A Chat With Justine

The other day a memory came up on Facebook. It said that Justine and I had become “friends”. I clicked on it expecting to be taken to her Facebook profile but, instead was taken to our chat messages. I had forgotten all about them. I sometimes go to her memorial profile to see if anyone has posted a message or a picture but I had never re-read our chat messages. Reading them made me feel that we were still in contact. 

Justine always started her chats with “Hawop”. That is just a silly salutation that I think I brought from my own childhood and passed it on to my kids. It’s not in any way a slur to Italian people. It’s Hello, changed to Halo, changed to Hawo and then a p got added somewhere along the way. My family still says  “Hawo” as a hello. I had forgotten that Justine started each message with that. I can hear her say it today.

We mostly chatted about her job and what was going on in her life. She was very busy with two and sometimes three jobs with school thrown it too. We’d try to get together weekly but mostly we would chat whenever we got time. 

I was surprised how many times I asked and gave advice about her sleeping patterns. She often had trouble sleeping at night and would nap whenever she could. When she began working the night shift I had mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, she didn’t seem to sleep well at night anyway but then I worried about her driving home very tired in the morning. Much of our conversation was asking about her sleep, giving advice about going to sleep or asking if she needed me to wake her up. She always assured me she was fine. She did seem to get by on very little sleep then she would make up for it and sleep for two days straight. 

Justine had bipolar disorder and her life was often chaotic. She changed jobs, bought and sold vehicles and moved often. Much of our conversation was around all the new things happening in her life. There was always something going on in Justine’s world. She often ran these things by her dad and me. She didn’t always take our advice but she wanted to hear it anyway. She always kept in touch. She was a good daughter. 

After Justine’s sister, Candice read this she went to read her chat messages. The last conversation was about sleep!

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