My amazing, wonderful, gifted, beautiful, and only sister Julianne recently passed away in her sleep. She was my favorite sibling (sorry bros), my guiding light, my moral compass, and my tether to reality.
We vibed on the same wavelength immediately from the first day I held her in the hospital. The bond was instant and permanent throughout everything life tossed at us.
I have no clue how I'll possibly go on without her.
She was my constant travel buddy (we decided when we each got our own travel shows, mine would be called ‘Going Nowhere with Goob' and hers would be ‘Jaunting Everywhere with Juls'), my comedy partner, and my absolute biggest encourager who believed in me like no-one else.
When I got cancer, she was the person who salvaged my spirits. I'm only here today because of her. When she fell on hard times, I picked her up and did my best to remind her of all the beauty in the world.
There's not a single area of my life that she didn't directly impact for the better – from my daily breakfast, to the silly little sayings I'm always muttering, all the way up to my life's grandest hopes and dreams. I'd give a million dollars to anybody who could find a single area in my life without her fingerprints all over it.
She was my best friend for over two decades and I count my blessings for every single second we had together.
There's an old adage not to say something online that you wouldn't want printed on the front page of your local newspaper. That aphorism never worked for me, but what did was thinking about how I'd explain myself to Juls. I never wanted to disappoint or let her down; in any way, shape, or form.
I hope I never did.
Some of you may remember Juls from 14 years ago when we first made our custom cow costumes for the annual Chick-fil-A promo.
That was my Juls. She was always down for spending quality time together doing any and everything – even when it was just making a goofy costume for a few hours & dressing up like a cow for a free meal that she couldn't even eat since she was vegetarian.
Juls was an amazing drawer and painter. She had the voice of an angel and a heart made of gold. She also had the most unhinged sense of humor that could ALWAYS make me belly laugh like no other. Her sense of humor was only topped by her actual laugh. I miss it already, but can thankfully still hear it so strongly in my head. I once spent 8 hours on a single 10 second prank just to make her laugh and it was worth every second.
She was the most empathetic and kind person I've ever met. She had a passion for animals and the environment too – her vegetarianism eventually evolved into veganism and despite my many years of joking mockery, I could never deny that she was easily the best cook & baker I knew. You should have seen the MASSIVE smile on her face when she revealed that the chocolate chip cookies I proclaimed to be the best I'd ever eaten had just been baked with all vegan ingredients.
She was so excited for me to meet the two cats (Mac and Cheez) she rescued during the pandemic. I hate that I'm meeting them under these terrible circumstances, but they are the nicest, sweetest, chillest cats I've ever met.
She did an amazing job raising them, just like she was amazing at everything else she did in life.
Juls went through college with a research career in mind and then spent a single semester working in an economically disadvantaged public school and immediately pivoted her life's goals. She adored “her kids” and was so excited to begin her career as a 3rd grade elementary school teacher this month.
That was the type of woman Juls had grown to be and I was so damn proud of her.
In lieu of flowers, my family set up a GoFundMe where a large portion will go towards providing much needed in-school and after-school support to her kids. The rest will go towards her local animal shelter where she volunteered and rescued her beloved cats.
I don't want to impose, but if any Hiffers are in a position to donate, my family and I would greatly appreciate it. Every penny raised will go towards making the world a better place, just like Juls would have wanted.
Here are a few of my many, many favorite photos of me and Juls.
I love and miss you so very much, Juls. ❤️