ll ever come across!
My favorite quote happens to be a quote by Lauren that reads, “Seek peace, keep a joyful heart, and in all things, do with love.” That’s what Gaby is doing in her life. That’s what I can see her doing through her social media posts and it’s you can feel radiating from her when you speak to her in person. Somehow, with God’s help, Gaby has managed to find peace, keep a joyful heart, and do all things with love, even though one would think that she has every right to close herself off to the world, at least at times when it should have been her best friend’s birthday.
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