It’s that time of the year again. The school year is coming to an end. While most students are counting the days until the last day of class, something else is on my mind. Regret.
During my senior year in high school, a good friend of mine died of a brain tumor. The anniversary of her death is near.
She did not make it to prom. She did not have the privilege to walk with the rest of her class. She spent her last days in a bed, with her parents and older sister at her side.
I had not visited her since we had moved away. My family moved from La Puente years before she would complain of the constant headaches. I left La Puente without saying goodbye to her because of a slight quarrel. After moving away, neither of us made an attempt at communicating.
It was a surprise for me to hear that her grandmother had called that day.
My family had not spoken to her family in years. They sat me down and said that she had been sick for months and she had passed peacefully.
I could not bring myself to go to the wake or the cemetery and give my condolences to the family. I blamed it on my busy school schedule for not being able to say goodbye. Call me a coward but I could not do it. I did not want to believe that she was gone.
How do you say goodbye to a friend that you have known all of your life?
I wasn’t able to answer that question. I still can’t answer that question.
I felt guilty for continuing as if nothing had happened after she died. I got to move on to college while she did not even get to finish high school.
She was my first real friend. I still can’t bare to say her name or pass the street where we would race home everyday after school. Even when visiting my old neighborhood, no attempts have been made to see her house where her family still lives.
I can’t see her pictures, especially the one of she and her sister dressed in white for their first communion, the first picture that I received from her and one of the only pictures that I have of her.
We met on the first day of kindergarten. My family says that I went up to her and asked her if she wanted to play with me. I don’t remember what happened. There were many times when we would come to each other’s houses and play.
Our families were always close. I remember being able to tell her anything. She was the only friend that I have been able to do that with. I miss being able to talk to her.
When a loved one dies, a part of you dies too. It sounds cliché but it is true, at least for me. Something changes, if not permanently then for a short while. The change is not always a big change; it can be anything. If something doesn’t change, then maybe you didn’t love that person enough. Don’t fret, though; something always does.
This is my sad attempt at saying goodbye. I am sorry for not saying goodbye when I moved away. I am sorry for not attending your funeral, because I didn’t want to accept that you were gone. You were the one that I came to for advice or for just a chat. You were the constant in my life for so long.
I promise to visit you one day. Know that I will never forget the times we shared. Goodbye friend.
Andres Rivera, a sophomore journalism major, is Web editor of the Campus Times. He can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com.