The year was 2004 and life couldn’t be better. I had the most wonderful girlfriend, the best family and I had the greatest of friends. Then, on one horrific night I received a call and my perfect world came to a screeching halt.
My best friend, John-John had died. Time stopped, smells had no scent and eyes blurred. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Worst of all, he died on the other side of the country where he had no family or friends. Immediately I rushed over to his parents’ house and I couldn’t believe he was gone.
I drove up to the house and as I got out of my car I saw Richard, my other best friend, walking out of the house. He said something that still resonates so clearly in my head. “He’s gone.” I grabbed him as I couldn’t hold my tears.
People were once again brought together by the one person who always brought us together, but this time the occasion wasn’t auspicious. Our friend had passed away and our lives were completely changed. For a week straight we went to his parents’ house and the topic of conversation never veered from the subject at hand.
“How could this have happened?” “Did he die because of his service in the navy?” There were so many questions going through our minds. Over a hundred people came out to his house during that week. None of which had believed that he was really gone.
The day had finally arrived, the first day of his viewing. I couldn’t bring myself to go view his body. My friends came and I went into the viewing room with them. I walked in and saw the profile of his face and turned right around because I knew it was him. John-John was the most vibrant and lively person you could ever meet. Seeing him so lifeless was a shock of reality to me. Anyone could be taken from this world at anytime.
From this point I swore to never take any of my friends for granted. Before this, I thought friends were forever. How can that be when they can leave this world so abruptly? Why did it have to be John-John? He was the glue that kept us together. He was the one to go to if you had a problem. He was truly the link between friends. Losing him was more than losing one friend. It was like we lost a whole group of friends that he linked us to.
The night before I got a call from him and told him that I didn’t have time to talk because of homework. Was homework more important to me? No, my priorities were in the wrong order. This moment sticks with me so vividly and is my biggest regret. I should always make time for my friends even if I have important things to do, and I will never take them for granted. This, I believe.
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