About ten years ago, I received numerous mixed burnt CDs from my friend Jeff, whom I called Christian, and he called me Mercedes. Jeff and I were very close and had tons of great memories getting ready for a night out or dancing in the car to the music he made us. In 2008, when I bought the iPod I still have now, I uploaded all of these music files and named the ones I recognized. There was an amazing instrumental that speeds up the tempo as the song goes on. It is mesmerizing. I didn’t recognize it, so I saved the artist under “Ask Jeff Feys”. I always meant to ask him what this instrumental was from, but unfortunately never found out.
Friday night, I decided to put something on I hadn’t seen in awhile. I put on the movie Moulin Rouge. It had probably been about 5 years since I watched it, so I am not sure why I decided to put it on Friday. The movie embodies the bohemian lifestyle, upholding the values Truth, Beauty, Freedom and Love. It is something that has resonated with me since I was in middle school. The movie ends in tragedy, however, the message is clear. “The greatest thing you will ever learn is just to love, and be loved in return.” Even though the main character, Satine, dies tragically, she definitely was able to love and be loved before she died. Even though she dies, she was able to learn the greatest lesson there is to learn in life.
I sat through the movie and cried like I usually would. The ending credits came on, and I sat on my couch with my dog, Reesie, not wanting to get up quite yet. To my surprise, a familiar song that had eluded me for years came on during the ending credits of the movie. Yes, it was the “Ask Jeff Feys” instrumental from my iPod. I found myself very happy and smiling that the mystery was finally solved. I recalled Jeff loving this movie, so it made sense. I was surprised I hadn’t stopped to listen to the credits before.
The next day, I logged onto Facebook, about to tell him about the song. To my devastation, I found out he had passed the night before. Jeff had tragically died by being hit by a car when he was crossing the street in Warren, Michigan. I spent my 4th of July thinking about Jeff all day. Part of me felt guilty that we hadn’t spoke much lately outside of Facebook. The other part of me laughed and giggled at all of our ridiculous memories together as I listened to old mixed CDs he gave me with hilariously inappropriate titles, like “Cupcake for Mr. and Mrs. Titface”. Jeff was one of the brightest people I ever knew. I know people say that about people who passed all the time, but Jeff was different. Jeff truly lit up a room with his larger than life personality and presence. He was one of the funniest people I knew. He was greatly loved, and he cared so much for other people.
He personally helped me find myself after I graduated high school. I ended a 4 year relationship, and Jeff was right there with me, filling my days with laughter and uplifting memories. I recall working on a song with my vocal coach at a music college I attended. She taught me to bring more emotion to the song I was singing by telling me to think of the most upbeat, energetic person I knew. It worked like a charm because I knew the perfect person to channel. That person was Jeff.
Now that the initial shock has worn off, I am left to reflect about the events from this past weekend. It was extremely auspicious to me that the mystery song he gave me was solved hours within his passing. I can’t help but feel he made sure to answer the question I had on my IPod for years the night he left us. I found out the song was put at the end of the movie to lift the viewers’ mood after witnessing such a tragic end for Satine. This is why the tempo starts slow and speeds up at the end. I see so many parallels between the lesson from the movie and the lesson of Jeff’s life. I do not believe this was a mere coincidence. He died way too young, and very tragically. To be hit by a car crossing the street is not the way Jeff ever expected to go, I’m sure. I keep coming back to the message in the movie and how it can also relate to Jeff’s life: the greatest thing you will ever learn is to love and be loved in return. Jeff was undoubtedly loved. He was deeply loved and will be missed dearly. I definitely believe he learned how to love and be loved in his short lifetime, more than most. That’s the silver lining in all of this.
I love you, Jeffrey.
Rest in Peace.