Grace - Lebanon Junction, Kentucky
Entered on November 20, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

I believe that sometimes good-byes really are forever. I have learned to believe this the hard way. I had a friend named Ryan. Now, Ryan would always make me laugh, no matter what mood I was in. He was there for me through the good and the bad. He taught me some valuable things in life, like how not to be scared of the dark. How to laugh off even the worst situations, how to make a mean mud pie and how to keep my fries down, even after riding a roller coaster 17 times in a row (literally).

He used to call me every few days to make sure I was doing okay, because we didn’t go to the same school. I would tell him all of my problems and he would make me laugh them off and would help me realize that I shouldn’t take some things so seriously. Like one day, I was having a horrible day and he called me and I didn’t feel like talking so I didn’t answer, he left me a voicemail that made my day because he sang “The Striped Sweater” song. I felt bad for not answering so I called him back and told him I was having a bad day and I didn’t want to talk about it, so instead he took me to Baskin Robbins and let me get whatever I wanted. That was the kind of caring person Ryan was, he didn’t care if you were mad, or sad, he always wanted to be around you to try to make you feel better. Which I didn’t realize how much I appreciated.

A few weeks ago, everything changed. Ryan had called me on a Thursday and told me that we HAD to go bowling like old times, so we made the plans, said our good-byes and hung up the phone. I got on the bus to head to school like I always do the following Monday and my friend Whitney seemed upset, I asked her what was wrong and she told me some news that would change my life forever. The previous Saturday night, Ryan was on his way home at around three o’clock in the morning, he was driving too fast and hit a tree, he died instantly. When she told me that he was gone, I couldn’t believe it. I had just talked to him three days earlier. The news didn’t fully register in my brain until later that evening, when his friend Josh called me crying hysterically saying that he couldn’t believe that Ryan was really gone.

Then it hit me, I would never hear his laugh, eat ice cream with him, hear his voice, give him a bear hug, or see his smile ever again. His brother Jeremy still calls me sometimes just to talk about him, but I don’t mind, I like talking about Ryan, it makes me think of how goofy he was. It doesn’t make me sad, or make me mad at God for taking him away, because I know he wouldn’t want me to be upset. He never wanted me to be upset and I appreciated that. I just never told him like I should of.

Losing Ryan was one of the hardest things I have ever had to go through. But I don’t want people to feel sorry for me, because I learned a lot of things from the experience. I learned that I should tell people I should appreciate them, that I love them and that they mean a lot to me. I miss Ryan everyday, but I know he is up there, looking down on me.

Now when I have a bad day I think about him and I instantly smile. A person like him is one in a million. If you ever know someone like that, take some advice from someone who has learned the hard way, when you say good-bye to someone it sometimes is forever but that doesn’t always have to be a bad thing. Take the things you learned from that person and live by it.