Thursday, July 9, 2009

5 years

5 years ago today, I lost one of my closest friends to his own stupidity. It was the summer after grade 11. He had turned 17 a few months earlier. It was a Friday night, in the summer, and we were having a party, at a friend's place in the middle of nowhere. It wasn't legal, but there was alcohol.

He tried to walk to his car. He'd been drinking. He'd done that before, and people knew it. We tried to take his keys away, telling him he wasn't safe to drive. He promised he was only going to the car to get something. He laughed at our concern, hugged a couple people. Me included. We trusted him. We heard the engine start and tires squeal and it was too late to stop him.

That was the last time I saw him alive. Suffice it to say there was a bad one car accident, that put him into a coma that he never came out of. His mother had to make the call to take him off life support. I can't describe the hell of those next few days. It takes more space, more words, and more tolerance than I've got.

I still have the dress I wore to his funeral. I've never worn it again, but I can't let it go. I'll never forget the picture that sat on top of his closed casket. I still remember how his mom looked, and what she said to me in the receiving line.

I remember sitting downstairs in the church with his big brother, who was one of his best buddies and ours too, and sobbing. We spent a lot of time doing that, in and out of the church, in the days that followed. We talked, we cried, we screamed and we sobbed. Anger mixed with grief and it tore our hearts to shreds.

I'm still angry as hell. We've all tried our best to forgive him but it still hurts. On the other hand, I still miss him just as much as that first day without him, and that hurts too. Someone who's been there for 17 years, gone in an instant, and for no good never goes away.

It was 5 years ago, and it was yesterday. You'd be 22, but you'll always be 17. I still love you. I still miss you. I always will.


If you've been drinking, and you even consider operating a vehicle bigger than a golf cart, remember this. If me telling this story saves one accident, as much as it hurts to talk about the reason he's gone, its worth it.

Five Star Friday


Loralee Choate said...

I'm so sorry for your loss.

People you love dying is hard enough when no one is to blame.

One of the best friends I've ever had died when he was barely 21. It wasn't his fault...he just didn't get a heart and lung transplant in time.

It's been 15 years and I miss him and think about him all the time.

Thank you for sharing this.

bethany actually said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. Thanks for writing this!

Marla said...

This is a great post. I'm sorry about your loss. I can only imagine how hard it is to lose someone so unexpectedly.

Schmutzie said...

You are being featured on Five Star Friday —

The Grown Up Teenager said...

@ Loralee - Thanks. I've all but resigned myself to the fact that missing him won't go away. The hurt comes and goes, but the missing him never will. I'm sorry to hear about your friend.

@ bethanyactually - Thanks

@ Marla - Yeah, these kind of posts suck to write. They suck to think about. But if it touches someone and they make a different choice than he did, even if I never know about it, its worth every word.

@ schmutzie - Thanks! That's kinda cool.

Chibi said...

Loss is hard, no matter what. But it's so unbelievably hard when it's preventable.

This post hits close to home for me, as we almost lost my brother the same way six years ago when he was 18.