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Growing up, I never had much experience with death. I didn’t know anyone who passed away other than older relatives. Since I didn’t really have to grieve anyone’s passing, I never truly learned how to. Then, one day it happened and I couldn’t avoid it anymore. 

The summer between my junior and senior year of high school I woke up to the news that one of my friends had passed away the night before. I immediately became numb, unable to even fathom the thought of her being gone. We weren’t best friends, but she was a close friend, and the thing that killed me was that she was 17 years old. 

I was so angry that a beautiful young soul was taken from this world. I didn’t want to accept that someone like that was gone. She had the brightest and most beautiful soul of anyone I had ever met. She was so kind to everyone and never said a bad word about anyone. She talked to anyone and was always there for you when you needed her. 

The weeks following her passing were hard, between going to the funeral and thinking about everything she couldn’t do now that she was gone. School was never going to be the same now that she was gone because it felt like the world had taken away this light. She was such a bright and shining light, and without her school and the world were going to be so much darker.

I stayed numb for a very long time because I couldn’t let myself feel. I didn’t know how to grieve and I didn’t know how to feel or process how I felt. I experienced every emotion, ranging from anger and frustration to sadness and regret. I wanted to figure out a way to bring her back but that was unrealistic. 

I didn’t really talk to anyone about it and how I felt because I didn’t feel like I could express myself in a way that people would understand. 

After the numbness wore off and I truly began to feel, I had very little support because I still didn’t talk to anyone about it. It was hard to feel and grieve not knowing if how I felt was “right” and not being able to talk it out. 

It was after this when I truly began to figure it out myself. I tried to start the grieving process unsure of how to even begin. I gained a lot of solace in the idea that the universe had a plan. I was never a religious person, so I started believing in the universe and fate. I told myself that the universe has a plan for all of us and even if we are unsure why some things happen, they all happen for a greater reason and purpose.

When my friend was alive she touched so many lives and was a light for almost anyone who met her. Although I was angry the universe was taking that away, I was able to understand that she was meant to help people but she did everything she was meant to do on earth. The universe had a greater purpose for her somewhere else, even if that meant she had to leave. 

She still comes to me sometimes. Ever since she passed, she started coming to me and giving me signs to let me know that she is still here with me. I believe she is looking out for me and keeping me safe. Every time she sends me signs, I feel her here and am glad she can continue to protect the people she cares about even if she’s not still physically with us. 

Her death taught me a lot about myself and how important it is to fill your life with good people. We only have such a short time in this world and we don’t know when our time will be up, which is why it is so important to live every day to the fullest and live the life you want to live. After she passed, I realized that I don’t want to have any more regrets in life. I didn’t want to regret not doing something, not being who I wanted to be, or not living the life I wanted to live. 

Nothing I can do will bring her back, but I can take solace in the idea that this was the universe’s plan and I was meant to be in her life for the 3 years I was. I choose to live my life everyday knowing there is no guarantee and knowing that I am living it for the both of us.

Julianne is a Junior at Adelphi University. She is a mathematics major and in the STEP education program. She is apart of the Her Campus, GSA, and Future Teacher's Association clubs at her university. She likes to write, bake, and travel.
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