About a month ago, I lost a friend, a friend that I had gotten to know pretty well over the summer. He was the kind of person that I thought to myself in the first few weeks of knowing him, "He is so kind to everyone even when you can tell he's having a rough day. And his spirit, his spirit is full of life and happiness. I want to surround myself with people like that. I want to have that spirit." My friend made an impact on me before I got to even to call him a friend.
I went back to school in the fall and then life got in the way.
I didn't see my friend. I got endless facebook messages about coming and visiting and taking the boat out but I just didn't and couldn't leave. With coaching and practice and school, it was nearly impossible. But that's what gets me... nearly.
I always said to myself, winter break I'll have so much time. I'll go then. I'll see everyone then.
Then finals week, I got a phone call from my best friend. I sat on my floor and stared at my bed. I don't remember if I even cried on the phone, but when I got off, I bawled. Not because I was sad.. I didn't even realized what actually happened, but because I was so angry at myself. So many chances to see my friend and I kept putting it off.
I'd be lying if I didn't say I wasn't still a little mad at myself. I'd be lying if I didn't say that I try to pretend it's not real so I don't have to feel the guilt. I'd be lying if I didn't say I regret not being there.
When I went back to the funeral in December, I debated turning around the entire drive because I felt like I didn't belong there. I felt like I didn't deserve to show up after I sucked at being a friend for 4 months. I was so mad at myself for being an awful friend and I was so mad at myself for wanting to turn around and not go because I felt guilty. I was feeling sorry for myself and that in return, made me mad at myself.
It wasn't until I got there that I realized he was actually gone. I wasn't mad anymore. I was upset. I was so upset that I could have seen him and I didn't. I was upset that I lost a friend and I had to act like it was fine. I was upset to have to meet the new friends of my and his friends while mourning the lost of our friend. I was upset that it was real, because it was actually real.
As time went through the weekend, I know deep down that if my friend was here he would sit down with me and say "Shelley I understand you're sad and I understand you're mad, but know that I am not upset with you. You are doing big things with your life. Now shut up and go grab a Busch light."
And I guess I can take comfort in that, because in the end, all that matters is that he wouldn't hold it against me, therefore I shouldn't.
But most importantly I can take comfort in the fact that my friend taught me a few things without trying to.
He taught me that life is about living and enjoying every day.
He taught me kindness isn't a gesture, it's who you are.
And most importantly, he taught me life is way too short and to never take a single thing for granted.
thank you for being my friend, even if it was shorter than I would have liked. And I'll tell you what, while I sit here and drink this Busch light, I promise you I will live by those things you taught me.