Courage Is To Keep Smiling After Losing A Friend
I have lost a couple of friends along the way. I lost my middle school besties because they believed in a rumor someone told them, and I lost my high school best friends because I didn’t believe in cliques. But I never truly lost any of those people: If I wanted to reconnect, I could do that by texting or calling them, and I did. I am back to having those people in my life which makes me extremely happy. I lost, however, my person. And I can’t ever reconnect with him.
That day went like any other, I ate brunch at my favorite place and headed back to campus. The friend I went with spent too much money that week, and he asked me to walk back instead of grabbing an Uber. I got home and I was exhausted, so I watched Netflix ALL day. My roommate interrupted my binge-watching marathon to let me know we were going out to a new bar. As I was applying mascara, my eyes glanced at my phone only to see a disturbing message. Everything changed that day.
I found out that my person and best friend for 15 years was gone. He was the one who listened to my endless rants or boy drama, the one who would play me guitar songs while we were FaceTiming, and the person who I would marry if we were both single by the time we were 40 years old. That day I lost a part of myself too, the part that was eager to go out, to experience life, to eat and to dance. I was simply a mess. I didn’t let myself be okay because that meant I was okay with his death, and I wasn’t. I’m still not.
After that, every day something small would happen that would make me feel that the entire world was crumbling. I would get harsh feedback on an article I wrote, and I would just go to my room and cry for hours. I would also get beyond upset if a guy I was talking to ignored me for more than two hours, or if a relationship I was working on ended. I was already so sad that everything was 10 times worse than what it really was. It was especially hard to not have my person to go to whenever I needed someone.
And then one day, I thought of him. I didn’t think of how sad I was about him being gone, but about the things he taught me. I thought of how he always told me that things would be alright, and that I need to chill and enjoy life. “Life is beautiful, Pu. Just listen to songs and dance it off,” he would say. I imagined him telling me how every bump in the road is just a lesson, and that one day they would make good stories. “Just look at all the stupid things I’ve done. They are cool stories now, huh?”. All the lessons he taught me, all the songs he played for me and all the design projects he shared with me were still there. They are still here. And with all that, he is still with me. With us. That is when I realized that I can move on without forgetting him, that I can let go of my anger and my sadness while still missing him. That it is okay to be okay, even if I am not okay with him being gone.
Although I am okay now, there is not a day that goes by that I don’t think of my Pu, but I smile every time I do so. I picture the time he walked into my uncle’s house in Miami and how I almost tackled him to hug him, and how that same night he gave me a ride home. “I farted and you didn’t notice,” he said as I walked out of the car. I pictured him holding a guitar pick in his mouth, pictured him telling me about the advice Guigui or Bryan gave him, pictured him telling me how proud he is of his brother Alex, and how excited he is to see his mom and dad. I pictured him being him. And that gives me the strength to keep going, to keep being okay.