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Never Got to Say Goodbye
Writer, Age 16

I was in fifth grade. I was a short, pudgy little girl who didn't have many friends. I was struggling with my schoolwork and often felt like no one cared. All of this changed when I met Louise*.

My mom worked at the church my family attended, and I spent a lot of time there. Louise was the secretary, and I never had really paid much attention to her. I'd see her walk down the hallway and I'd smile or wave, but that was all.

One day after school, I was at the church with my mom while she was finishing up some work. I was upset about the spelling test I was going to have the next day. Mom didn't have the time to study with me, so she sent me to Louise for help. She quizzed me and taught me how to sound out words and remember them by little clues. She made it fun. When we were done, I stayed in there and talked to her for a long time. We just talked about little girl things. She made me feel special, like what I had to say was important. After that night, I went and talked to Louise every time I was at the church. She became my best friend.

One night we got a phone call from the pastor. Louise was very sick and had been taken to the hospital. She was there for a few days before I got there to visit her. We walked in the door and there were people from our church everywhere. They had been there to see Louise. They had prayed for her, talked to her, and hugged her. My mom went to the pastor and asked him if he thought it would be okay for me to go in to see Louise. He said it wasn't a good idea. He thought it might disturb me.

I was so upset. I wanted to see my Louise. I NEEDED to see her. My mom made me stay in the lobby while she went in to see her. I sat there crying. Mom says she told her that I was there and that I wanted to see her, and that Louise smiled, but the nurses said that it was just part of being in a coma. I still don't believe them. That night we got a phone call. Louise was gone, and I never got to say goodbye. I sat in my daddy's lap and cried. Nothing could make the hurt stop.

I didn't go to Louise's funeral. I couldn't do it. I couldn't see her lying there. That wasn't my Louise—only her body. I miss Louise so much, and I regret not getting to say goodbye. I just hope that she knows I tried and that I wanted to see her, and I hope she's proud of me...

I'm a good speller now.

*Name has been changed

Last Modified Date: 3/28/2001