This I Believe

Alicia - Williamsburg, Virginia
Entered on April 11, 2007

When Friends become Family

I never realized how important friends were in life until Christmas of 2002. I was a sophomore in high school when my life changed forever. It was in that instant that I realized that life is not promised to me or to anyone; it can end at any given moment. I was in a car accident where I had lost two of my friends, and I was hurt severely. My right femur was shattered and was spreading throughout my leg threatening to hit my femoral artery. When I woke up in the hospital I was surrounded by my family, but my friends kept sneaking back into the room to say hi before I went into surgery. They would take turns sneaking past the nurses station and running into my room, closing the door quickly as if they really believed they had made it past without anyone seeing them. I was very out of it and wasn’t even sure why they were there, I thought I was fine. It didn’t even cross my mind that I was in serious danger of dying and had to have surgery. It was on that night, December 22, 2002, when I learned the value of friendship.

I was left unable to walk for four months; and during that time I learned who my real friends were. Through that experience is how I learned to appreciate and realize why friendships were so important. Every day different groups of my friends piled into my house after school and kept me company. At first they would just come in and sit uncomfortably not knowing what to say to me or how to deal with the situation, but they eventually were able to cope with that. They would crowd around me as best as they could and give me the latest news on the outside world. There was not one day that they didn’t come to see me. They sat with me when I was frustrated, when I was happy and even when I was sleeping. It was almost as if they felt if they weren’t there to be with me that they thought I would perish.

I also discovered who my “fair weather friends” were¬¬– the people who always convinced me that they would be there for me no matter what and failed to show when I was in a real time of need. We all have those friends, the ones who are only your friend when it’s convenient for them; they use you for whatever gain it might be that they can receive from you and then say the hell with you. These “friends” were often too busy with their partners, going to parties, having fun, and living life. They didn’t have time to sit in a house and try and be a friend to a person who had lost two friends and couldn’t walk.

After my parents divorce, I was left with little family to count on in times of need. It seemed as I grew older, my family disintegrated. Through this experience my friends were the ones who were there for me as well as my mother. My father came to visit me twice throughout the whole ordeal; once at the hospital, and once at home. My friends were there every single day; they left their homes immediately when they heard what happened and rushed to the hospital where they sat for over 10 hours while I was in surgery.

I believe that it is impossible to go through life without friends. You will never be happy unless you learn to develop close relationships with other people. Love is never guaranteed forever but friendships that are meaningful are. Friends in a way fulfill your life and bring you happiness. Serendipitously, I had to learn this lesson through a horrible ordeal. I learned what love and compassion and a family is that year. You don’t have to share the same bloodline to be family; you just have to love one another.