An Open Letter to a Lost Friend
BY SAVANNA PATINO
An Open Letter to a Lost Friend
I decided to write this because now it has been one year without you in my life. Here’s what you missed:
I still remember the moment I heard. I received a text saying you were in the hospital. My heart stopped. I felt sick for a completely different reason than why I had stayed home from school that day. After that moment, my life stood still and became a blur at the same time. The next few days were filled with hospital visits, memorials, prayers, crying, confusion, shock, and disbelief. School became less important and friendships took over. Everyone I knew put their lives on hold and banded together for comfort. You were in the hospital for two days and I still did not believe it. I did not understand how something like this could happen to us. We continued to say you would pull through and be okay, even though we did not quite believe it. And on that Monday, I could not accept the fact that you were gone. You weren’t gone, you couldn’t be gone. Nothing seemed right. My body had put my prior sickness on hold, but it came back stronger than before. I had to push myself to continue life without you.
I was furious. I was absolutely trembling with fury that this had to happen at this moment. Why did you have to leave like this? Why did you hurt us like this? I was mad at you for hurting everyone I cared about. I was mad at my family for trying to comfort me. I was mad at my friends for being mad at you, and I was mad at myself for being mad at you too. And, I was infuriated at everyone else. I was constantly told that everything would be okay. How could everything be okay when you were not here with us any longer? How can you expect me to continue on with my life when a piece of it has been ripped away from me? How could my teachers ask me to keep my grades up? How could other students continue on planning for their futures when you couldn’t? And how the hell was I going to be okay? I was not okay. I would never be okay. I refused to be okay.
Days and weeks passed, and all I wanted was more time with you. I wished I had gone on that late night pizza run when you invited me that one time but I was too tired to go. I wished I had hugged you at that last practice we had together. I wished I had said I love you the last time I saw you. I wished you were still here with me. If only I had seen your hurting, if only I had seen your pain, maybe you would still be here. Maybe you wouldn’t be gone. I spoke at your memorial, and I recounted the good times and the bad. I spoke about our trip to Seaworld, the sleepovers, your love of One Direction, and the songs we used to sing. I told mostly about the song we sang with the orchestra at the homecoming pep rally our sophomore year, “For Good” from the famous musical Wicked. I talked about how this song truly resembles my feelings for you and that “because I knew you, I have been changed for good.”
After eleven years of having you in my life, my daily routine was tainted without you. When we used to carpool to school, we walked together into the school daily; now I am forced to walk that same way alone. When we had practices, your optimism and enthusiasm lightened up everyone’s mood; now it all seems dull. When we would walk by eachother, you would smile and hug me; now all the hugs I get are meant to comfort me from losing you. I felt lost and extremely alone. But I finished my Junior year of high school, took my AP Exams, ran for leadership for the new year (I got colorguard captain, like you always said I would), toured colleges, took summer school, got ready for the new year, and continued missing you. All the while, I felt empty. I plastered a smile on my face for months and attempted to live my life as close to before as possible. But I was tired. I lost the desire to work as hard in school and in the extra-curricular activities I was in. Without you, everything seemed bleak and pointless.
This last year has been the hardest year of my life. I took my hardest classes, applied for colleges (been accepted and rejected), took on more leadership positions, filled my schedule to the brim, and had to do all of this without you. Now it has been a year, and I am still not okay. I don’t think I will ever be okay, but I think that is okay. My life will never be the same, and while I wish I had more time with you, I am grateful for the time I did have. I am truly honored to be able to say you were my best friend for eleven years- eleven whole years filled with laughter, joy, and love. I hate that it had to end, but I understand that we can do nothing but move on. I will continue missing you for the rest of my life. And, I will live my life continuing to keep you in my heart. I want to make you proud, because knowing you really has made me into the person I am. And of course, because I knew you, I really, really have been changed for good.