Two weeks after saying goodbye to the inspirational women on our retreat, we were struck with tragedy. Talei Jones, my bunkmate and fellow adventurer, had been killed in a horrific car accident in Jamaica.
We were all stunned by the abrupt end to her beautiful, compassionate, and young life. I think it impacted each of us deeply. When you spend that much time with such a small group of women, you can’t help but leave tightly bonded to each other. Having her taken from this world was like fraying the ends of our collective fabric. We would never be complete without her, though we would always carry her memory in our spirits. She was a part of us.
Throughout our communications and e-mails back and forth, the group shared some wonderful words about our departed friend. It was unanimous that we all felt blessed to have gotten to know such a special person. Even though our time was brief, we loved this woman. Below are some of the thoughts from her fellow travelers in her memory.
“Talei Jones was a symbol of the vivacity of life, such a colorful person, and funny as all hell. I feel fortunate and am grateful to have spent time with her at El Coco Loco this July.” -Andrea P.
“All I can think about is how lucky I am to have met her, even for just a week. Talei was the smoothest, the coolest, the gnarliest, the sweetest, the funniest (and the most FUN) Chica…and she had such a strong POSITIVE presence and an amazing hunger for life…she will be sorely missed.” -Jennifer R.
“Talei was such a beautiful human being and I don’t understand why she died in such an accident. I didn’t know her well but in the time we all shared together I felt bonded to her.” -Suzanne S.
“Talei embodied ‘life’ more than most people ever would.” -Kristi S.
“The world is truly at a loss without Talei in it. It’s a loss to those who never even met her.” -Emily R.
“Talei really embodied that mentality (of living everyday like your last)… She embraced life and lived it with a smile and a laugh. We can all be inspired by her example.” -Holly Beck
“Talei was one of the most interesting people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. She was touched with a hint of uncommon maturity, interspersed with sprinkles of ageless humor, and utterly ensconced in noble grace. All of us at Suave Dulce shared a charmed bond, forged with our mutual allegiance to loving life. And now, it will remain unbroken, in perpetuum, with our collective memories of Talei (and of one another), in death and transfiguration.” -Joice C.
Talei, I wish you great happiness, peace, and an endless summer. You have bestowed upon your seven fellow travelers some of the brightest blessings one could ask for: inspiration, spirit for adventure, friendship, and love.
We will catch waves again together someday. And until then, I will think of you every time I step into the ocean. May you rest in peace.