What It's Like Losing a Close Friend
One college freshman looks back.
I met Stephany through a friend in middle school, but our relationship really blossomed in high school. Freshman year geography class, she sat one seat behind me. We shared a common obsession with Adventure Time and were both in a student technology club, which turned into something of a family the four years we were in high school. Then we parted ways for college.
I can remember the last thing we talked about. She was stressing over a chemistry test. I wished her luck, but I knew she'd do well. Stephany had always been exquisite in school; what she lacked in height, she made up for in genius.
It was a Wednesday when I found out that Stephany was hospitalized. I had just gotten back to my room after frantically searching for the meeting place of a club I had just joined. Out of breath and slightly irritated, I noticed my phone had lit up. It was a group message with my friends. I casually replied, hoping to hear something funny to brighten up my night. The texts that followed were a nightmare.
My room felt small, like the walls were closing in on me. I could feel my knees giving out from under me as I slid to the floor. Tears rolled down my cheeks. I hadn't cried like that in a very long time. There was some mystery behind the accident that landed Stephany in the hospital, but I knew that her car had flipped and that it was serious. All I could imagine was her body on a hospital bed. The doctors weren't sure if she would make it through the night. I knew whether she survived or not, she wouldn't be the same Stephany I had once known. I’d still love her either way.
Because I was so far away from my home in Atlanta, my parents were concerned about my well-being. They recommended that I go see a grief counselor the next day. It was the best decision I made during this whole thing.
I walked like a zombie across campus that next day to get to the counseling center. I had received a text that morning that said Stephany had made it through the night and that her condition was looking up. After finally getting a chance to talk with the counselor, I felt guilty about not being able to tell Stephany that I loved her one last time. I felt like I had taken her for granted. I'd assumed she'd always be there, because she was always there. The counselor helped me reach a better place in my grieving process. I was coming to terms with what was going on and I knew I had to let the guilt go.
I took a short cut through campus because I wanted to get back to my dorm as soon as possible. But the second I had pushed open the doors, my phone vibrated. It was a text that simply said Stephany had passed away.
Losing Stephany was a surreal experience. In fact, it's still very surreal. It taught me to never take people in my life for granted. I was able to fly home that weekend to attend her funeral. There were people in attendance that I hadn't seen in years. The irony about death is that such a sad moment really does bring people together. It's tragic that Stephany's life ended so abruptly, but as her senior quote stated, “Life is short and so am I."
By Lauren A. Williams, 21