Five years later: a letter to my best friend

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Dear Kelsey,

Today I am hurting. Today I am tired. Today my heart wrenches. Today I am weak and lost.
You'd think after five years I'd be used to this feeling of missing you, knowing that it'll probably be a long time before we see each other again. I can't stop replaying all the memories. The birthdays, the sleepovers, homecoming, your brothers' games, days at school. I can't put into words what those memories mean to me. I thank God everyday for the years I had with you, my best friend. I thank Him for the pictures I took, the days we spent together all those summers.
Unfortunately, I also remember that day at school. The day when at the beginning of 7th period during the last class all the teachers in the school stood before their classes, teary-eyed, and told us all that you had passed away peacefully in your sleep. I remember dropping what was in my hands and running to nowhere in particular. I remember screaming and crying and falling. The weeks after that are a blur of wakes, a funeral, a burial. Roses, poems, songs. Nothing but pain to connect the days. I remember standing before the crowd of hundreds at your funeral, reading that poem line by line, clutching Kara's hand for dear life, praying my voice held up.
I regret the last few months of your life. I'd been spending more time with other friends than you. It's hard to admit, but I had been avoiding you. Things were weird, you were struggling so I avoided you like a coward. I had no idea what was coming and how much I would regret that.
I remember month's later when a family friend told me they had determined the disease, Addison's Disease, the silent killer that took my best friend. Nothing compares to finding out that people live with Addison's everyday, but they need medication to regulate them. Nothing compares to realizing the doctors had failed you after months of being ill. Nothing.
I thought I had let you go, but I can't. I don't want to. I don't want to let you go. I can't remember what your voice sounded like or your laugh or the way you would tease me for being so much shorter than you.
My thoughts are completely incoherent today, so forgive me. But I just miss you. No one should lose their best friends so unexpectedly at the ripe old age of 16. I needed you and I still do. I feel abandoned and lonely. There will never be a best friend like you to take your place.
Your family aches without you. Your sister is so great and is following in my footsteps to my school and majoring in journalism, just like me. She is the greatest and will be by my side on my wedding day, but it should be you. It should be you agonizing over the little wedding details with me, planning showers, picking colors.
I would be lying if I said I didn't think about you everyday. Time has healed, but not fully, never fully.
I miss you, I love you, I need you. And today I'll celebrate your life, and I will again in seven days on your 21st birthday. I love you, Kels.
P.s. I know it's no coincidence that Seasons of Love came on my iTunes shuffle as I finished writing this. Even though you're very far away now, you still know how to pull my heart strings.

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6 comments:

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    1. Thank you so much. I really appreciate it.

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  2. ::hugs:: i'm so sorry dear. Death is never something that any of us want to experience, but it is a part of life...and it never seems fair. Keep her memory alive by loving who she was and the beautify she brought into your life. I think days like today where you write it out and actually connect with the memories and the pain and the struggle bring the most healing. <3

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    1. Thanks, Amy. It's a really hard day, but you're right it is a part of life. Thank you for your sweet advice.

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  3. Wow Genna, I can't imagine the feelings you have then & now but it's clear you were a great friend to her & she's still hanging out with you in spirit. What a wonderful guardian angel to have.
    Thinking of you.

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    1. That means a lot. Thank you so much! She's always with me, for sure.

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