December ’99 was the worst December I’ve ever had. It all started on December 14th when I got a call from two of my good friends Autumn* and Michael*. Autumn sounded like she had been crying, and I didn’t know what was wrong so I asked. Now I wish I had never asked, and had never answered the phone because what came next I wasn’t ready for. Michael began to tell the story, and when I finally realized what he was saying, I threw the phone.
This wasn’t supposed to happen to me or to her. My best friend Sabrina was dead. She died in the hospital waiting for a lung transplant. I cried uncontrollably for hours, sitting there with Autumn and Michael on the phone not saying one word. They knew if they said one word I would go off saying things that I would regret saying later.
I had school the next day but I couldn’t face all the faces staring at me, wondering why I was crying. Every little thing made me cry. So I stayed home the next day. For the next week it was hell.
Everything I did reminded me of Sabrina. I don’t know why I tortured myself that way but I did. Offspring’s “Pretty Fly for a White Guy” would come on the radio, and I would remember being down in our friend Sara’s* basement playing pool and listening to that song. I would break down and cry.
Sabrina’s funeral service was the 18th, and that’s when the biggest decision of my life came up. I had the choice to go or not to go to the funeral. I now know that the choice I made was a mistake. I decided not to pay my respects and go to the funeral. My excuse at the time was that I didn’t want that to be my last memory of her. I wanted my last memory of her to be up and alive. So needless to say I didn’t go.
The day after I felt horrible, thinking why didn’t I go? For a long time I went through what everyone else calls “the steps.” I just call it my own personal hell. I started punishing myself, thinking back to the last time I spoke to her; I called her and she said she would call me back. I got on the Internet knowing that she was going to call me back, thinking I could talk to her tomorrow.
I never did talk to her the next day or the day after that until one day the days just ran out. I no longer had that chance to call her back to just say hey. I kept thinking about how jealous I was of her when she liked the same guy I liked. I kept thinking about how I hated her for liking the same guy I did. I felt guilty about all of it.
I used to think that you never got over someone’s death. Now I know that you don’t, but over time you heal, and you move on.
I’ve moved on but I still have my moments. The other day I was going through the memory on my cordless phone and I came across her number. I started to cry. Last Saturday I went to her grave. I dropped to my knees and swept the ants off her gravestone. Then I began to cry, getting more and more angry at the ants for crawling on her gravestone.
My memories of Sabrina have begun to fade, but I know they will never go away. I wish people didn’t have to die so young. She was only 15. Life teaches us many lessons and this is just one of many. Never take anything for granted. You may not always have tomorrow to call your friend back.
*Names have been changed