They are no longer just days to me. They mean so much more. I can sense them coming. I start to become restless and more emotive than usual.
I try to fall asleep on the eve of the her birthday and the anniversary of her death and find myself tossing and turning trying to remember what it felt like when she was alive. I try to remember what it felt like to talk to her and what it would feel like to talk to her now. I try to remember her voice. I can’t.
I finally drift off to sleep only to dream of her and the day that it happened.
I wake up the next morning with a heavy heart and recall the date.
Another year has passed since the accident that claimed my best friend at such a young age. But it will never be just a day. And September and October will never be just months. They are months filled with memories of a person that no longer exists.
She would be 24 years old today.
24 years old. Who would she be? Where would she be? Would she have accomplished her dreams? Would she have gone to Taylor like we planned and then become a physical therapist? Would we live near each other? Would she send me emojis in her texts?
I’ll never know.
So much has happened in the time that has passed since she left the world. But these days always come back. They serve as a reminder to me of what I lost and what I gained on the day she left.
I was a different person before I experienced death…before I gained the ability to see thestrals.
I took love for granted. I felt invincible and my biggest worry was whether or not I would make varsity in basketball. I thought life was easier than everyone made it out to be. I thought I would make it out unscathed.
But none of us make it through life unscathed, really.
We are all affected by an event, a relationship, or a memory at some point in our lives.
Some of us experience it early on like I did.
Others wait until later in life — but none of us make it out of life untouched.
Honestly, a small part of me feels lucky. I feel fortunate in a way to have experienced something that taught me so many things about life at an early age.
A naïve part of me believes that experiencing a misfortune early on will better prepare me for the rest of life and all of the hardships that sometimes go along with life.
Yet here I am, eight years later, praying to anyone that will listen that I never have to experience that again.
It will never just be another day. It will always be the day that reminds me that she should be a year older. It will always be a day that reminds me that she went away and never came back.
I’ll always be reminded that someone can leave my world in the blink of an eye and be gone forever.
But I’ll also be reminded of Emily’s love…of her life…of her smile. I’ll be reminded that I made it through. I’ll be reminded of the meaning of true friendship. And I’ll be reminded, briefly, of her laugh.
And in that brief moment, she is here with me again.
“You can love someone so much…but you can never love people as much as you can miss them.”
— John Green