You won’t read this now, but I hope in some way you knew.
Do you remember when we met? In design class one Tuesday morning? I remember it was the summer semester because we were wearing our summer dresses, but the class was early so we still wore our pullovers in the morning.
I thought you were the new girl, but soon found out you had been away because you were sick. You told me so without hesitation.
“I have cancer” you said to me. And then proceeded to show off the wig you were wearing. You giggled as you told me how soft your new hair was growing beneath your faux fringe and joked that you “had tattoos” because of the small pockmarks the doctors had imprinted onto your chest.
Months later I found out you were going to the same music festival I was. We made plans to catch up near stage 2, just after Taking back Sunday finished playing. I saw you run across the lawn with your friends and you hugged me to say hello. We took a photo, shared some festival stories, and then you ran to the next stage.
I still have that photo. I remember thinking my hair looked awful.
I didn’t see you after high school, but in design class we had become friends on Facebook, so I was thankful for that.
Once we graduated I made sure to still keep you in mind. Out of guilt or sadness I’m not sure, but i did it anyway. When I didn’t see posts from you for a long time I would worry, but then you would reply to your birthday messages and i knew you were okay.
I think I sent you a birthday message once or twice.
But then one day it happened. You hadn’t posted in a while and I hadn’t visited your page. But then there was a photo, with that gut wrenching phrase just before your name.
Rest In Peace.
And I felt like a failure. Because I should have known. I should have reached out but I didn’t and I’m sorry. I’m sorry for assuming that your recovery was a given, just because you had fought for so long and it seemed like you were winning.
But I was wrong. I think we all were.
I’m not claiming to be your friend, I’m an acquaintance at best. But I hope you know I still thought of you. You still touched my life for the briefest moment and I thank you for that.
Wherever you are, whatever plain you’re exploring or mountain you’re climbing, whatever ocean you’re swimming or sky you are sailing, I hope you are at rest.
In my thoughts always.