I believe that life is too short to let people I love drift away from me. In my few short years of living I have come to realize how short life is, and how sudden and unexpected death can be. I’ve realized that everything is just too unpredictable to allow the people I care about to drift away. And I remember when I first discovered this.
Several years ago, a letter from my good friend, Maddie, arrived in my mailbox. I had grown up with Maddie in the perpetually sunny hills of Southern California; she had been one of my best friends when I was younger, but the distance that separated us physically also separated us emotionally. But little did I know, the letter wasn’t from Maddie, it was from her father. He said that Maddie, her mom, and her sister had all died in a fatal car crash; an enraged drunken driver had smashed into their car as they were coming home from a basketball game.
I can remember the initial numbness, the not being able to understand that I would never see my friend again. It was like I was looking at the pain and the emotion through a box made of fogged glass- I knew it was there, I knew it was coming, but I just couldn’t feel it. The pain, as I learned, would come hours later, when I allowed that wall of numbness built up to protect me come down. The wall broke, and the pain flooded my heart, and soul, and mind. My heart felt like it had shattered into a million pieces, shards too sharp and too numerous for my heart to ever be mended.
I would never see her again.
This realization hit me like a ton of bricks. Despite the friendship that had bonded our lives together, we had let the years and the distance separate us, so much that I could hardly say I knew her anymore. I had drifted, carried away by the currents of life. I had drifted, and every fiber, every part of my being wishes that I hadn’t. I wish that I had maintained contact with her better; I wish that I could get to know her again as we did those seven years ago. But all the wishful thinking in the world isn’t going to change the fact that I’ll never get the chance to reignite the flame of our friendship.
This life is short, death steals away the young and innocent when it shouldn’t be their time. But I believe that death isn’t the real tragedy. The real tragedy is letting the people whom I love fall away. So I live, love, and try to never let myself drift away from my family and friends. So I live, and so I believe.
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