Two years ago, I lost my close friend to a brain aneurysm. I can still hear the shakiness in my mother’s voice when she broke the news to me and the pain that followed when processing this information. I remember the phone calls to my friends and a million thoughts racing through my head. It didn’t seem possible that we were hanging out the night before and the next day she was gone. One day she was alive and well and the next day she wasn’t.
The last time I saw her was at an unlikely hangout with our friend group the night before her death. I tagged along with a friend to go to a small get-together filled with Cards Against Humanity and lots of snacks. The night ended and I left with a sense of excitement for senior year, but sadness to be leaving my friends for college so soon.
Experiencing loss has made me reflect on the way that I treat other people. This was by far the hardest lesson I have experienced. Now I prioritize my relationships with my family and friends over anything else. I never skip out on family reunions and in the summer, I call out of work when I find that I really need to catch up with friends. I learned to be mindful of what I say to others because there is no way of knowing if those are going to be the last words you speak to someone. Hug your friends and check up on them often. Call your mom and text your sister. And don’t lose touch with your old friends. My friend was a healthy seventeen year-old and she didn’t know her life was going to end so soon.
The lesson that I learned was to never take life for granted. It turns out that I don’t really know how much time I have and I need to make the most out of life. The best things in life aren’t “things,” as redundant as it may sound.