A Heart for Others

Name: Michelle Javian

Location: New York, NY

Relationship to Jessica: Roommate for life, dear friend

I met Jessica during our 1st week at Georgetown University in Southside Cafeteria 10 years ago.

Jessica & Michelle, Hamptons, July 2007

American Heart Association 5K Wall Street Walk/Run, May 2009


© jessicafashano.com

As I’ve thought about Jessica (also known as “Jess” or “Fash”) over the past several weeks, two recent experiences have come to mind, which capture how much I learned from her about loving and giving. In early December, we collaborated on a fundraiser for Harboring Hearts Housing, the charity I co-founded after my dad passed away from heart disease. Jess was always looking for ways to support worthy causes, and when she said she could help out with this event, I was thrilled and honored to have her co-chair the event. This event was particularly meaningful for us because it was a shopping night at Jessie James Boutique, a shop we’d discovered together 5 years ago and visited ever since. Thanks to Jess’s planning, everyone had a wonderful time, and we raised $1,200 for Harboring Hearts. But I was especially touched by how Jess went above and beyond to make sure that the evening was special. She got cupcakes donated for the event, she made gift bags for the participants, and she even paid for heart-shaped soaps out of her own money. Jess had a lot going on at the time—she was applying to grad schools, she was preparing to leave her job, and she was dealing with all of the emotional ups and downs that come with the holidays. But she still took the time to give of herself to help friends and support a worthy cause.

The second experience was at Jess’s funeral. Like so many others, I was full of grief and confusion at having lost such a dear, wonderful friend. Jess and I had been roommates for three years at Georgetown, and we’d remained very close when we both moved to New York after graduation. After 10 years of being friends, it seemed impossible that she was gone. Among the others attending the wake and the funeral, I saw a former roommate of ours from Georgetown. We had not parted on the best of terms. But she was there at Jess’s wake, and when I saw her, all of those hard feelings melted away. I gave her a hug, and we were able to mourn together for the loss of a friend we’d both loved. This made me realize how much Jess had always taught me about loving, forgiving, and bringing people together. She was a connector. Whether it was connecting me with her group of friends in New York or bringing two estranged roommates together again after several years, Jess had a talent for making personal connections. In fact, she may have been so good at loving and giving that she never learned enough how to receive and replenish herself when she was feeling empty.

I miss you, Fash!

There are so many things that I miss about Fash. I’ll miss her hugs and smile, so full of warmth and love and support, even when she didn’t have words. I’ll miss how she was always there for me—even leaving work to bring me soup if I was feeling sick. I’ll miss her reminders that I should keep my receipts and her recommendations of Spanish authors to read. I’ll miss her commitment to social enterprise, and I’ll never forget how either she or her family members would attend every Harboring Hearts event that I put on. I’ll miss how she always had a funny story to tell. I’ll miss the on-going list of activities that we planned to do together, whether it was something small like getting corn muffins together in the Hampton’s or sitting by my fireplace and playing Apples to Apples, or something big like traveling to Greece. I’ll miss how much she wanted everyone to be happy.

Jessica, I love you and I miss you so much, and I’ll never stop learning from your example.

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Discussion

  1. Lauren Albert says:

    Great post, Mish. XOXO

  2. Theresa Mazza says:

    She had a huge heart and was the glue that kept everyone together. Great memories Mish 🙂

  3. A true depiction of how special she was to you …. I, too, remember the corn muffins and the Apples to Apples! Its the small things we will miss so much!